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ABC Council grants £18,000 funding for new alfresco dining area at Craigavon retail hub

An independent and locally owned Centra store in Craigavon opens new picnic area thanks to nearly £18,000 of grant funding from Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough (ABC) Council.

Launched last summer by ABC Council in conjunction with Department for Communities and Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, the Covid-19 Revitalisation and Recovery Grant Scheme offered local businesses the opportunity to apply for financial assistance of up to £20,000 to address some of the operational challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

 Securing the grant in October 2020, the Lake Road retail business set to work on exciting plans to extend their already wide-ranging provision by creating an outdoor seating area.

With six new picnic tables, the new area provides a Covid-19 secure environment for customers to enjoy the store’s large food and drink selection as safely as possible.

Visiting the new picnic area recently, Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Alderman Glenn Barr commented: “It is great to visit Lake Road Centra and see first-hand the positive and practical impact council’s Covid-19 Revitalisation and Recovery Grant Scheme is making in the borough.

“It cannot be over stated how turbulent and challenging the past 16 months have been to the borough’s businesses – with many more complications and considerations still ahead for some.

“As a council, we are committed to doing all we can to support our local economy and help local businesses move towards new models of service, enhance their capacity to serve customers and continue to operate safely within government guidelines.”

Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Alderman Glenn Barr and Lake Road Centra proprietor, Thomas Greene pictured at Lake Road Centra’s new picnic area.

Opening their doors back in July 2018, the 2,900 square-foot convenience store offers everything from hot and cold food and drinks to household grocery products and a fuel forecourt.

Lake Road Centra proprietor, Thomas Greene commented: “The past year has been so difficult for all businesses but the grant has really enabled us to ensure our customers are well catered for in a safe and welcoming area. It has certainly added to our footfall and has received so much positive feedback already.”

 Receiving 1,000 applications, the Covid-19 Revitalisation and Recovery Grant Scheme has invested over £1.1 million into local rural and urban businesses to date – awarding 125 grants to help fund projects and equipment to support safe trading and social distancing requirements.

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey added: “My Department introduced the Covid-19 Recovery Revitalisation Programme to support the recovery of our towns and city centres post pandemic.

“Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council has received over £2.2 million through this programme and I hope that funding initiatives such as this alfresco dining area at Centra on Lake Road Craigavon will encourage people back into our towns and city centres to spend time in a safe environment and support our local businesses and ultimately help to keep our town and city centres safe, alive and prosperous.”

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