Retailers Can ‘Revitalise’ Businesses Through New Programme

Small independent retailers in Belfast are being offered the chance to improve their retail skills and increase their business profitability via the Revitalise Programme.

Revitalise Launch 2Belfast City Council helped launch the programme today for up to 30 new start and existing independent retailers through free targeted masterclasses and mentoring support.

Revitalise is part of the UK-wide ‘Healthy High Streets’ initiative – a national campaign involving 100 cities and operated by Business in the Community Northern Ireland in association with a number of private sector partners – Boots UK, Santander and Marks & Spencer (M&S).

Boots UK, EE, Santander and M&S will be delivering the masterclasses and Belfast City Council will be providing the mentoring support to local businesses.

Councillor Aileen Graham, Chair of the council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee, said: “We are delighted to be working with our corporate partners to support local, small independent retailers who are the lifeblood of our communities.

“The Revitalise programme will provide our retailers with a fantastic opportunity to help them to boost their retail skills, improve their sales and profit margins and we would urge local retailers to book their place on the programme as soon as possible.”

Adam McLellan, Local Business Manager at Santander, said: “We are strongly committed to playing our part in helping to support smaller businesses to create high streets that are vibrant places to live, work and do business.”

Revitalise Launch 3Colin McGreevy, Store Manager at M&S Belfast, said: “The Healthy High Streets Campaign is a great opportunity for Marks and Spencer to play a leading role in promoting Belfast City as a great place to shop as well as getting involved in local initiatives. It’s an opportunity to develop local partnerships working together to improve footfall, helping to try and create jobs as well as trying to boost a sense of local pride.”

Aileen McGroggan from Boots UK in Belfast said: “We welcome the opportunity to work in partnership with our local business community to deliver the Revitalise programme. We believe that through building relationships and sharing expertise, we can play our part in growing Belfast as a destination of choice for shoppers and tourists.”

Claire L Gordon, Director with Business in the Community Northern Ireland, said: “Revitalise is an excellent example of the type of bespoke initiative that can come about through business collaboration. We believe that Revitalise represents a fantastic opportunity for smaller retailers to access valuable learning and support from some of the bigger, more experienced retailers on Belfast’s high streets. It will also help to further strengthen business connectivity in the city”.

The first masterclass will take place on Wednesday 24 August in the Santander branch in Royal Avenue. Running throughout the day with drop-in sessions, this masterclass will focus on financial planning with advice given on day-to-day business banking, savings and insurance and an offer of free business plans assessments.

This masterclass will be followed by one at the M&S store in Donegall Place on Tuesday 4 October (9.30am-1.30pm) which will look at visual merchandising. This workshop will be taken by Julie Beattie, Visual Section Manager at M&S.

The third masterclass will be held on Wednesday 26 October in the Boots store in Donegall Place (9.30am-1.30pm) and will focus on the delivery of great customer service. This combined seminar and workshop session will be delivered by Boots UK and EE.

For more information on the Revitalise programme, contact the council’s Economic Development Unit on 9027 0482 or email economicdevelopment@belfastcity.gov.uk

You can find out more about the council’s support for local business on the council website at www.belfastcity.gov.uk/businessinfo

About the Author

Abby Williams
Belfast based author/writer specialising in entertainment, mental health and human interest.