The new Economy Minister, Gordon Lyons made his first visit to Coleraine yesterday (Thursday).
During his time in the town, Minister Lyons met with politicians, Coleraine BID (Business Improvement District) management and local business owners to discuss the ongoing impact of the pandemic on local businesses, the Executive’s plans for economic recovery post-lockdown, and the Department for the Economy’s High Street Stimulus Scheme.
The £100 High Street Voucher Scheme will be on offer to everyone in Northern Ireland over the age of 18 on the electoral register and can be used in any bricks and mortar business, with the aim of stimulating in-person shopping.
Speaking on behalf of Coleraine BID, Jamie Hamill ‘welcomed the opportunity to meet with the Minister’.
He said: “The historic market town of Coleraine is recovering from the hardest year on record due to Covid-19 and this latest scheme will be a win-win for both town centre traders and the local community who will be able to enjoy some quality retail therapy and hospitality.
“This is a fabulous opportunity for local people to continue supporting their local town centre businesses, many of whom have also been at the front line of serving their community throughout this.
“I am also pleased to hear clarification from EONI that both the new and old electoral register will be used to ensure as many people as possible can register and receive the £100 pre-paid card from September.”
East Londonderry MLA Maurice Bradley said he was “very grateful” to the Minister for visiting Coleraine, adding: “I know he has had a busy schedule elsewhere, but still managed to get a visit to the town”.
The high street voucher scheme will open in September and applications will be checked against the latest electoral register, Economy Minister Gordon Lyons has said.
Every adult in Northern Ireland is eligible for a £100 prepaid card.
The electoral register is being updated through a canvass, which takes place every 10 years.
Even if you have previously been registered to vote you must do so again as part of the process.
Urging everyone to sign up to the electoral register, Mr Lyons said he wanted to make sure everyone could receive their voucher card as soon as possible after the scheme opened.
“As a first step in that process I would urge members of the public to sign up to the electoral register if they have not already done so,” he said.
The Minister believes the scheme will boost Northern Ireland’s high streets.