The countdown to the festive period will commence in east Belfast next week when the Christmas lights are switched on in Ballyhackamore Village.
The lights will be switched on by Bangor born TV presenter Zoe Salmon. There will be special performances from St Joseph’s and Strandtown Primary School choirs. At the event, there were also be a selection of speciality stalls from local traders to help people with gift ideas for their Christmas shopping.
Speaking ahead of the event, Alderman Christopher Stalford, Chairman of Belfast City Council’s Development Committee, said: “The council is delighted to work with Ballyhackamore Business Association in delivering this event. It has supported local traders in east Belfast through marketing the event to bring in extra footfall into the area in the run up to Christmas. The council is also in the process of organising Belfast Independent Retail Week in March which will celebrate independent retailers and independent retailing across the city, through a week- long series of workshops, events and promotions.”
Brenda Shankey, Chairman of Ballyhackamore Business Association, said: “A big thank you to all the traders who have finally made this happen this year in Ballyhackamore and for Belfast City Council supporting us at such lengths during this festive retail season.
“Small Independent retailers are important for the growth of the economy. We hope to encourage local people to support local businesses which will create employment and facilitate small businesses to keep them alive during these difficult times,” she added.
Ballyhackamore Business Association will also be distributing a shopper voucher booklet to 20,000 homes in the area with Christmas offers from all traders with the focus being ‘Shop Local this Christmas!’ A number of businesses in the area have won awards this year. Knock Travel scooped the ‘Northern Ireland Travel Agent of the Year 2011’ title and Horatio Todds has picked up several awards.
For further details on Belfast City Council’s support for local business, go to the council website www.belfastcity.gov.uk/business
More information on east Belfast can also be found on the website www.gotoeastbelfast.com