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Council ‘serves up’ Covid funding for Portadown café Unch

Portadown sandwich and coffee house, Unch, has received a funding boost of over £8,000 from Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough (ABC) Council’s Covid-19 Revitalisation and Recovery Grant Scheme.

Led by ABC Council, in conjunction with the Department for Communities and Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, the grant scheme launched last summer and 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 Portadown eatery purchased new tables, chairs, an outdoor awning and café barriers as well as sanitiser stations, a laptop and printer – not only helping the business maintain a Covid secure environment for employees and customers but also enhancing their capacity to serve customers and introduce a new suitable operating model.

With their new laptop and printer, Unch has developed a new online ordering system, including contactless ordering and payment for food and drink; their new furniture has enabled them to utilise both indoor and outdoor space, increasing their capacity to cater for customers in a Covid safe, comfortable and welcoming environment.

Joanne Gillespie, from Unch, said: “The health and wellbeing of our staff and customers is paramount to us at Unch. Having received the funding through council’s Covid-19 Revitalisation and Recovery Grant Scheme we’ve been able to continue trading and working in a safe and welcoming environment.”

“I am delighted to see the tangible benefits council’s Covid-19 Revitalisation and Recovery Grant Scheme is making to the borough’s business community,” commented Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Alderman Glenn Barr.

Visiting Unch on Portadown High Street, Lord Mayor Alderman Glenn Barr is pictured with café owner Joanne Gillespie.

He continued: “Adding real value to Unch, the introduction of these new Covid secure measures and equipment goes a long way in helping the business adjust and adapt to the needs of their customers while continuing to operate within the current guidelines – ultimately supporting their long term survival and growth.”

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said: “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.

“I am delighted to see that these grants are supporting local businesses, helping to breathe life back into our towns and city centres and ultimately keep them safe, alive and prosperous.”

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.

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