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Newry City Centre has been crowned Northern Irish Rising Star, in the Government-run Great British High Street Awards 2019.

The Awards in partnership with Visa saw Newry commended for its innovative use of technology and creative initiatives and part of the prize was an award of £5000 for the local community.

Newry City Centre was announced as a rising star at a prestigious ceremony in Edinburgh, attended by the High Streets Minister Jake Berry MP and representatives from the 39 shortlisted high streets.

High Streets Minister, Rt Hon Jake Berry MP said: “Every place has its own unique strengths and challenges, but all our town centres and high streets have one thing in common – they are the beating heart of our communities.

Pictured with the award for Newry City Centre, winner of the Rising Star category for Northern Ireland at the Great British High Street Awards 2019, in proud partnership with Visa are Peter Murray, Newry Business Improvement District Chairperson and Eamonn Connolly.
Pictured with the award for Newry City Centre, winner of the Rising Star category for Northern Ireland at the Great British High Street Awards 2019, in proud partnership with Visa are Peter Murray, Chairperson, Newry Business Improvement District and Eamonn Connolly, Newry BID.

“The Great British High Street Awards celebrate the grit and determination of local people who are dedicated to supporting their communities, growing their local economy and finding innovative solutions to modern day challenges."

Northern Irish Rising Star winner

Eammon Connolly of Newry Business Improvement District had nominated the high street for the Rising Star Award after efforts to restore civic pride while generating optimism to overcome challenges facing the high street. 

The recent launch of VIP Newry Shopper, a text loyalty scheme, aims to help drive footfall and sales from existing customers. The discounts apply in over 70 stores and are all stored on a easy to use fob. The initiative rewards customers for showing continuous support to local retailers, and tailors their discounts according to where they shop. 

Jeni Mundy, Managing Director, UK & Ireland, Visa commended the community of Newry, saying: "Newry is a fantastic example of a community that has made huge strides in transforming its high street to significantly improve the experience for locals and visitors alike. In particular, its entry highlighted the launch of its new VIP Newry Shopper initiative whereby 50 high street businesses will offer a text loyalty system to customers, which will provide unique insight into the shopping preferences of the local community. 

“Visa’s research reveals more than three quarters (77%) of shoppers in Northern Ireland say that a thriving high street makes a town or village a more appealing destination, underlining why we all need to get behind our local businesses.

”Speaking at the Awards ceremony, Eammon Connolly of Newry BID, commented: “We are honoured to be named Northern Irish Rising Star High Street and hugely grateful to both the Great British High Street Awards and Visa for putting our beloved high street on the map! It is undoubtedly the commitment, hard work, dedication and drive of the whole community of Newry and the surrounding area that has helped us to win this!”

Eight high streets, two from each Home Nation, also won Great British High Street Awards in the Champion High Street and Rising Star categories, winning £5,000 for community initiatives. The overall winners in each category win an extra £10,000 for their community. High Street Heroes – those individuals who have gone above and beyond for their local high street – were also recognised, winning a £2,500 grant

The Winners

High Street of the Year

  • High Street, Treorchy

Rising Star of the Year: 

  • The Square, Kelso

Champion High Streets

  • England: Belper Town Centre, Belper
  • Scotland: Main Street, Prestwick
  • Wales: High Street, Treorchy
  • Northern Ireland: High Street, Newtownards

Rising Star High Streets

  • England: Yarm High Street, Stockton-on-Tees
  • Scotland: The Square, Kelso
  • Wales: Palace Street, Caernarfon
  • Northern Ireland: Newry City Centre, Newry

The winning high streets across all the categories were commended for demonstrating their commitment to their local community, great customer experience, an environmental mind-set, an innovative approach to retail and providing community leadership.

The Great British High Street Awards 2019, run by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government in proud partnership with Visa, recognises and celebrates local achievements on the UK’s high streets and supports the communities in which we live and work.

For more information about the Great British High Street Awards 2019 and details on all the winners, visit: www.thegreatbritishhighstreet.co.uk

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