News article

Bank Buildings fire: financial support package for businesses

11 October 2018

Many businesses affected by the Bank Buildings fire can now apply for funding to aid their recovery

Many businesses worst affected by the Bank Buildings fire can now apply for funding to aid their financial recovery.

Members of Belfast City Council’s Strategic Policy Resources Committee have agreed details of the £500,000 support package which was donated by Primark following the devastating blaze which has resulted in a number of businesses and charities being unable to operate as they remain inside the safety cordon.

The fund will be open for a six-week period until Monday 19 November 2018.

Application criteria
The £500,000 from Primark was given on the understanding that it would provide direct support to affected small businesses and that the resources would be focussed on local traders.

Council has looked at a number of options and agreed the zone in which smaller businesses will be eligible to apply for support.

As a result, the following criteria will be applied to businesses within the zone:

  • independent retailers with less than 50 employees
  • charities
  • offices displaced by the fire
  • single location franchises with less than 50 employees

Under this criteria, 90 businesses (in Castle Street, Fountain Street, Chapel Lane, Bank Square, Berry Street, King Street, Royal Avenue, Lower Garfield Street and Castle Court) have been identified as being eligible to apply for funding. This does not include any multi-national chain stores or multiple location franchisees.

Differing support for businesses inside/outside the cordon
Businesses within the cordon will be allocated a more substantial level of support than those outside, given the increased level of impact on their business:

  • independent retailers/charities inside the cordon - £19,000
  • offices inside the cordon - £2,000
  • affected independent/small businesses outside the cordon within the defined zone - £5,000 

Council officers will contact eligible businesses to make them aware of the support package and guide them through the application process. 

Council will process applications within days and if an applicant is deemed eligible, they will receive funds directly into their account.