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 a grant award of over £7,000, the café used the cash injection to invest in new tables, chairs, an awning and a patio heater; helping the charitable company continue to provide a Covid safe, comfortable and welcoming environment for its customers and employees.
“I am delighted to see the tangible benefit council’s Covid-19 Revitalisation and Recovery Grant Scheme is making within our borough’s diverse business community,” commented Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Alderman Glenn Barr.
He continued: “Making a positive and practical impact to Wings Café, this new furniture and equipment will help the social enterprise adjust and adapt to the needs of their customers while continuing to operate within the current Covid requirements – ultimately helping support their ongoing survival, growth and pursuit to give back to their local community.”
Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said:
“My Department introduced the Covid-19 Recovery and 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 keeping them safe, alive and prosperous.”
The Wings Café forms part of Dromore’s social enterprise Via Wings and works in partnership with their Learning 360 Programme – serving as a place where young adults with learning difficulties can train as baristas and get hands on experience of a working environment while improving their confidence and communication skills.
Gail Redmond from Wings Café said:
“A huge benefit of the grant is the addition of a safe and sheltered outdoor area which has been used for mentoring, art therapy, Recycled Teenagers, Mini Wings, afterschool club, staff training, a volunteer event to celebrate our Queen’s Award for volunteering services. It has meant we can welcome the community back into our courtyard and maintain crucial person-to-person contact with service users, volunteers and young people.”
Based at Via Wings headquarters in Dromore, Wings Café serves everything from homemade tray bakes, scones and cakes to hot and cold lunches, and daily specials.
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.