A report published today (9 December 2021) reveals significant progress in a range of priority areas for the city, despite the wide-ranging impacts of Covid-19.
The Statement of Progress report outlines progress over a two-year period towards long-term ambitions that were first published in 2017 in the Belfast Agenda, the city’s community plan.
Within the report, 51 indicators track progress relating to the economy, competitiveness, skills development, climate, education, safety, inclusivity, health and wellbeing and other priority areas.
Councillor Aine Groogan, Chair of Belfast City Council’s Strategic Policy and Resource Committee, said: “As well as progress in the areas we identified as priorities for the city pre-pandemic, this report reveals some incredible statistics on the collective efforts during the pandemic to keep businesses afloat and support the most vulnerable in our society.
“Together we delivered 110,000 food parcels, 9,300 medicines and 1,300 resilience packs to the community, handling 15,000 helpline calls. We also distributed £22.5million to 2,906 businesses as part of emergency recovery funding and delivered a £4.39million revitalization fund to make better use of public spaces. 7,000 digital devices were also provided to schoolchildren to support home learning.
“While attention and resources were understandably diverted since March 2020, significant progress has still been made in a number of areas. Some highlights include over £1billion of investment secured, helping to create 8,439 jobs; £75million invested in 40 capital projects in the community and £82.4million invested in six new world class leisure facilities.
“In October 2019 Belfast City Council declared a climate emergency and this was followed by the NI Assembly in February 2020. Since then, we have been developing structures to focus on the climate challenges facing the city and developed the Belfast Resilience Strategy and the Belfast New Zero Carbon Roadmap. In addition, we started delivery of the One Million Trees programme, with 40,000 trees planted in year one.”
The report identified some areas where improvements in performance are needed. For example, economic inactivity is still higher and employment rates are lower than they should be at this stage if long-term targets are to be met. As a result, action plans will be developed in the months ahead so that any key issues can be addressed and resources refocused where necessary.
Councillor Groogan added: “This Statement of Progress highlights just how far we have come as a city in the last two years in very challenging times. I would like to commend all of the partners who make up the Community Planning Partnership and encourage them to continue to work closely together in the years ahead to help us achieve our long-term vision and ambitions.”
The Statement of Progress was produced by Belfast City Council on behalf of a range of city partners who make up the Belfast Community Planning Partnership. The partnership comprises Belfast Chamber, Belfast City Council, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, Belfast Met, CBI, Council for Catholic Maintained Schools, EastSide Partnership, Education Authority, Forward South Partnership, Greater Shankill Partnership, Health and Social Care Board, Invest NI, Libraries NI, NICVA, Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, Northern Ireland Housing Executive, Police Service of Northern Ireland, Public Health Agency, Queen’s University Belfast, South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, Sport NI, Tourism NI, Ulster University, Visit Belfast and West Belfast Partnership.
You can read the full Statement of Progress report and find out more about the Belfast Agenda at: www.belfastcity.gov.uk/belfastagenda