In Pictures: Retail Week at Belfast City Hall
A special fashion showcase at the City Hall launched Belfast Independent Retail Week.
Organised by Belfast City Council, the week-long initiative aims to raise the profile of the local independent retail sector highlighting quality neighbourhood shopping across the city.
Over 160 retailers have signed up to take part in BIRW with the week ending with a free ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’ in the City Hall on Sunday 11 March where families will get to journey through a fantasyland filled with sumptuous offerings of food to sample from some of the city’s finest local traders.
The Celebrate Independent Fashion Event today saw up to 300 people enjoy a free catwalk show and exhibition in the Great Hall promoting independent fashion designers, retailers and jewellery makers.
The Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile opened the event and said: “I’m delighted that the Belfast Independent Retail Week has got underway today with the Celebrate Independent Fashion Showcase in the City Hall.
“This is a tough economic climate for everyone but independent retailers in particular need a boost because they don`t have the resources that larger chains can call on. Many are one person or family businesses which employ small numbers but small businesses are the backbone of our economy, they are what differentiate one city from another and they are a vital service in local communities.
“We want to help them promote their service and encourage customers to recognise the importance of supporting independent retailers. It is satisfying that so many local retailers are signing up to participate in this initiative which covers not just the city centre but those neighbourhood areas in all quarters of the city,” he added.
The week will also see other events such as a Crafts Day in Shankill Craft Centre where local crafters will be displaying their wares at this free event on Thursday (8 March), a Vintage Day and Party on Saturday (10 March) at Stray Jewellery in Church Lane and an ‘I Love Saturdays’ event on the Lisburn Road with free family entertainment and promotions.
A series of workshops have also taken place in the run up to BIRW to enhance key skills within the independent retail sector. This includes customer care, creating fabulous displays and loyalty schemes, why retailers should be trading online and using social media to drive custom. Students from Belfast Metropolitan College will be helping shops create displays and these will then be judged during BIRW.
For more information on Belfast Independent Retail Week and to check out the other events that will take place during the week, visit the council website at www.belfastcity.gov.uk/retail