Organised by Ards Borough Council, the seminar brought together members of local commerce and community-based regeneration and development groups, to exchange and discuss ideas, methods, and plans for the future development of the region.
In total, 80 people from the Ards Borough attended the first event to hear the keynote addresses from Damian Mulholland, Deputy Director, Department for Regional Development , who discussed how to sustain the economic prosperity of the Borough through enduring public realm, Morris Crawford, Secretary and Treasurer, Killyleagh Development Association, who spoke about the benefits of village renewal, and Nichola Lockhart, Chief Executive, Ards Business Centre who launched the social economy toolkit.
Mayor of Ards, Alderman Hamilton Gregory, said in delivering the opening address: “In these difficult financial times when shopping patterns have changed and many local companies are struggling it is more important than ever to be innovative and forward thinking. I am a strong believer that the way to generate great ideas to help achieve continued economic success and growth as a Borough is for local people to work collectively, this is why the Council’s Development Committee decided to organise this to bring members of the Ards community together to share ideas and advice.”
“The subsequent discussion panel vigorously debated the issues that were raised by attendees, discussing ways that local groups could partner to overcome the financial and social challenges they are currently faced with and create a stronger borough.”
Lynne Kirkpatrick, President of Newtownards Chamber of Commerce, who attended the event said: ” I am pleased that the Council took the lead in organising the event as I found it very useful to learn from the keynote speakers, all of whom have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share, as well as hearing about the experiences of other people from the district and seeing the transformation of the regenerated areas. I look forward to seeing how their ideas may be used to regenerate the Ards Borough. The whole event was hugely beneficial.”