Fingal County Council has launched a major campaign to encourage residents of the county to do their Christmas shopping in Fingal in order to protect local businesses and local jobs.
The Fingal In It Together for Christmas campaign is the latest in a series of initiatives by the local authority to assist the business community in its recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The campaign includes an online Christmas Shop for business to advertise their Christmas offerings and a marketing campaign to encourage residents to shop in Fingal.
The Mayor of Fingal, Cllr David Healy, said: “The Christmas trading period is an important time for many small businesses across Fingal and we are appealing to the citizens of the county to shop local this year whether that’s in person or online. These retail outlets are an important part of the fabric of our community, they employ a lot of people and they need our support at this difficult time.”
The Council is calling on small businesses across the county to sign up to its Christmas Shop which will allow them to advertise, free of charge, their Christmas offerings at www.fingal.ie/christmas. The page will be promoted through a digital and print media advertising campaign and the Council’s own extensive network of social media channels. Businesses interested in having a presence in the Christmas Shop should email [email protected] to indicate their interest.
Creating a Christmas atmosphere across Fingal is another of the Council’s objectives. They will be erecting 35 Christmas trees in different locations across the county with 14 being lit by the Council and the rest by local community organisations. The Council is engaging with its community partners to improve Christmas lighting and decorations in towns and villages and will also be working to enhance the atmosphere on the main shopping streets in Balbriggan, Blanchardstown, Malahide and Swords.
Fingal County Council’s Director of Economic, Enterprise, Tourism and Cultural Development, Emer O’Gorman, said: “If the current Level 5 restrictions are eased to allow non-essential retail shops reopen, we will be trying to drive footfall into the main shopping streets while ensuring that everybody is aware of the need to comply with Public Health guidelines in relations to COVID-19. We want to create a special atmosphere on those streets and will also be offering free car-parking in selected areas. Encouraging people to shop local is also an opportunity for us to promote active travel and promote walking, cycling or taking public transport when they go to do their Christmas shopping.”
Fingal County Council is also beginning the rollout of more parklets across the county following a pilot in Swords followed by an extensive promotional campaign inviting local businesses to register their interest in partnering with the Council on the initiative.
A total of 29 applications were received and work is underway to have the first tranche of parklets in place before December 2, when it is hoped the current Level 5 restrictions under the National Framework for Living with COVID-19 will be eased.
Parklets convert a few on-street parking spaces (excluding accessible, age friendly and loading bay) into public open space to accommodate dining and additional seating. They are a cost-effective way to create more vibrant streets, support local business, and provide an inviting space for residents and passers-by to dine and relax.
Cllr Tony Murphy, Chair of the Economic Enterprise and Tourism Development Strategic Policy Committee, said: “The parklet is aimed at encouraging people back into town centres while complying with public health guidance. It is now more important than even that people recognise the importance of local businesses to their communities and support them this Christmas by shopping local.”
Since the COVID-19 pandemic first struck back in March, Fingal County Council has been to the forefront in supporting businesses across the county. Local businesses have already received over €100million worth of support from Fingal County Council in rates waivers, Restart Grants and grants from the Local Enterprise Office while the Council also ran a major tourism campaign during the summer, when the initial travel restrictions were lifted, encouraging people from outside the county to visit Fingal.
AnnMarie Farrelly, Chief Executive of Fingal County Council, said: “We have over 6,000 rate-payers in Fingal and we have been supporting them in different ways at this difficult time as they battle to stay open and keep people employed. For many small businesses, the Christmas trading period is important in normal times so, as we prepare to, hopefully, come out of the Level 5 restrictions in the coming weeks, it will be vital that everybody in Fingal plays their part by doing their online and in-person shopping within the county.”