Scottish partnership providing boost for food businesses in Mid and East Antrim

Mid and East Antrim food and drinks manufacturers are to team up with Scottish counterparts in Dumfries and Galloway for a new business initiative.

Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 8:43 am

Twelve businesses from both sides of the Irish Sea are to take part in a development programme as part of a North Channel Partnership action plan.

Participants will be able to avail of workshops, mentoring and best practice visits.

Mid and East Antrim councillors have been told that a Scottish-based firm is to be appointed to deliver the Food and Drink Accelerator Programme.

Sailing from Larne

It was agreed behind closed doors at a meeting of the council’s Borough Growth Committee, on the recommendation of Coast Road Alliance Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna and seconded by Mayor Councillor William McCaughey, to accept an officer’s recommendation to partner with Dumfries and Galloway Council in the delivery of the Food and Drink Accelerator Programme  and to approve a budget of £10k.

Councillors have been told previously that the potential for the development of agri-food tourism has been identified in both council areas.

Larne Lough Alliance Councillor Danny Donnelly, who is a member of the North Channel Partnership, has said that working on a food and drink programme could be “an attractive tourism offering”.

The two councils have been working together with ferry companies to progress a number of common interests, including ports and infrastructure, such as the A75/77 routes in Scotland

The North Channel Partnership is comprised of councillors and officers from Dunfries and Galloway and Mid and East Antrim councils and other bodies including ferry companies to progress shared interests such as ports and infrastructure including a long-awaited upgrade of the A75/A77 routes in Scotland which the local authority believes would also be of benefit economically to Mid and East Antrim.

The action plan reflects strategic priorities such as ports and infrastructure, digital, food and drink and tourism as agreed by members at a key workshop during a visit of elected members and officials from Dumfries and Galloway Council to Mid and East Antrim in August 2019. The visit marked the reinvigoration of the North Channel Partnership Group which was established in 1999.

Both councils have also agreed that the North Channel Partnership will support and strengthen both council’s ‘Greenport/Freeport’ bids.

Both authorities are bidding for this status which means that usual customs rules do not apply. Imports can enter with simplified customs documentation and without paying tariffs.

Meanwhile Dumfries and Galloway Council has been invited to the 69th anniversary commemoration of the loss of the Princess Victoria ferry in Larne on January 31.

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

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