Carrickfergus 2015


Local Authority Roll Out

TestTown Carrickfergus was delivered by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council in partnership with Carrickfergus Enterprise Agency. This was run over a 2015 bank holiday weekend from a pop-up show based in the heart of Carrickfergus shared by the six participating businesses. This ethos of sharing and working together was emphasised by the local Mayor: ‘I commend you all on the vision and dedication you are showing in ‘going it alone’, but I very much hope that your experience through the TestTown Carrickfergus initiative and through the relationships you strike up together demonstrates that you are actually not alone – there is support and goodwill out there and that others are also walking the same journey.’

Spurred by the success of TestTown Carrickfergus, Mid and East Antrim Council decided to roll it out across the Borough, investing a further £6,000.

Spurred by the success of TestTown Carrickfergus, Mid and East Antrim Council decided to roll it out across the Borough, investing a further £6,000. ‘The Pop-Up Shop Mid and East Antrim Programme’ went onto support three further TestTown events in Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Lorne in 2016. This allowed a further 15 new businesses to be supported and test their ideas and consider the viability of a long-term future within the selected town centres.

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Words of Advice

  • My best bit would be the engagement with the competitors during the online surgeries. A few lines of communication made all the difference in their applications and enthusiasm.

    TestTown 2013 Host

  • I also felt that the event could have been more rigorously promoted, particularly during the three market days. It became apparent that the public were not aware of the event taking place in their high street and that they did not understand what it was for. This could have been tackled by posters throughout the town and in shop windows in the lead up and during the event.

    TestTown 2015 Participant

  • It would be great if towns had a means of showcasing local talent all year round to show local shoppers and public what there is up and coming in terms of potential business.

    TestTown 2015 Participant

Highlights from the recent years

Five Ways To Supercharge Your TestTown

We believe there are five things which would Supercharge your TestTown:

  1. Every town should create a clear, supported pathway into trading and opening up a shop  for new town centre entrepreneurs.
  2. Every town should have a permanent pop-up facility in a viable trading space which offers flexible lease arrangements up to a year for new town centre entrepreneurs to learn.
  3. Every town should work, within their means, to reduce financial barriers in reduced rates and rents for new traders during their first year of business.
  4. Every town should carry out a regular (every five years) entrepreneur-led consultation which would feed into a business-led strategy for town centre development and business support.
  5. Every town should develop a hyperlocal cross-sector partnership to lead local innovation, ensuring that agencies, businesses, and residents are all powerful in leading local development.