The Mayor headed a delegation from the Borough in attendance along with UK and NI Executive Ministers for the signing at the ICC Belfast on Wednesday morning.
The Belfast Region City Deal unlocks £1bn of transformative co-investment which will deliver more than 20 highly ambitious projects and programmes, create up to 20,000 new and better jobs and help make the region a global investment destination over the next decade. The Deal will strengthen the region’s offer in growth sectors such as life and health sciences, digital and creative industries and advanced manufacturing. It will also support next generation digital capabilities, boost tourism by creating world-class visitor experiences and enable regeneration, underpinned by infrastructure developments and investment in skills to connect people to jobs and services.
Mid and East Antrim has three major projects under the City Deal programme incluiding the construction of an i4C Innovation & Cleantech Centre in Ballymena. The proposed 8,000sqm centre will be based at the St Patrick’s Barracks regeneration site in the town. The centre is scheduled to open in 2026 and will include a range of accommodation types to facilitate innovation activity for SMEs, including an Innovation Lab (iLAB) - the first of its kind in Northern Ireland which is an engineering led, fully-equipped workshop that focuses on commercialisation and skills training activity as well as Grade A and co-working office space. The first stage in the development of the centre is the pilot Hydrogen Training Academy, which will focus on developing products, services, training and solutions for the cleantech sector and has just received more than £500k of funding from the UK Government.
Mayor William McCaughey, said: “Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is delighted to have secured more than £60m of investment through our partnership with Belfast Region City Deal. The opportunities and potential of City Deal are huge for Mid and East Antrim and the entire wider Belfast region, and the financial boost it will provide is more important than ever as we move to level out our economy post-Covid. Our area has a proud and longstanding reputation as ‘the engine room’ of the Northern Ireland economy, and a rich heritage in manufacturing, industry, power generation and agri-food, as well as the strategic port of Larne.”