2021 Back to Business Awards

2021 Ballymena Back to Business Awards

Ballymena Chamber Celebrates Business Excellence in the Area and Thanks Those who have Cared for Our Community

BBC Northern Ireland’s Economics and Business Editor John Campbell, who was guest speaker at the Ballymena Back to Business Awards in the Tullyglass Hotel, is seen here with Adrienne Wiggings (left) and Michelle Reid. Also included are L-R, Tom Wiggins )Ballymena Chamber of Commerce), Eugene Reid (Ballymena Chamber of Commerce President), Mayor of Mid & East Antrim Cllr William McCaughey and Robin Cherry (Ballymena Chamber of Commerce)

Ballymena businesses were out in force on Tuesday 19th October as Ballymena Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosted the 2021 Ballymena Back to Business Awards at a glittering Celebratory Lunch in The Tullyglass House Hotel. This was the 18th Ballymena Business Awards where over 270 guests not only celebrated the business excellence of the local economy but they were able to show their appreciation for those who at the forefront of the fight against Covid as the Chamber hosted a free table for NHS staff, Care Home workers and Hospice staff and volunteers. Indeed, the acknowledgement of their commitment to care was one of the first presentations when the nurses and staff were called up on stage to accept bouquets of flowers in recognition of the care they have given and continue to give.

This was the largest business event in the Ballymena Area since 2019 and as Chamber President Eugene Reid said ‘It is great to see so many people from all across our business community here to celebrate all that is good about business in the Ballymena Area’. After thanking his wife for all her support Eugene reflected on his term in office which began almost at the same time as the current pandemic. Eugene said ‘This has been a terrible time not only for business but for individuals and families. However, I now feel there is a sense of positivity both in the community and across our business landscape. These awards highlight the fact that Ballymena remains at the forefront of the local economy and as a Chamber we are delighted to be in a position to showcase all that is good about business in the local area. Whilst we provided all the support and information we could to our members during the last eighteen months it is great to have been able to bring the businesses together at such a tremendous event. I would like to thank all our sponsors including Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, with the support of our sponsors there would be no awards’. Eugene also spoke of the ‘resilience ‘ shown by those in business and how that resilience has helped bring them through the last eighteen months and creates optimism for the future. Lastly Eugene offered his congratulations to all the finalists and hoped that everyone would enjoy the excellent food being provided by the Tullyglass House Hotel.

The President’s words were echoed by The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor William McGaughey, who said, “Mid and East Antrim Borough Council was proud to be the main sponsor of the Ballymena ‘Back to Business’ Awards 2021, which are now more important than ever to showcase success and applaud the commitment of individuals and business excellence that exists in Ballymena and right across our borough.

“Council remains fully committed to supporting economic recovery and has led many initiatives with businesses and funders including the Town Centre Recovery Group, which has distributed £1.4million of Covid recovery investment from Department for Communities, Department of Environment, Agriculture & Rural Affairs and Department for Infrastructure with 350 businesses receiving grants to make their premises Covid secure. A further 3,706 businesses were supported by Council via webinars, support programmes and telephone calls.

“I was also delighted this month to launch the new ShopMEA app, offering our town centre businesses the opportunity to showcase their products and services and encourage residents to shop local.

“In addition, the Town Centre Repurposing Scheme, launched by Council in April 2021, is supporting a number of Ballymena businesses with a £30,000 grant to help refurbish town centre commercial properties to breathe new life into the High Street. The scheme has just reopened and closes for applications on 10 December 2021.

“I have been delighted, too, with the support from our businesses and community leaders to Ballymena’s bid for City Status. The bid forms part of a UK-wide civic honours competition, designed to mark the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen in 2022, and I know that we can count on the people of Ballymena and beyond to help put the #CityofSeven on the map.”

This is the first Award ceremony organised by Ballymena Chamber since October 2019. The Chamber normally organised a Gala evening to celebrate the awards. However, the Management Committee felt that it would be difficult to ask businesses which had been closed for large periods of time to pay over £500 for a table. A Celebratory Lunch was seen as a fitting event given the present circumstances giving businesses, their customers and suppliers a sense of normality and positivity.

Tom Wiggins, Chamber’s Business Development Manager said ‘We are delighted with the response to the Awards this year. There has been an exceptional level of high class entries and in many cases the judges had great difficulty deciding on the eventual winners. The awards have attracted entries from small one person start up businesses right through to major manufacturers employing over 1,000 staff. There can be no doubt that we have a remarkably resilient economy in the Ballymena area and these awards show that the Ballymena Area is most certainly open for business’.

During the lunch the Chamber also presented a cheque for £25,000 to Mary McMullan a Community Nurse with the Northern Ireland Hospice. The money was raised by Chamber during a Charity Golf Day held at Galgorm Castle Golf Club in September.

The compere for the event was John Campbell, BBC NI’s Economics and Business Editor. John shared his hopes for the local economy and his view on how the economy will progress in the coming months. John went on to conclude proceedings by saying ‘Whilst this event has been about local business I would like to mention Ballymena Chamber of Commerce and Industry. I think they should be given a lot of credit for hosting this event. I know when it was planned there was great uncertainty as to whether the awards could be judged and whether we could all get together to celebrate the awards. I believe however that the risk the Chamber took has paid off and shows that Ballymena Chamber is one of the most and progressive and supportive Chamber’s in the Province – well done to all concerned.

Click here to view the 2021 Awards Gallery

In all there were nineteen Awards and the winners in each category were –

Customer Service Retail Sector   – (Sponsored by AIB)

Winner – White Gold Bridal

Best Use of Digital Media including Social Media / Website – (Sponsored by Black Advertising)

Winner – Homes Independent

Best Eating Establishment Award   (Sponsored by Moy Park)

Winner – Gatto’s Ristorante

Best Small Eatery / Coffee Shop Award – (Sponsored by firmus energy)

Winner – Winnies 1975

Customer Service Award Service Sector – (Sponsored by Riada Resourcing)

Winner – Willow Beauty

Winner – TaxAssist Accountants

Customer Service Award Hospitality Sector – (Sponsored by Ballymena Chamber Of Commerce)

Winner – The Grouse Complex

Business Premises Award – (Sponsored by Country Garage Ballymena BMW)

Winner – Castle Kitchen + Bar

Skills Development Award – (Sponsored by The Gallaher Trust)

Winner – Cranswick Country Foods

Right Place to Work– (Sponsored by Galgorm)

Winner – Clarke

Most Promising New Business Award – (Sponsored by Bank of Ireland UK)

Winner – Gold and Browne’s

Best Small Business Award – (Sponsored by Michelin Development Limited)

Winner – Neo Environmental

Family Business of the Year – (Sponsored by Danske Bank)

Winner – The Adams family (Rococo and Gatto’s Ristorante)

Social Enterprise of the Year Award – (Sponsored by Ballymena Business Centre)

Winner – Habitat for Humanity – ReStore

Involvement in the Community Award – (Sponsored by Coulter Weir Wealth Management )

Winner – The Front Page Bar

Best Young Person in Business Award – (Sponsored by Northern Regional College)

Winner – James Scullion (Rapid Agency)

Employee of the Year Award – (Sponsored by Robinson’s of Ballymena)

Winner – Jonathan McKay (Galgorm Collection)

Business Growth Award – (Sponsored by Samuel Cumming and Son)

Winner – Algram

Sustainability Award – (Sponsored by Power NI)

Winner – Bamford Bus Company

Commitment to Ballymena Award – (Sponsored by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council)

Winner – Stephen Reynolds

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Ballymena Borough Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 4 Wellington Court, Ballymena, BT43 6EQ

Email: office@ballymenachamber.co.uk

Tel: 07801 738 359

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