PRIMARK say they will donate £500,000 to Belfast City Council’s recovery programme, almost a month after the devastating fire at their city centre store.
The blaze at Bank Buildings has closed 14 nearby businesses that lie within a cordon around the iconic building which is set to be in place for at least four months.
In a statement, Primark said they are donating the money as a “gesture of goodwill”.
A Primark spokesperson said: "Following the devastating fire at Bank Buildings, Primark has been focused on the welfare of our colleagues, while also working with the authorities regarding our on-going commitment to businesses and the wider community in Belfast.
"It is our intention to be back up and trading again as soon possible. As you can appreciate, we are at the early stages on this and will confirm details as soon as possible. We hope that this will assist the on-going efforts to drive footfall into the City Centre.
"As well as re-establishing a high street presence in the City, Primark is committed to supporting the business community affected by the fire. Primark will be donating £500,000 to Belfast City Council’s recovery programme as a gesture of goodwill. The Council will manage the distribution of the recovery fund to those local businesses impacted by the fire.
"As we progress our plans, we will continue to work with the authorities in Belfast. We would like to thank people once again for their on-going support."
Belfast City Council welcomed the announcement by Primark, which will be put forward before members of the Council’s Strategic Policy and Resources Committee on Friday (September 21).
A Belfast City Council spokesperson said: “This is a very welcome announcement from Primark and will contribute to the wider City Recovery Investment Fund, which the Council is currently establishing.
“Primark is very keen to support small businesses in the city centre – in particular those that have been severely impacted by the fire. The company has asked Belfast City Council to distribute this funding on its behalf.
“Belfast City Council is developing a City Recovery Investment Programme which includes immediate, medium and longer term proposals to support businesses, re-establish and sustain high levels of trading the city centre in the lead up to Christmas and beyond, increase connectivity across the city centre, ultimately ensuring the city’s economic resilience.
"The contribution made by Primark will be an important part of that overall programme delivery.
“Council and its city partners will continue their engagement with traders and landlords. Following the outcome of Friday’s meeting, more details will become available around how businesses can access the funding and when.”