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COVID-19 UPDATE: Friday 3rd April 2020 (Issue No.13)

As we come to an end of another week, one central feature of this public health emergency is how the whole community has come together to support our health service, essential workers and those in need.

In this update, we have information on a Community Hub established by our local Council. We also received further requests from Daisy Hill and a particular request from local pharmacies for visors. I know you will be able to help.

The package of government support for businesses has been termed by some financial commentators as “unprecedented in peace time.”

At some stage we will get out of this emergency. If you have any ideas about your business or are putting together a recovery plan, Invest NI has a business support line to ring. Details are below.

I hope you find these updates of value. If you have any queries which you can’t get answered, let us know. If I can, I will cover them in our next update.

Monitor our social media channels and check your email inbox for regular updates.

You can contact me at:

Stay safe.

Colm Shannon,
Chief Executive Officer
Newry Chamber of Commerce & Trade


If you are thinking about the recovery of your business once businesses are allowed to re-open, or if you are using this period to develop or explore new ideas, Invest NI and other support partners can help.  

If you are not a current client of Invest NI, you can ring this helpline: 

T: 0800 181 4422

They can provide useful help and advice to support your business.

Clients of Invest Northern Ireland should contact their Client Executive, who will be able to assist them.

It is important that we all use this down time to plan for the future.

Please note, this number is not for queries about the Small Business Grant.

The number to ring with queries about the grant is the LPS hotline on:

T: 0300 200 7809


The Government Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) provides an alternative solution for situations where lenders are unable to provide financial support on normal commercial terms to smaller businesses (SMEs) across the UK that are losing revenue and seeing their cashflow disrupted, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

If the lender can offer finance on normal commercial terms without the need to make use of the scheme they will do so. The scheme is subject to eligibility criteria and is part of a wider package of government support for UK businesses and employees.

Locally, Danske Bank, Ulster Bank, Bank of Ireland UK are accredited to the scheme and AIB will be accredited shortly. A full list of accredited financial institutions is available here.

If you are in need of finance and are interested in this scheme, you should contact your local bank adviser for further information and to determine what’s appropriate for your business.

It is important that you seek financial advice before entering into any loan arrangements.


A Community Coordination Hub set up by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council to ensure vulnerable residents receive essential supplies is now in operation.

The Council has been working in partnership with colleagues across Local Government, Health Trusts and the Department for Communities to set up the hub. 

Newry Leisure Centre, Down Leisure Centre and Kilkeel Leisure Centre have been repurposed as processing centres to organise deliveries and other sites are currently being identified should they be required.

When fully operational over 100 leisure centre staff will be redeployed to work across all sites. Other staff from across the Council are helping operate a ‘virtual hub’ to coordinate the response.

The service launches on Monday 6th April across the seven District Electoral Areas, with deliveries expected to centre on food supplies.

The COVID-19 Community Helpline is already operational. Those in vulnerable groups seeking support can make contact between 9am to 5pm, seven days a week:

FREEPHONE NUMBER: 0808 802 0020
EMAIL: covid19@adviceni.net
TEXT: ACTION to 81025

The helpline is being managed by Advice NI, who are processing calls from across Northern Ireland. Calls that are relevant to the Council’s Community Coordination Hub will be passed on to the Council for action, including referrals from the Southern and South Eastern Health and Social Care Trusts.

County Down Rural Community Network in Downpatrick, the Confederation of Community Groups in Newry and Community Advice Newry, Mourne and Down, will also be acting as lead organisations for the community groups involved in this response.

Any volunteers required are being recruited via Volunteer Now.

Please note that the distribution centres are not open to members of the public or community groups.

Further info on the COVID-19 Community Helpline is available at NI Direct.

#HelpEachOther campaign has been launched by Volunteer Now. You can access their website here to refer volunteers to their be collective platform. 

Organisations can also identify COVID-19 Volunteering Requirements here.


Newry Chamber has been working directly with our colleagues in Daisy Hill Hospital and the Southern Health & Social Care Trust, throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.

Thanks to all the businesses who have helped so far with requests for support.

They have now asked for the following:

  • Pot Noodles
  • Mugshots
  • Small Cartons of Juice

If you can help with the provision of these items, please contact Paula Tally in the Southern Health & Social Care Trust for further instructions on:

E: paula.tally@southerntrust.hscni.net

Thank you.


Like our hospitals, our Pharmacists are open as usual and are committed to supplying the same professional service that they have always done, even if the world around them has changed.

Our local pharmacies have been trying to source face visors for their staff. They are asking if there any local companies that could help maybe in manufacturing or advise where the local pharmacies could access visors.

If anyone that can help, please get in contact with Pat via:



Our colleagues in Our Lady’s Grammar School, Newry are appealing to any local businesses who can help supply their Design & Technology department with more material, to help the brilliant teachers continue to make more of the head supports for PPE visors, which are being donated to staff in Daisy Hill Hospital. 

The materials required include: 

  • 0.5mm thickness polypropylene plastic of any colour or similar, such as high impact polystyrene.
  • Sheet size must be minimum A3.

If your business can help, please get in contact with the school via:

T: 028 3026 3552
E: ourladysgrammar.newry.ni.sch.uk