‘We help our members grow through a variety of networking opportunities.’

COVID-19 UPDATE: Thursday 23rd April 2020 (Issue No.22)

As a Chamber, we are working hard through our regular updates and webinars to keep members up to date with the latest issues around the impact of COVID-19.

Technology has been a key part of this and home working will become the new norm post COVID-19. We are delighted through Past President, Paul Convery, to have secured places for members on a BT Webinar in partnership with RingCentral on Remote Working.

Further information and registration details are provided below, I would encourage you to register early, as there are limited spaces.

Thank you to all the members who contributed to our business survey over Easter. The results have been fed-back to key stakeholders.

You can find a summary of the results from the survey below.

Lobbying on behalf of our members has been a key part of our work. Yesterday, I spoke with Labour Shadow Secretary of State for NI, Louis Haigh, MP. Next week, I will be speaking to the NI Finance Minister, Conor Murphy, MLA and at the beginning of May, I will be speaking to the Economy Committee at Stormont.  

If you have any issues you want me to raise, please contact me directly.

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.

You can contact me at:

Stay safe.

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


Over the Easter Period, the Chamber carried out a survey of businesses in the Greater Newry Area on the impact of COVID-19.

The survey was carried out in partnership with the Chambers in Belfast, Derry and Causeway and our results mirrored the situation in the other three Chamber areas.

Key results for businesses who responded were:

  • 43% of businesses were closed or not trading at all;
  • 53% of businesses are eligible for either the £10k or £25k grant;
  • 36% of those eligible had received payment – this was before the £25k grant had opened for application;
  • Fewer than 1 in 5 Businesses have applied for the Government Backed Coronavirus Interruption Loan, again this was early in the process with mixed views around the speed of the application and the interest rates being offered; and
  • 72% of businesses were furloughing their staff with 18% at that stage still not sure if they would.

Some commentary from members included:

  • Support for those businesses which do not benefit from either of the grants and a call for further support with business rates;
  • Government should develop a stimulus plan to attempt to prevent a likely recession from spiralling into a depression, with the Executive locally working closely with Councils, Invest NI, Enterprise Agencies and InterTradeIreland; and
  • A call for government to set out a clear strategy to lift the lockdown and restart the economy.

These results have been fed-back to key stakeholders and thank you to all the businesses that responded to the survey.


As the uncertainty of the Coronavirus situation continues to evolve at pace, the NMD Business Growth Programme has developed a series of FREE online programmes to help your businesses through the COVID-19 period with a host of business support advice across the following areas:

  • COVID-19 Is Here – What Now For Small Businesses?
  • Managing Self in a Rapidly Changing World.
  • Preparing a 10-Day Cashflow Projection.
  • Social Media Fundamentals.
  • Managing Stress.
  • Gearing Up To Sell a Service on YouTube.
  • Getting Your Business Online For Beginners.
  • SEO & Google Analytics – Optimising Online Performance.

This series of remote skills development workshops has been announced to give businesses the support and information they need.

The series will comprise of 8 workshops to be delivered remotely via Zoom, which will be open to all businesses in the Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Area, including past and present participants of the NMD Business Growth Programme.

The first workshop entitled, COVID-19 Is Here – So What Now For Small Businesses will take place on Wednesday 29th April 2020 from 4pm – 6pm.