Awards need a new sponsor

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An invitation for Ballymena Council to sponsor the 2015 Business Excellence Awards looks set to be passed on to the new Super Council.

The decision that the invitation from Ballymena Chamber of Commerce would best be forwarded to Mid & East Antrim, was taken last week by a Council committee at which concern was aired by some members that the Ballymena authority “would not exist” by the time the awards will be held.

Earlier, a Council officer pointed out that the £5,750 cost of being principal sponsor would equate to 13% of the costs of the Awards which he described as “a fairly key event in the borough”.

He added that the event was estimated to bring 40 bed nights to local hotels and some £42,000 to the local economy.

While voicing support for the Awards, Cr Monica Digney expressed concern over the impending creation of Mid & East Antrim Council.

“I am not opposing this in any shape or form but we are finished in a few weeks,” she said.

“We as Ballymena Council can not make a decision on this, this has to go to Mid & East Antrim,” said Cllr Digney.

Cllr Paul Maguire said that while the Awards was an “excellent and prestigious event”, he queried when the time came “what logo, what corporate image, what branding” could be used, adding: “Ballymena Borough Council at that point in time will not exist.”

Officer Aidan Donnelly described the Councillor’s point as “valid” and it was subsequently agreed that Council should write to the Chamber pointing out that councillors were fully supportive of the awards but that the most appropriate route would be for the Chamber to forward their request to Mid & East Antrim.