Three NI towns win cash prizes in Bank of Ireland Begin Together Awards 2020

  • Newry City, Dromore in Co Down and Enniskillen in Co Fermanagh have been recognised in the Bank of Ireland Begin Together Awards 2020.

    A new award scheme available for the first time in Northern Ireland, the Bank of Ireland Begin Together Awards bring business and community groups together to support local recovery and rebuilding.

    The initiative was fast-tracked to provide funding to winning towns in early October and directly assist their Covid-19 recovery.

    Newry City won the City Award, along with a £9,000 cash prize, because of the community’s collaboration and consistency of approach throughout the area, including work between public sector organisations and the business sector.

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    The judges particularly liked Newry’s Smart VIP Fob. As an innovative way to encourage footfall, the free fob lets local shoppers receive discounts and offers directly to their phone.

    Dromore-based Via Wings won the Local Community Enterprise Initiative Award, including a £9,000 cash prize, in recognition of how the organisation adapted to support the needs of cocooners and vulnerable families affected by Covid-19.

    Enniskillen in Co Fermanagh was runner-up in the 7,001-14,000 population category, coming in second to Ballina, Co Mayo. Judges were impressed by Enniskillen’s community spirit demonstrated through its Covid-19 response, as well as the town’s many investments, either planned or underway, and for this they have received a £4,500 cash prize.

    Kinsale in Co Cork was crowned overall winner as Ireland’s Most Enterprising Town, taking home the trophy and a cash prize of €50,000. 20 towns overall shared in the prize fund of over £180,000.

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    Francesca McDonagh, CEO at Bank of Ireland said: “The enterprising spirit and ‘can-do’ attitude of our communities has always been strong, but this is no ordinary year. Communities across the island of Ireland told us their stories and I’ve been really impressed by their sense of partnership, passion and ambition.”

    The awards are one strand of the Bank of Ireland Begin Together programme, a £3.3m investment three-year initiative to ‘improve the financial, physical and mental wellbeing of Ireland’s communities’.

    In April, Bank of Ireland also donated a further £910,000 in emergency funding to communities with urgent needs arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

    To find out more about all of this year’s Begin Together Awards prize winners visiit

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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