Portadown is Northern Ireland's Champion High Street

Portadown has Northern Ireland’s top high street - and that’s official!

The County Armagh town has been crowned Northern Ireland’s Champion High Street in this year’s Great British High Street Awards.

Portadown named Champion High Street.

Portadown named Champion High Street.

Winners of the Great British High Street Awards, sponsored by Visa, were announced at a prestigious ceremony at Lancaster House, attended by High Streets Minister Jake Berry MP and representatives from the 37 shortlisted high streets, including six Northern Irish High Streets.

The town wins £5,000 for the local community.

High Streets Minister, Jake Berry MP, said: “Congratulations to Portadown on being crowned Northern Ireland’s Champion High Street in this year’s Great British High Street Awards.

“Across the whole UK, there’s a determination from local communities to keep their high street vibrant and strong and these awards reflect that.”

Portadown town centre was nominated by the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council in recognition of its ‘rich selection of independent retailers, large industry base and thriving traditional town centre’. The town has an active Chamber of Commerce that drives investment and secures funding for town centre initiatives.

Awards judge Hemlata Narasimhan, Head of Merchant Services at Visa Europe, said: “Portadown is a fantastic example of a high street that has made huge strides in transforming itself and significantly improving the environment for locals and visitors alike.”

Speaking at the Great British High Street Awards 2018 ceremony, Darryn Causby of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough, commented: “We are thrilled to be named Northern Ireland’s Champion High Street and grateful to both the Great British High Street Awards and Visa for making this dream come true!

“None of this would have been possible without the ongoing commitment, hard work and drive of the whole community here in Portadown – it’s the people that make our high streets such special places and this Award is for you all!”

The Awards result follows visits by an independent judging panel, comprising of leading retail experts, Visa representatives and previous Award winners.

The judges visited the 37 Shortlisted high streets across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, meeting local businesses, shoppers and community organisations. A public vote on social media also accounted for thirty per cent of the overall scores.

In addition to a UK overall winner, eight high streets from each home nation won awards in the Champion and Rising Star categories, whilst High Street Heroes – those individuals who have gone above and beyond for their local high street – were also recognised.

The full list of winners is as follows:

Overall winner for the UK as a whole was Crickhowell in Wales.

In the Rising Star High Streets: Bow Street, Lisburn took the title.

High streets across all the categories were commended for giving back to their local communities, improving customer experience, protecting the environment and digitally transforming their high street.

The Great British High Street Awards 2018, which is being run by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, sponsored by Visa and backed by other partners, recognises and celebrates the local achievements of UK high streets and supports the communities in which we all live and work.

For more information about the Great British High Street Awards 2018 and details on all the winners, visit: www.thegreatbritishhighstreet.co.uk