Council backs NW200

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AS one of the main sponsors of this year’s Vauxhall International North West 200 (NW200), Coleraine Borough Council held a NW200 Business Focus event at Flowerfield Arts Centre in Portstewart on April.

The evening of information and entertainment aimed to raise awareness of what is available in return for sponsorship and support from this long established road racing event. The spotlight was on the importance of business sector support and how the industry can benefit. The event highlighted the crucial elements of the three pronged partnership; private, public, and voluntary sector, all working together to bring benefits for the area.

The Mayor of Coleraine, Councillor Sam Cole invited guests from the Borough’s business sector to meet those already supporting the North West 200. Presentations during the evening also confirmed what the event provides in terms of economic return for the region.

Mayor of Coleraine, Councillor Sam Cole said: “I have followed this event since childhood and my memories of the North West 200 grow stronger each year. As Mayor I experience the event from a different perspective and continue to enjoy what it has to offer. The triangle partnership in this event incorporates the private, public and voluntary sector, working together for a common goal.

“It is important to support our local businesses and we aim to increase visitor numbers by promoting what the area has to offer, including its quality restaurants, shops and accommodation. Many businesses will benefit from this year’s Vauxhall International North West 200, such as: construction companies; hospitality firms; suppliers of promotional items; and of course those companies who have already invested in sponsoring.

“Additional support from Council includes services such as clearing waste; helping to set out safety banners; promotion; and of course hosting the Race Week Festival, which provides entertainment for all ages.”

Mervyn Whyte MBE also spoke at the business focus event, thanking those who have contributed so far, stating; “Organising the North West 200 is a huge project that costs over £800,000 each year. The Coleraine and District Motor Club and myself are very grateful for the input from all of our backers particularly Coleraine Borough Council, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, our race sponsors including title sponsor Vauxhall and the army of 800 plus volunteers who together provide the platform on which the race is built.”

Coleraine Borough Council currently invests over £120,000 each year to the North West 200, achieving over £4million in return to the Borough. In the previous ten years, Council has invested over one million pounds in this event, attracting over 90,000 visitors each year. The event also attracts private sponsorship and this years biggest stories include how one of the largest names in motor vehicles ‘Vauxhall’ has become the title sponsor, as well as why a local bar and restaurant ‘Anchor Complex Portstewart’ has committed to sponsoring one of the key races.

During the evening, some of those at the core of the NW200 were invited to the stage, by compere and television sports personality, Claire McCollum. Claire interviewed sponsors, the Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board Alan Clarke, Mervyn Whyte MBE, and volunteer leader Cathal Cunning. Key messages and entertainment was provided by the North West 200’s official photographer and PR officer, Stephen Davison; who showcased some of the North Coast’s prime locations

The Vauxhall International North West 200 will be hosted in the Borough of Coleraine from 13th to 18th May 2013. For information on the event, details of accommodation and entertainment including Coleraine Borough Council’s Race Week Festival, go to www.colerainebc.gov.uk or www.northcoastni.com