Enniskillen is the focus of at least some of the world’s attention as the G8 summit meeting hoves its not inconsiderable caravan of politicians, advisers, security, protesters and lobbyists into the news this week.
The economy of the tiny Northern Irish town with a population of only thirteen thousand has suffered more than many in recent years, but they have adopted a novel solution to mask the blight of vacant shops.
The Department of Social Development provided a £200k grant to help building owners improve the appearance of their frontages with the Shop Front Improvement Scheme.
Although the grant is available throughout 2013, those who completed the works by 31st May could receive 100% of the cost rather than the maximum 75% available for the remainder of the year.
The solutions included applied graphics that represented working shops, giving the impression of busy shops full of customers. The scheme has not been without criticism that it’s papering over the cracks to make Enniskillen look tidy for the G8 meeting, but this investment seems unlikely to have been offered if the G8 wasn’t coming to town, and as such is a welcome move.