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Ulster University  in partnership with Belfast City Centre Management (BCCM) and Galaxy Facilities Management have joined forces to acknowledge and pay tribute to the many key workers and organisations that continue to keep the heart of the city centre gently beating during lockdown.

Unveiling a big city centre thank you message this week, a visual wall display has been created to show appreciation for the NHS and healthcare workers who have been working tirelessly to support those affected by Covid-19, and recognise key workers of businesses and organisations.

The outdoor display, which is being projected onto the façade of Ulster University at York Street from 9pm to midnight each evening, lists the wide range of organisations that are enabling life in the city to function as Belfast faces the unprecedented challenges created by the pandemic.

Taking centre stage is the NHS, supported by other service providers and businesses that remain operational at this time. Current partners include the PSNI, Translink, Belfast City Council, Belfast Harbour, voluntary organisations, emergency services, pharmacies, banks, supermarkets, and professional services providers.

Professor Raffi Folli, Provost of Belfast and Jordanstown campus at Ulster University added:

Our York Street campus is in the heart of the city and we were keen to be involved in recognising all of the key workers who are at the heart of our community. Their contribution is vital and we value the sacrifice that they are making.Ulster University nursing students have already answered the call to support the NHS and moved into practice early to support frontline workers in their efforts to fight the pandemic.  We want to thank them and let them know that we are committed to playing our part in the ongoing fight against the coronavirus outbreak.

Explaining the importance of demonstrating support for key workers, Geraldine Duggan, Belfast City Centre Manager said:

Belfast City Centre Management has been working closely with the business community in the city centre for over 20 years and continues to support and inform where it can.  We are grateful to both Galaxy Facilities Management and Ulster University partnering with us to deliver this positive messaging campaign.  The feedback from businesses and organisations to come together to show their support for our NHS and healthcare workers has been awesome. Against the very real and tragic backdrop of people of all ages being taken from us before their time due to Covid-19, and with their families and loved ones trying to cope with grief in very difficult circumstances, we do not do this lightly but wish to recognise all that is being done by people coming together in the direst of times. This campaign seeks to show our appreciation and utmost respect to the NHS and healthcare workers who have been working tirelessly to support our sick and infirm. We also wish to recognise key workers of businesses and organisations, who as providers of essential services, have not closed their doors and are also facing and meeting the challenges presented in these uncharted times”.

As well as being Belfast City Centre Management’s electrical contractors, Galaxy Facilities Management continues to work on site as part of the construction team on Ulster University’s new campus, adjacent to where the outdoor display is taking place.  Discussing the big city centre thank you message, Brian McElhill, Managing Director of Galaxy Facilities Management said:

“We have worked with Belfast City Centre Management for many years, installing the annual festive lighting scheme across the city centre and helping to make Belfast more vibrant during what has historically been the most critical time of the year for the retail and hospitality sectors. However, we are now living through extremely challenging times on so many levels. The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically altered all facets of life and how we interact socially with family and friends, and regrettably even how we can say goodbye to loved ones.  We are relying on those involved in the delivery of key services to continue doing their roles to enable our society to function. Positivity is important during these exceptional times and we are delighted to be involved in lighting up the city with a positive thank you message for key workers.  In the course of any given day, our key workers will complete thousands of tasks that are making life positively better for wider society.  They deserve to be acknowledged and thanked for this”.