First and deputy First Ministers encourage public to vote for their High Street Hero

The First Minister and deputy First Minister have launched High Street Heroes NI today, a public online vote for shoppers’ favourite independent retailer and local high street.

High Street Heroes NI is a joint campaign from Retail NI and the Irish News which formally begins on Independents’ Day on 4 July, with early voting open from today. Supported by Camelot and Translink, across 12 different categories, shoppers can vote until early August for their favourite convenience store, deli, butcher, off-licence, Covid-19 champion, and several other types of independent retailer via

The First Minister, Paul Givan MLA, said:

“Our independent retailers have provided amazing support to communities over the last year and this is a timely opportunity to show our appreciation to them.

“The challenges of the pandemic resulted in fundamental changes within the retail sector. Our local business owners responded with energy, creativity and a determination to keep providing high-quality products and service for their customers.

“I also know that many proved to be a lifeline for those who were dealing with isolation. There is no doubting the power of friendly word or a kindly action. This is what makes our Northern Ireland retailers so special. I urge everyone to get voting now for your favourite.”

The deputy First Minister, Michelle O’Neill MLA, said:

“There is so much to celebrate within our local retail sector. Our independent businesses are part and parcel of our society and give so much to the community.

From the early days of the pandemic, retailers and retail workers have been on the frontline, delivering essential services for people, including vulnerable members of our society.

“This has undoubtedly been the most challenging of times for them and they have made a huge effort and significant investment to ensure the safety of customers and staff. Now is the time to say thank you and recognise their contribution.

“I encourage everyone to get involved in the High Street Heroes campaign and support our independent retailers as we move along the road to recovery.”

Retail NI President, Peter McBride, said:

“We are delighted to launch High Street Heroes NI to highlight and celebrate the huge contribution independent retailers make to our local high streets and the economy. High Street Heroes NI gives consumers the opportunity to vote for their favourite independent retailer and high street.

“Don’t forget to Vote Independent!”

Camelot’s Retail Director, Jenny Blogg, said:

“From small corner shops to local newsagents and well-stocked convenience stores – our 44,000 retail partners are the backbone of The National Lottery and, to most players, our public face. For that reason, we are delighted to support High Street Heroes NI, to help highlight some of the fantastic independent retailers who continue to serve communities across Northern Ireland – day in, day out.”

Annette Small, Irish News Group Marketing & Communications Manager, said:

“We have heard countless inspirational stories of local independent retailers adapting and innovating to not only survive, but thrive, in response to the devastating impact of COVID-19 on shopping habits, socialising and everyday life. We can all play our part by buying local and voting for our favourite independent retailer via

Chris Conway, Translink Group Chief Executive, said: 

“It’s never been more important to support our local independent retailers and we’re ready to bring more people into cities, towns and villages to enjoy the fantastic choice, quality and personal touch on offer. 

“Translink is committed to delivering a greener recovery and building back responsibly with robust safety measures in place across our bus and rail services to protect and reassure everyone on their journeys.”