22nd Jan 2020 in Business

Belfast businessman, Les Hume of Dawsons Music on Royal Avenue has been nominated for a British High Street Hero Award.

The initiative, run in association with the Daily Mirror, recognises those unsung heroes of our high streets.
The category that Les is nominated as a finalist highlights exceptional independent business owners or employees within our communities, who run great initiatives and programmes to improve the high street experience for all.

Les said he was delighted to represent Belfast.
“I’m honoured and grateful that I can represent the city,” he said. “There are 12 who have been short-listed. So, I think it’s right that whether it was me, or not, someone from Belfast should have been honoured because I still feel that we’re the poor relative across the four capital cities.”.

His citation for the High Street Hero Award reads: “Les is a passionate advocate for the business community in Belfast. As well as running one of Belfast’s best-known musical equipment and supplies shop for the last seven years, he’s also a welcoming ambassador for Belfast and the retail environment.
“Always looking towards the future he’s the Director of TapSoS (a groundbreaking emergency safety app), the Honorary Secretary of Belfast Chamber of Commerce, Vice Chair of Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District and a member of the Belfast City Centre Retail Steering Group.”

For Les the nomination came as a surprise.
“It came out of the blue, it was a real surprise and I really am grateful to be shortlisted,” he explained. “I still don’t really know what it all means, but if it just gives another opportunity to put the spotlight on this community, then that’s a good thing for the city rather than it being about me.

“There are many other on this street and in Cathedral Quarter who are as passionate and as fuelled.”
He believes it is an opportunity for people and organisations and businesses and the community round them to celebrate that something is happening and that something is moving, instead of it being just an individual award.

“I hope it helps put a spotlight on Northern Ireland and Belfast particularly,” he said. “We’re in a period of change and with the advent of Brexit it is up to all to make sure they can promote, support and develop their community, business area and the city overall.”

Gareth Neill, Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District Manager who nominated Les said: “Cathedral Quarter BID is delighted to see Les recognised in the 2019 High Street Heroes awards.  Belfast City Centre thrives and will continue to thrive through our local entrepreneurs and independents and we are proud to support and showcase Belfast unique offering. Les’ commitment to the business community of Belfast goes beyond retail and his contribution to the City Centre in an dynamic environment is one which the Business Improvement District is incredibly proud of.”

The Great British High Street is a central government supported initiative, aimed at nurturing small businesses and driving local and regional economies.

The awards share leading examples of the ways high streets are succeeding in overcoming the challenges of a rapidly changing environment and will actively encourage the adoption of best practices.

Pictures by Kaja Choma

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