posted on March 14th, 2024

High Society Brings Style and Vibrancy Back to the High Street

Independent barbers, High Society Cut Club, launched their business on the ground floor of 29 Gresham Street today, Thursday 14th March, with the support of a Belfast City Council Vacant to Vibrant capital grant, bringing the property back into use after twenty years of vacancy.

Clíodhna Nic Bhranair, Chair of Belfast City Council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee, said: “It’s fantastic to see our Vacant to Vibrant capital grant scheme supporting small businesses, independent retailers, social enterprises, and cultural and voluntary organisations to transform vacant spaces.

“The Smithfield area is going to be absolutely transformed in the lead up to our landmark visitor experience, Belfast Stories, opening just across the way in 2029. These local businesses and organisations are providing employment, helping to deliver an authentic Belfast experience, and fostering a greater sense of pride in the city.”

Independent barber ‘High Society Cut Club’ owners Joao (Johnny) Jesus and Hannah McShane with dog Phoebe, are joined by Councillor Clíodhna Nic Bhranair, Chair of Belfast City Council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee, and Ashley Stewart, Partner (NI), Bywater, on their first day of business on the ground floor of 29 Gresham Street, Thursday 14th March.

High Society Cut Club owner, Hannah McShane, said: “We’re thrilled to open our traditional barber shop in a part of the city that encapsulates Belfast’s rich culture and artistic heritage. This move to the city centre wouldn’t have been possible for us without support from property owners, Bywater, and Belfast City Council – we can’t wait to see what the future holds for us as city-centre living continues to grow.”

The opening of High Society Cut Club is part of their ongoing commitment to responsibly bring this historic part of the city back to life by supporting independent retail businesses across their portfolio of properties in the area.

Next year, High Society Cut Club plan to repurpose the first floor of the property to develop a training academy, offering a beginners’ training programme, creating additional employment opportunities and pathways to employment.

Vacant to Vibrant is a key project in Belfast City Council’s Future City Centre Programme, which opened in July 2022, and aims to incentivise both property owners and potential occupiers to bring vacant Belfast city centre spaces back into use, while supporting the city centre’s revitalisation and ensuring sustainable rates of growth.

The council are also providing a matchmaking service through a partnership approach with commercial agent Frazer Kidd, linking businesses with potential units, with the opportunity to access capital funding through the scheme.

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