IF you're out and about this weekend then keep your eyes peeled for some pop up surprises in and around Derry and Strabane, as the Inside Out programme makes a return to the streets.
The fun programme of animation and entertainment is part of Derry City and Strabane District Council's wider COVID Recovery and Revitalisation campaign which aims to support local businesses as they begin their journey towards recovery.
A number of colourful outdoor performances and fun activities will take place over the summer months geared towards restoring the energy to our urban spaces.
The programme complements the wider infrastructure improvement works which have already begun to be rolled out in Derry and Strabane's centres in recent weeks.
By reimagining our streets and open spaces, council, with the support of the Department for Communities (DfC), hopes to restore confidence in visiting local shops, bars and restaurants and support the recovery of the local economy.
Council has been working closely with DfC and the local business community to come up with a range of interventions designed to meet the needs of both businesses and customers.
The Inside Out programme first took to the streets last year when restrictions were eased over the summer months and received a positive response from people of all ages.
Welcoming the return of the initiative, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Alderman Graham Warke, said he was looking forward to the programme.
"I think that with the beginning of the summer it's great to see the return of some form of entertainment and animation to our streets, even on a small scale," he said.
"Inside Out is an engaging and fun way to put smiles on people's faces as they are out and about shopping and socialising, it creates a more colourful backdrop and really enhances our beautiful outdoor spaces.
"The focus is still very much on following the safety guidance and respecting others as we go about our day to day activities, but it is great to be able to enjoy some of the energy and fun provided by some of our fantastic street performers.
"Council's revitalisation team, in consultation with the local business community, have come up with a creative and clever package of measures which will see some of our public spaces transformed into outdoor dining, trading and entertainment areas over the coming weeks.
"These will provide new opportunities for businesses to engage and interact with customers safely and positively, with more open and inviting spaces and improved infrastructure to benefit everyone."
Look out for some pop up surprises and festive fun this weekend with Inside Out activities planned for a number of locations across both Derry and Strabane.
This will be followed over the summer months with similar weekend programmes of smaller scale events and performances aimed at enhancing the visitor experience for both visitors and local people.
Keep an eye on council's social media for updates or find out more about Derry and Strabane's Covid Recovery and Revitalisation Plan at: https://www.derrystrabane.com/Recovery