All Posts By

Catherine Corrigan

Chinese Memorial Arch gets makeover in time for Chinese New Year celebrations

By | News

Newcastle’s Chinese Arch, which marks the start of Chinatown and takes pride of place at the entrance to Stowell Street has undergone a make over thanks to a collaboration between the Chinese community, NE1 Ltd, the Business Improvement District Company for Newcastle city centre and Newcastle City Council.

The memorial arch, which in Mandarin is called Pai Fang, has had its commemorative boards restored and replaced.  The boards list the names of the members of the Chinese community who contributed to its construction and are written in both English and Mandarin.  The boards were blessed before being repositioned on the arch during a commemorative ceremony including lion dancers, which was attended by a group of local dignitaries including Sean Bullick of NE1 Ltd, Councillor, Kim McGuinness and members of the Chinese Festivity Group.

NE1 Ltd helped finance the renewal of the commemorative boards and has been working with the Chinese community to offer help and support to develop the celebrations for this year’s Chinese New Year festivities which will take place from the 16- 18 February.

Public generosity through a crowd funding appeal coupled with support from both NE1 Ltd and Newcastle City Council, have allowed the Chinese Community to extend the celebrations in Newcastle this year which will celebrate the Year of the Dog in the Chinese Sign of the Zodiac.

The activities will start on Friday 16 February with celebrations in intu Eldon Square followed by the traditional Chinese dragon parade on Sunday 18 February.  This year, the parade will be extended and will be bigger than ever.  Starting at Old Eldon Square the parade will take place in the heart of the city for the first time ever featuring traditional Chinese dragons, lion dancers and drummers working its way from Old Eldon Square to Stowell Street.


Sean Bullick, Chief Executive of NE1 Ltd said: “We are delighted to have been able to support the Chinese community and ensure the Chinese Arch is looking its best for the celebrations on the 18th of February. We are looking forward to this year’s Chinese New Year especially as more of the city will be involved in the festivities.  We are proud to be sponsoring the parade and are committed to working with the city’s Chinese community to help grow the event in the future.”


Councillor Kim McGuinness, cabinet member for culture and communities at Newcastle City Council, said: “It’s great to see the sign on the fantastic Chinese arch cleaned up and refreshed in time for February’s Chinese New Year festivities, and the Great Exhibition of the North later in the year. This is a great, buzzing part of town where people can see not only this arch but parts of the original City Walls, St James’ Park and some really fantastic restaurants and venues. There’s some wonderful events and festivities planned in Newcastle to celebrate Chinese New Year and we really hope that people enjoy it.”


Amanda Chan, Chair of Chinese Festivity Group
“It is great to see the Chinese Arch and the commemorative boards restored and back in place for the start of the Chinese New Year.  We have enjoyed working with NE1 and NCC over the preparations for the New Year celebrations and welcome and are thankful for their continued support for our business community here in Newcastle.

“The New Year celebrations are a major event in the Chinese calendar and we’re delighted that more of Newcastle will get to enjoy and take part in the festivities.  Kung Hei Fat Choy to everyone.”


Itinerary for Sunday 18 February:

11.20am                 Parade starts at Old Eldon Square with lion dancers and drummers.
11.45am:                Parade scheduled to arrive at the Chinese arch at 11:45
12pm:                     Lion, unicorn, dragon dance starts at the arch.

NE1’s Newcastle Restaurant Week delivers £1/2 million boost to business

By | News

January’s NE1’s Newcastle Restaurant Week held between the 15-21st January delivered a £1/2 million boost to business for the 100 plus restaurants that took part.  Results from participating restaurants showed an 11% year on year increase in trade during the week making this January’s NE1’s Newcastle Restaurant Week the most successful to date.

Record numbers of diners enjoyed the traditional Newcastle Restaurant Week offer of dining out for only £10 or £15 per head with some restaurants reporting sales up 50% on the same week last year.  Many of the restaurants were fully booked throughout the week, which prior to the Restaurant Week event would have been one of the quietest times of the year.

A number of the restaurants also reported record numbers of bookings for Restaurant Week even before Christmas.   Diners doing ‘Dry January’ and ‘Veganuary’ were well catered for in many restaurants with mocktails and vegan dishes exceptionally popular options on Restaurant Week menus.

Restaurants across the city were packed for the week-long event which has become a staple in Newcastle’s foodie calendar since its launch in 2011 with one event in January and another in August.

For those who missed January’s event – there is only another six months to wait before the next Restaurant Week event gets underway.  NE1 has announced the dates and NE1’s Newcastle Restaurant Week in August will take place between the 6 – 12 August.  Diners are encouraged to register for updates on Newcastle Restaurant Week at


Stephen Patterson, Director of Communications at NE1 Ltd said:

“The people of Newcastle love NE1’s Newcastle Restaurant Week.  It didn’t take long for it to become a well-established and well-loved event in Newcastle’s event calendar.  As soon as we announce the dates diners are quick to make their bookings to secure their place at one or more of Newcastle’s top restaurants. A number of restaurants were almost fully booked for January’s Newcastle Restaurant Week even before Christmas.”


Gary Hutchinson M.D. of chrysalis leisure group said:

“January was Fat Buddha’s first NE1’s Newcastle Restaurant Week under our new management and we were bowled over by the success of the event.   We did 2,111 Newcastle Restaurant Week covers, more than double the number of diners than last year.  It is such a great event not just for our restaurant but for the whole restaurant community in Newcastle – it gives us all a common focus and turns the spotlight on what the city has to offer as well as being a great offer for diners.  We’re already looking forward to and planning for August’s event.”


In 2011, NE1 Ltd came up with the idea for Restaurant Week in consultation with the restaurant community of Newcastle in a bid to support the industry at traditionally quiet times of the year.  The event now has its own momentum and the weeks are among the most popular in the year and one of the most popular events in the NE1 calendar.

From an original cohort of only 13 venues, over 100 restaurants now take part in the event.

Cash for Kids and Geordie Jackpot

By | News

Cash for Kids and NE1’s Geordie Jackpot are currently looking for local groups in need of funding. Do you help local disadvantaged children and need investment to carry out your work in the community?

Anyone in the Newcastle city centre area can apply for a grant of up to £1,500 but we are looking for groups that specifically help children proactively improve their situation or those groups requiring funds for specialist equipment and experiences.

Geordie Jackpot was set up by NE1 to fund exciting city centre improvements and events in Newcastle, as well as helping the region’s kids. A proportion of funds raised are donated to Cash for Kids who support local children who are disabled, disadvantaged, sick, or suffering from abuse or neglect.


Dan Slee from Metro Radio’s Cash for Kids said:
‘We’re delighted to be working with NE1 in allocating these funds which have been generated through the Geordie Jackpot. We’re looking for groups to apply who aim to help disadvantaged children through training and development or provide specialist equipment for young people facing challenging situations. The money has been generated through a local initiative and with NE1, we are eager to see what exciting projects in the Newcastle area could benefit from our funding’.


Sean Bullick, Chief Executive of NE1 Ltd said:
“We’ve reached an exciting time in the Geordie Jackpot’s short history.  We’re nearly on target to unveil our first project in the city centre and we are now in a position to invite local groups to apply to Cash for Kids for a share in the money raised by the local lottery.  The Geordie Jackpot is delivering a win/win for Newcastle, funding exciting new developments and improvements in the city centre and helping our city’s young people.”


If you are a local charity or community group and wish to apply for this funding, please visit the website below and complete the form before 23rd February:

Newcastle businesses welcome US Ambassador to the city

By | News

Newcastle NE1, the city’s Business Improvement District, is continuing its work to strengthen the relationship between Newcastle and the United States by hosting the American Ambassador to the UK on what is his first official visit to an English city outside London since taking office.

Ambassador Robert Wood Johnson, a member of the Johnson & Johnson dynasty and owner of the New York Jets, met with key business leaders in the city.

Mr Johnson visited The Reece Group, which manufactures for the defence, oil and gas, power generation, construction and subsea sectors, at its Armstrong Works in Newcastle. The group includes Pearson Engineering, which develops and supplies defence equipment to armed forces in the United States.

With his particular interest in medical research, the Ambassador also toured Newcastle University’s Institute of Genetic Medicine based at the Life Science Centre. Here he met researchers who work alongside NHS staff, with the latest genetic and developmental techniques to understand and treat human diseases such as Muscular Dystrophy, mitochondrial diseases and cancer by developing and implementing new therapies.

Prominent local businesses with trade links with the United States, including Sage, Womble Bond Dickinson and Venator, had the opportunity to meet with Mr Johnson at a networking lunch hosted by NE1 and the North East England Chamber of Commerce at Blackfriars. The Vice Chancellor of Northumbria University, Andrew Wathey CBE, Bruce Shepherd OBE, and Louise Robson the Business and Development Director at NHS Newcastle, were also among the attendees.

At the lunch, a range of opportunities intended to strengthen links between the US and Newcastle were discussed, including ways to help create opportunities for business, investment and trade, knowledge transfer and learning.


Newcastle NE1 Chief Executive, Sean Bullick, said: “In this post-Brexit world, a time when the UK is looking to build relationships with countries outside the EU, we are trying to get ahead of the curve by further developing trade and investment links with countries including the United States.”


The trip, arranged to coincide with Martin Luther King Day in the US, involved Mr Johnson visiting Newcastle University earlier in the day to see a statue of the American civil rights leader. The statue was unveiled in November 2017 to mark the 50th anniversary of Dr King’s visit to the University to accept an honorary degree.

While at the University, the Ambassador also met Vice-Chancellor Professor Chris Day and a number of senior academics to hear about how the University is forging strong links with business, as well as universities in the United States.


Professor Day said: “It is fitting that Ambassador Johnson has chosen to visit the statue of Dr King on the day that the US remembers him and the values he stood for. The statue is a lasting tribute to him and a unique record of one of the most significant moments in the University’s history.

“One of our key priorities is to deliver teaching and research projects that address the needs and challenges of a global society, and our collaborations with partners in the US and elsewhere around the world are a huge part of that.”


This is the second high-profile US dignitary visit to Newcastle in the space of a year, as Acting Ambassador Lewis Lukens, visited in summer 2017.