A phased re-opening of Visitor Information Centres in Causeway Coast and Glens will begin from today (Friday 10th July 2020).
Facilities located in Ballycastle, Bushmills and Portrush will open from 9.30am – 4.30pm, Monday – Saturday, with lunch closures from 1pm – 1.30pm.
New measures will be in place to ensure user-safety, including the provision of hand sanitiser and limited numbers allowed inside at any time.
The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Alderman Mark Fielding said: “We are pleased to confirm that the re-opening of our Visitor Information Centres is getting underway, and staff are looking forward to assisting you during your time in Causeway Coast and Glens. They can provide up-to-date advice on your visit to the destination or help with tickets and tour bookings while a range of literature and maps is available to take away.
“Our Visitor Information Centres are an important part of our tourism offering and will help to ensure that those coming to the area are well informed at this time.”
Users are also reminded that the Centres have well-stocked retail areas selling quality items which showcase our local artisan makers, including arts, crafts and food produce.
Visitors can contact any of the centres to enquire about accommodation, tours, experiences and things to do by email using the address below or by phone: Ballycastle 028 2076 2024, Bushmills 028 2073 0390 or Portrush 028 7082 3333.
Most women have a best friend group, the women closest to us in our lives that we share unforgettable memories with.
“We all think we’re unique and special in our own way. But, every friendship group has a classic stereotype of characters” said artist and designer Kelsey Tyson, owner of Girl Limit, a home accessories and beauty brand.
I mean it would be pretty boring if we were all the same, right?
Here are 8 types of friends we all have, which one are you?
1. The Organised One
Just like Monica from “Friends” you need to have a plan of action all the time. You’re probably the one who organised the Whatsapp group chat or the one who makes the dinner reservations.
You’re smart, level-headed and always remain calm under pressure. So if you find yourself always organising the taxis home on a night out then you’re more than likely the organised friend of the group.
2. The Funny One
Just like Megan from “Bridesmaids” you’re always up for a laugh.
You’re always making jokes even in awkward situations, always lightening the mood. You know how to cheer your friends up even on down days and you always look on the bright side of life.
3. The Photogenic One
You always look picture-perfect, the “Kim Kardashian” of the group. You stand out in pictures, even in the dreaded tagged photos from the night before.
You’re the envy of all your friends. You’re always sharing your skincare routine with the group and beauty tips, much to their appreciation.
4. The Mum of the Group
Always find yourself reminding the girls to bring their passport to the airport? Or on hand with the ice cream and wine when there’s a break-up?
Then you’re more than likely the mum of the group. You always know what to say in tense situations and you’re wise before your years. Everyone looks to you for advice and you’re most definitely the “hugger” of the group.
5. The Competitive One
Everything is a race with you. You’re always cheering your friends on and hyping them up to be the best they possibly can be.
You want your friends to win and achieve their goals. You always speak words of wisdom and refer to favourite motivational quotes to inspire your friends. You’re always the one hosting games night and 9 times out of 10 you’re on the winning team.
6. The Tough Friend
Like Jen Harding from “Dead to me” you’re always telling it like it is. You give your friends tough love and always have their back. You don’t care what anyone thinks, whether it’s sticking up for your friends in a fight or sending back the wrong food in a restaurant, you most certainly won’t let anyone walk all over you- or your friends!
7. The party animal
You’re always ready to party and always the last to leave. You have the energy of a five-year old and you’re always positive.
You can convince your friends in seconds to stay for “just one more”. Your friends can always count on you for a good time and to lift their spirits when they’re feeling down.
8. The Social Media Savvy Friend
You always want to take selfies, everywhere you go is a photo opportunity, the world really is your stage.
You’re always on the lookout for the perfect photo backdrop and you will stand for as long as it takes snapping photos of your friends to get the right angle. Your friends can count on you to make everything look perfect and be their professional photographer on day-trips or nights out.
This Friday, 10 July, Temple Golf Club in Carryduff will host their first ever drive in cinema and they’ve teamed up with Cinemagic as their charity beneficiaries.
The cinema listings are:
2pm – The Lion King
4pm – Toy Story
6.15pm – Dirty Dancing
9pm – Grease
Joan Burney Keatings (pictured), CEO of Cinemagic, is excited about this weekend’s screenings. She says;
“Cinemagic is delighted to be working in association with The Big Drive Inn, to deliver family friendly films in a safe and fun way. This magical event will definitely be an opportunity to create special family memories and a chance for guests to learn all about Cinemagic via our promo videos which are shown on the big screens before each movie.”
Soulful Singer/Songwriter Jacqui Sharkey has released the second single from her E.P. Home, hot on the heels of the title track of the same name released last month.
Her beautiful arrangement and performance of the Dutch brothers, Cornelis and Thomas Tol’s song Just An Illusion was specially chosen by Jacqui, as the words resonated so much with her.
“Of the covers I have chosen to record on my new EP and album, I was really drawn most to this song as soon as I heard it,” she explained. “I am all about lyrics, and for me, ‘Just An Illusion’ sums it all up, really.
“The Music Industry is a very hard and crazy business, and one which I will never understand. It can be cruel at times for musicians in different ways, but, regardless of the pitfalls, there is nothing like that feeling when you are creating or performing music. Then all the hard stuff almost fades into oblivion.”
Jacqui’s E.P. entitled Home is due for release on July 31st, 2020, and includes Until Then, one of Jacqui’s own original songs. Jacqui recently shared a live performance of the track for Social Media, recorded from her home in Bunbeg in West Donegal, along with her friend, Musician and Music Director, Ray McLoughlin, who accompanied Jacqui on the recording on piano from his home in County Westmeath.
The Donegal based Singer/ Songwriter, known for her soulful, deep tones, has three albums under her belt, and since her smash hit cover of The Waterboys’ Whole of the Moon, she has been taking time to reflect on her journey so far, as well as writing and recording tracks for a forthcoming album.
Jacqui hadn’t anticipated she would have so much time, given the current situation.
“At the moment, in these crazy times, the industry hangs in the balance, with gigs postponed and everything up in the air,” she said. As to what will happen next? Who knows? I didn’t see this coming! I don’t know what’s next other than to watch that space.
“I can’t go for long without writing, recording and performing. Music is truly my sanity and my peace, and I can’t imagine life without it. Music creates feelings and feelings create music. I am blessed to be able to do it, and I am looking forward to sharing Just An Illusion and quite a few new songs in 2020.”
Just An Illusion is OUT NOW and Jacqui’s E.P. HOME will be released on July 31, 2020.Find out more at or jacquisharkey.com or connect with Jacqui Sharkey on social media.
Venders across Coleraine town known as the Capital of the Causeway Coast, are delighted to be able to raise the shutters, open their doors and welcome some new and familiar faces as they reopen for business.
Stores across Coleraine are boosting its impressive safety measures put in place to ensure the shopping experience is an enjoyable and socially distanced welcoming environment.
Adjusting to our new normal has inspired businesses to think innovatively on ensuring Coleraine is a safe shopping town to visit with remapping the flow of customers throughout shopping and dining spaces, training staff on sanitation, adapting their payment options and introducing new booking systems.
Historically Coleraine was the market town of the North Coast which allows ample space for the safe movement of visitors making use of the wide pedestrian areas, outdoor seating areas and the 2,000 car parking spaces within the vicinity.
The boost for Coleraine is being supported and promoted by the Coleraine Business Development Improvement District (BID) which exists to ensure the town achieves its full potential through working with local businesses to invest and reap opportunities for improvement.
Jamie Hamill, BID Development Manager commented on these developments: “It is wonderful to see the high street retailers and quality independent stores within Coleraine opening their doors once again, and many with fantastic promotions and offers on.
“Following a tough few months of lockdown, isolating and online shopping, the visitors I have been speaking to are very thankful for local businesses opening up again. It’s clear from chatting to the locals also that they have really missed the town as it provides some retail therapy and a sense of community as you always meet someone you haven’t seen in a while.
“Now that hospitality, hairdressers and beauty salons as well as retail are reopening, this will really add to a fuller visitor experience. We would really want to urge visitors travelling to the North Coast for a day out or a staycation that they pop for a visit and rediscover Coleraine as it is a beautiful, historic and vibrant place which is for everyone to enjoy.”
Local faces extended a kind thank you to the public for supporting and shopping local during the pandemic, through a social media video which was produced and shared by Coleraine BID on their social media channels. Visit ‘Our Coleraine’ on Facebook to watch.
July’s free webinars from Excalibur Press kicks off with a session this Thursday (July 2) with founder Tina Calder telling attendees just what she does in order to organise, promote and deliver her webinars each week.
Running A Webinar? Here’s What I Do Each Week is the latest session publicity management, content creation and copywriting company Excalibur Press has been running for the last three months to support businesses and individuals to transform their business and take advantage of online opportunities quickly.
A total of seven sessions will be held throughout July including topics such as blogging, podcasts, and maximising use of LinkedIn.
Tina will use over two decades of experience in media, publicity, publishing and content creation to deliver unique “action orientated” sessions.
She said: “At the beginning of the Covid crisis like many businesses I was in shock at the speed at which my business was changing. Clients were no longer able to commit to budgets and large projects were put on hold.
“I could have very easily just settled in, bunkered down and weathered the storm waiting for things to come back again but I decided that was 100% the wrong thing to do.
“I realised quickly that if I could use my experience to help people learn new skills and cope with the crisis a little better then I could create a wonderful community of learners and welcome them into the Excalibur Press family through our online brand The Content Club.
“These webinars offer me a great way to connect with the business community and find out exactly what services they need and want during this time.”
“This week I’ll run through what I do behind the scenes, what systems and processes I use and explain how to streamline creating your webinar” said Tina.
The following Wednesday (July 8) Tina will present Do You Want To Start Podcasting? Here’s How!, equipping attendees with everything they need to know to get started, including the required tools, to set up their first podcast.
“This session has been tailored to show how webinars can help businesses and individuals supercharge their marketing and sales efforts, as well as establishing them as real influencers and market leaders,” Tina explained.
She said: “There are a wide range of safety measures available to help protect your employees, customers, and the wider community.
“Some measures are more useful or applicable in certain sectors, with a range of government guidance available online.
“However, at Tyson Wilson we have identified five measures that are more generally applicable and can help you to ensure you have taken reasonable steps to keep your workforce safe from COVID-19.
“Not only that, we currently have a policy and procedure in place to train all our candidates being placed in temporary and permanent positions on things such as hand washing, sanitising work spaces, wearing PPE to prepare them for entering workplaces where they will have to adhere to strict rules and regulations.”
1. Carry out a Coronavirus-specific Risk Assessment
Risk Assessments are common documents across all sectors and industries that typically list the hazards present in the workplace, or hazards that are created by carrying out a range of tasks and duties. The assessments indicate the level of risk from each hazard, as well as listing specific control measures that must be implemented to mitigate risk.
“Carrying out a Coronavirus Risk Assessment helps ensure you take a methodical approach to assessing risk and identifying reasonable control measures that can be implemented to reduce risk” said Michelle, adding: “The assessment should be detailed enough to cover all activities that are undertaken by your organisation, as well as identifying all persons who could be at risk. Once complete, the document can be sent to all employees and displayed in a prominent location at your premises to ensure it is well communicated and understood.”
2. Maintain remote-working practices, where possible
Michelle explained: “While the government is taking steps to reduce restrictive lockdown measures, key advice to employers remains the same – where your employees can work from home, they should be working from home.
“Many organisations adapted quickly to remote working practices, including the use of video conferencing software, setting up group chats, and carrying out daily or weekly team briefings. Unless your employees do work that is of a nature that cannot be carried out from home, such as production operatives and construction workers, then remote working practices should be implemented and maintained.”
3. Implement workplace social distancing measures
For employees who cannot work from home, it is vital that social distancing measures are implemented in the workplace.
Michelle said: “As of June 23rd 2020, the guidance is two metre social distancing. To help enforce this, employers can introduce a range of measures including: reduced numbers in the workplace at any one time, spreading out the workforce by changing the layout of offices and work spaces, minimising the maximum number of people permitted to be in one room, staggering tea and lunch breaks, allowing employees to eat at their desks or stations to reduce cross-contamination in communal areas, restricting visitors to the workplace, erecting perspex screens and dividers, marking out social distancing lines on floors, and putting up posters as a reminder to socially distance.”
4.Implement a robust cleaning regime and hygiene practices
“Thorough cleaning regimes that were introduced at the start of the pandemic need to be maintained” said Michelle.
“This can include frequent disinfection of surfaces, equipment, door handles, and other touch points, regular emptying of bins, and removing shared cutlery and cups from use, etc.
“In addition, adequate hand hygiene must be maintained, and employees should have access to a suitable supply of hand washing materials, barrier and emollient creams, and hand sanitiser. A wide range of hands-free dispensers have become available on the market from local suppliers.”
5. Supply and proper fitting of appropriate PPE
Michelle advised: “Where it is difficult to maintain social distancing, or work activities require employees to be in areas that have higher levels of traffic (or if employees feel more secure with PPE available), you should provide suitable PPE such as face masks or covering, or full face shields.
“This is particularly common for employees in the hospitality sector, in supermarkets, and on public transport. If supplying PPE to employees, ensure they know the correct methods to don and doff the equipment to ensure it provides adequate protection.”
More information for employers can be found on the NI Direct website and the HSE website. The HSE website provides guidance for the UK and the rules in Northern Ireland may differ slightly.
However, in general, the advice with regards to health and safety measures in the workplace is robust.
In many cases your website is your shop window, the place people will go to find out more about you and your product or service before making the decision to buy.
Getting it right is imperative to ensure your potential customer moves through your customer journey to convert into a solid sale.
Damien Maddalena is the founder of Elucidate Studios. Based in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter, Elucidate aim to design, develop, and deploy meaningful brand and digital experiences through exploration, experimentation, and collaboration.
Building websites since the early days of the internet, Damien has more years’ experience than he cares to remember.
Here are Damien’s key questions you need to answer for anyone thinking of building or changing their business website:
“Your website should be at the centre of your digital universe” said Damien, adding: “All your online activity should direct users to your website for more information – from social media, to email marketing. All your offline marketing activity should also point to your website – from letterheads to print adverts. Your website acts as a centralised online hub for your business.”
A website creates a destination for those who want to know more about your business, acts as an archive for content, news, and stories about your business, and is a simple means of contact for your customers and potential customers to find you and get in touch. As such a key communication tool, it’s important that your website is high quality and effective.
Key Questions For SME Website Development
What is your business strategy and how will a website help you meet your business objectives?
What does your current online presence look like and what needs to change?
Who is your online audience, and how do you find them? How do they find you?
How do you perform online compared to your competitors?
Damien explained: “Websites are not vanity projects. It is a functional tool for your business. Consider your wants versus your needs when designing and developing your website. What is going to add value to your business? Sliding banners and additional features like moving components might look good, and maybe your competitor has them, but what value are they going to add to your website?”
What else should you ask yourself?
What does the website need to do?
What is the scope of your website development project? The scope will impact on your design and functionality needs, and ultimately on your budget.
Have you considered mobile responsiveness, search engine optimisation, hosting and security?
“Your website design should represent and reflect your brand” said Damien.
“Spend sufficient time scoping and planning your website from the start. Adding in functionality down the line can be costly and make the design and development process much more difficult. This is known as “reactive creep.”
But it’s not just about the structure of your website that businesses need to consider when developing their website, said Damien. He identified the following questions as integral to the website build.
Do you have a plan for the content of your website? If you are not comfortable or confident writing this yourself, you can hire a copywriter to write it for you.
Do you have high resolution logos, artwork and images for your website? Or do you need to hire a graphic designer to create these for you?
What are your expectations for the website? Have you seen samples of things that you like that you could show to your web developer?
Damien added: “Some website developers will have graphic design and copywriting skills in-house, but many won’t. It’s up to you to make sure all the content and imagery is how you want it to be. Not having the content ready can delay the creation and launch of the website, so make sure you have thought about this in advance.”
What on-going support do you need from a website developer? Most websites will require plugin or security updates at a minimum, some will also require a budget for on-going tweaks and improvements over time.
How do you choose which website developer to go with? Ask to see a portfolio of their work or speak with some of the clients they have worked with in the past.
Are you happy to use a WordPress or similar website developer who designs using templates, or do you want a website that is fully bespoke? What does your budget allow?
Three-year-old Lucius Corry, who has Down’s syndrome, a hearing impairment and ventricular septal defect, is taking on his biggest challenge yet to raise vital funds for Mencap Northern Ireland to thank the charity for supporting him to take his first steps.
Lucius will be taking on a 50-jump challenge as part of Mencap in Northern Ireland’s “Move It For Mencap” fundraising campaign, which will raise money to help the charity deliver its life-changing services to people with a learning disability in Northern Ireland.
Proud mum, Joanne Corry, gave birth to Lucius at 38 weeks by C-Section after developing gestational diabetes. Lucius was immediately taken away for blood tests and was diagnosed with Down’s syndrome. Further scans showed that Lucius has a hearing impairment as well as a ventricular septal defect, which will require him to have surgery at some stage.
At two-years-old Lucius started attending the Mencap Children’s Centre, which is run in partnership with the Belfast Trust, where he was supported to take his first steps last December.
Although the coronavirus pandemic has meant that the Children’s Centre has not been able to deliver face-to-face support, Mencap quickly adapted its services to offer virtual support to families. Mencap wanted to make sure children with a learning disability continue in their development and that families can get the vital support they need during lockdown.
Lucius and Joanne are grateful for the ongoing virtual support they have received and continue to see Lucius develop despite lockdown. Lucius had been trying for weeks to jump and was really struggling, but during lockdown Lucius achieved his first jump.
Now he loves jumping and the family have set Lucius a new challenge to do 50 jumps to fundraise for Mencap to thank the charity for its support.
Joanne Corry, mum to Lucius, says: “Lucius has thrived at Mencap’s Children’s Centre. He learned to walk in December, which was a major achievement for him. He couldn’t have done it without the support from Mencap. The staff at Mencap have been brilliant to us and are always there for support. We have got to meet so many other families who were in a similar situation and could relate to what we were going through, which really helped. The workshops and training courses were a great help to me and my family.
“Even though this is a difficult time for everyone, we were delighted when Lucius hit another milestone a few weeks ago by learning to jump! He had been trying for weeks but his feet never left the ground, but he was so determined to do it. Then suddenly his feet lifted, and he was so excited. He loves jumping now. We decided we would like to help to raise as much as we can for Mencap so they can go on supporting other families like ours and to also say thank you to Mencap for everything that they have done for us so far.”
Margaret Kelly, Director of Mencap Northern Ireland, says: “I just want to say a huge thank you to Lucius and Joanne for fundraising for Mencap. It means to so much to us that our families so value our services that they are willing to fundraise on top of everything else they do. Our extraordinary teams are working extremely hard in challenging circumstances to help many children and adults with a learning disability and their families in need of support during this difficult time. Lucius’s jumping is a very special ‘Move it for Mencap’ challenge. It is really wonderful that Lucius and Joanne are helping us to transform the lives of other children with a learning disability and their families to help them build independent and fulfilling lives.”
The coronavirus crisis is affecting people nationwide, but it is society’s most vulnerable people, including people with a learning disability and their families and carers, who are most likely to be hit hardest. Mencap continues to provide the highest quality care and support to thousands of children and adults with a learning disability and their families and carers, while ensuring that the 42,000 people with a learning disability in Northern Ireland are supported through the charity’s helpline, online support services and programmes, and lobbying and influencing work.
“Move It For Mencap” is asking you to move in whichever way suits you to raise money for Mencap in Northern Ireland and help support local people with a learning disability. Set yourself a challenge, be it walking, running, or even dancing, set up a fundraising link and get started. Find out more about getting started and other ways you can get involved too at:
Hastings Hotels is looking forward to welcoming guests back this summer with a fantastic selection of offers to enjoy a staycation in one of the group’s seven stunning properties including the 5-star Culloden Estate & Spa and the Grand Central Hotel in Belfast.
Grand Central Hotel
Why not book a break in Belfast City Centre and stay at the Grand Central Hotel, home to Ireland’s tallest cocktail bar, the Observatory. Overnight breaks fromFriday 3rd July start from just £75pps and include Full Irish Breakfast. Stay for 2+ nights and get £10 off per day or stay for 4+ nights and get £20 off per day.*
The Grand Central Hotel has a delightful range of dining options including the Grand Café which is perfect for casual meetings to catch-ups over coffee and long, lazy lunches and the Seahorse Bar & Restaurant offering sumptuous Afternoon Tea and an exquisite evening menu. The Observatory on the hotel’s 23rd floor, is the most luxurious cocktail lounge in Ireland, where guests can sit back, relax and sip on the finest cocktail and drinks selection and enjoy the breathtaking views of Belfast and beyond.
Culloden Estate & Spa
Enjoy a luxury overnight escape to the Culloden Estate & Spafrom Friday 17th July from only £105pps with Full Irish Breakfast the following morning. Stay for 2+ nights and get £15 off per day or stay for 3+ nights and get £20 off per day.*
This magnificent hotel is just six miles from Belfast and boasts stunning views over Belfast Lough and across County Antrim. The Culloden stands in 12 acres of beautiful secluded gardens and woodland and offers a fabulous range of dining options including Vespers Restaurant serving modern cuisine using only the finest and freshest local ingredients; The Lough Bar offering light snacks and the hotel’s famous decadent Afternoon Tea and the Cultra Inn, a cosy bar and bistro which nestles within the Estate and is perfect for a tasty lunch, evening meal or pint by the fireside.
This summer, the Culloden will be home to the Jawbox Mobile Bar, which will be located on the lawn outside the Cultra Inn serving a delightful selection of Gin serves, wine and beer in the sunshine.