Belfast startup looking to connect HomeCooks to hungry diners looking for healthy homemade food

A Belfast based startup, Nombox Ltd is looking to be the bridge between hungry diners looking for healthy eating options & home based cooks. The startup is looking to create a new category by organising the home based cooks together.

Currently in its pilot phase, the startup is onboarding Homecooks in Belfast & Cardiff areas while  developing the technology to further expand in the UK.

Nombox Ltd platform will allow customers to explore & buy home cooked food from local chefs in their neighborhood. The chef’s are onboarded after a rigorous process to ensure they have the necessary license & hygiene rating to operate & sell home cooked meals. Nombox Ltd  can also assist passionate homecooks to obtain these required licenses to operate. 

“The idea was born out of frustration to find pocket friendly healthy meals. Me & my wife are both working professionals & end up having takeaways most of the time. We then found a few homecooks in our area which looked like a healthier & pocket-friendly solution to the dilemma of most people like myself who don’t have the time to cook”, says Ninil, one of the founders of Nombox.

With Nombox looking to organise the homecook playfield, the food & beverage industry has a new entrant that is sure to create a niche in the market.

The food delivery market is rapidly increasing worldwide and 2020 has seen the segment expand further. Nombox provides the platform for these homecooks to reach new customers and make a successful living. 

40% of UK citizens follow a healthy and balanced diet and 1 in four are so overworked they don’t have time to cook. With takeaway or fast food joints the only option currently, a healthy & pocket friendly alternate will have good takers.

“We are super excited to pilot our idea in Belfast & hoping to get enough support & resources from the startup ecosystem here to give us a headstart when we launch in the major cities in the UK”, says Ninil.

If you are passionate about cooking or looking for healthy homemade food, head to now.

Discover Ards and North Down with the Perfect Gift this Christmas!

Give the perfect Christmas gift to your loved ones and let them discover what Ards and North Down has to offer through a selection of fantastic walking tours and experiences!

Taking place between January and the end of March, the tours allow you and your loved ones to explore fascinating places while being immersed in the beauty of the Borough, on both dry land and water…

Walking Tours

The New Year’s Day Historic Ards Walk (1 Jan) will take you on a journey through time and let you explore the rich and varied history of Newtownards. You will discover many interesting and exciting stories, including John de Courcy and Oliver Cromwell, in one of the oldest settlements in Northern Ireland.

If that’s too early in the year for you, then a number of walking tours will take place throughout February and March across different towns and villages. These include Love Comber (14 Feb) and the Historic Donaghadee Town Walk (27 Feb).

As the longer days begin to raise our spirits, the Hello Spring (20 Mar) guided walk will take you along the North Down Coastal Path on the first day of spring, providing a beautiful journey through coastline and parkland. Meanwhile, at the opposite end of the Peninsula, the Historic Portaferry Town Walk (27 Mar) offers another interesting and informative tour that reveals the fascinating maritime heritage of Portaferry.


If you would rather rest those weary feet and enjoy the tranquil surroundings on water, March also features a feast of experiences that caters for all tastes.

Canoe and Cake (13 Mar) lets you enjoy the beauty of Strangford Lough from your own canoe before relaxing at a traditional Irish thatched cottage with some delicious cake.

SUPNIC (20 Mar) offers three guided paddleboard experiences in the one day. You can choose between the breakfast (8-10am), lunch (12-2pm) or supper (4-6pm) sessions that will see you enjoy paddleboarding in Belfast Lough while hearing local tales before tucking into a gourmet picnic from a local deli in beautiful surroundings.

Perhaps an evening paddle in Donaghadee is more your thing, with SUP and Sip (21 Mar) letting you enjoy the view of the Copelands and see some of the resident wildlife while you glide along Belfast Lough, before returning to Pier 36 for a drink and a chat. The perfect way to enjoy a Sunday afternoon!

Finally, the SUP and Soda (28 Mar) paddleboarding tour closes off the month in the tranquillity of Strangford Lough. You will paddleboard from Whiterock to Ballymorran before enjoying a freshly griddled soda, egg and sausage (vegetarian option also available) in a traditional Irish thatched cottage.

All providers will operate the experiences with COVID-19 measures in line with current government guidance.

For more information, including ticket prices and booking, go to and get your loved one an experience to remember this Christmas!

Special Needs Funding Gap Worsens Anxiety As Parents Are Forced To Pay For Private Assessments

Meta Auden of Spectra Sensory Clothing Photo – Francine Montgomery | Excalibur Press

Government targets to have children to have an assessment and statement of special needs within 34 weeks could be at risk unless another £30m of funding is made available, according to evidence given to Department of Education officials.

Ricky Irwin was giving evidence to the Assembly Committee for Education in the wake of a scathing report from the Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO) which said that 85% of children wait more than the statutory 26 weeks for an assessment and statement.

Meta Auden, founder of Spectra Sensory Clothing, said parents are being forced to pay out hundreds.

“One of my customers has private health care but it does not cover the autism spectrum, so she is going for a diagnosis to a private clinic where the cost is nearly £400.00,” she said.

“There are not many who can afford this and considering that 85% of young adults with autism are unlikely to be in work compared to the rest of the young adult population the private route is not feasible.”

The evidence to the Assembly committee comes two weeks after health minister Robin Swann revealed that 603 have been waiting for more than a year for assessment.

The NIAO report said that the wait for children to have the assessment completed is nearly as bad, with an average of 45 weeks on the list.

New rules and a code of practice states that the limit for an Education Authority to complete the assessment and statement of special needs will be cut from 26 to 22 weeks.

“This means that the children are struggling at school, as no help without diagnosis,” said Meta. “The problem for many of our customers and in support groups, is the length of time before a diagnosis.

“Most parents know before a diagnosis that their child is on the spectrum, but also some for whom a diagnosis brings relief and understanding of their child’s behaviour.”

In his evidence to the committee for education Mr Irwin said that there is some worry that the extra monies needed may not be available.

“The financial environment next year will be extremely challenging,” he said. “We haven’t got any confirmation at this stage around the £30m pressure.”

Funding for Special Educational Needs covers support in special schools, children in mainstream with SEN and statements, SEN transport and support services for SEN through the Education Authority.

Meta Auden said that often it is not always clear what support is needed even once a child receives an assessment.

“There is not a one size fits all, each child will have different needs and the longer they go undiagnosed the more their education will suffer,” she explained. “I also feel that many do not understand the pressure parents are facing on a daily basis just getting their child out to school, only for the child not to receive any help when there.

“With no help, these children are being let down and their full potential not being realised.

The waiting lists are not going away, they will grow as more children will be diagnosed this year with autism than with cancer or Downs.”

Chairman of the Education Committee, Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle, said that without funding there is no likelihood for change.

“The new regulations and code of practice can introduce new time limits and new deadlines but if the resources aren’t in place are they going to address the abject failure to assess and respond to special educational needs of children in a timely way?” he said.

The Northern Ireland Audit Office said that the Educational Authority procedures may not be “fit for purpose”. This came after an internal audit by the EA said that there were many failings. There is another internal investigation underway.

Meta Auden said that it has been an ongoing problem for so many years.

“I was lucky when my daughter was younger to have an assessment and a great classroom assistant,” she said. “However, too many parents are waiting too long and ultimately this causes problems and is, frankly, a disgrace.

“Of course we need the investigations to show the way to improve the situation, but we also need the funding and the will to make changes.”

At present one in five of Northern Ireland pupils has special educational needs, more than 67,000 pupils.

Find out more about Spectra Sensory’s range of sensory clothing and autism aids at

YouTube Star Adam B Shows Support For Bullied Derry Teen

When Northern Ireland YouTube sensation Adam B learned that a local teenager was being bullied at school he leapt into action with a birthday gift of £5,000 worth of tech equipment to help him make more and better videos.

Adam B, aka Adam Beales, reached out to 14-year-old Stewart O’Doherty after reading a tweet from Stewart’s sister Molly about what he was enduring in school.

The 21-year-old YouTube star who has amassed more than 3 million subscribers to his channel said he could relate to what the young man was going through.

“I went through a very similar position to Stewart,” Adam explained. 

“I know exactly what he’s going through. And the main message in making the video and giving the gifts will be to highlight bullying and the huge negative effects it has on kids.”

Stewart started his channel about a year ago but really began making regular YouTube content during lockdown, and when he returned to school the online bullying followed the Derry teen.

“When we went back to school in September, the physical bullying started,” said Stewart. 

“At first it started with sly comments, but then it grew to people physically throwing stuff at me.

“I didn’t give up on the idea of YouTubing, but I didn’t upload much because of what was happening.”

Stewart’s plight came out when he told his 18-year-old sister Molly.

“When Stewart told me I was absolutely livid,” she said. I was so annoyed with myself because I hadn’t been able to do anything to help but it was only because I didn’t know.

“Stewart just loved doing his YouTube channel – it was just silly wee things like challenges and that type of thing. He just enjoyed it. He wasn’t doing any harm and it certainly was no reason for him to be bullied.”

Molly tweeted about the bullying and caught the attention of Blue Peter presenter Adam B.

“The tweet has gone viral with huge support from other content creators like myself,” explained Adam. 

“However, what Stewart didn’t know is that I would be surprising him on his birthday with a video message.”

As Stewart chatted to his YouTube idol on FaceTime he was told to look outside where Adam was waiting with the tech package of gifts.

“I gave Stewart a laptop, cameras, mics, speakers, GoPros, tripods, a segway, airpods, smart watch, headphones, computer mouse, a camera gimbal plus a few other gadgets to help him on his YouTube journey,” said Adam. 

“I wanted to give him these gadgets so that he could have a kickstart on YouTube and something to show the bullies that he doesn’t need to listen to them.”

And, Stewart is now even more determined to keep making content.

“There are no words for me to say what I want to Adam. He’ll never know what he’s done for me,” he said. 

“He’s given me back my confidence and I know now that I can pursue – and fulfil – my dream.”

However, he also had a word for his bullies.

“I’d like to thank the people who bullied me,” said Stewart.

“I’d like to say to them, ‘Thank you’, because, without them, I would never have been able to meet my idol, Adam B.

“I’d also like to tell them that bullying someone for doing what they love to do doesn’t make you a better person.”

That same determination was what spurred Adam on when he was the victim of bullying at school.

“I started doing YouTube in 2012 periodically until 2015 when I devoted a lot of my time to it.

“Being in an all-boy school, back when there were no big Northern Irish YouTubers to look up to – it was very difficult to stay on that path.

“It was difficult to keep believing when everyone else was talking about you, making fun, calling you names as you walked past them in school corridors. It was horrible and I wish it on no one. Therefore, Stewart’s case hit a nerve. I know exactly what he is going through.”

It got so bad that Adam was close to quitting YouTube.

“I was very close to giving up so many times when I was at school,” he said.

“Being told by both pupils and even teachers to stop YouTube – it was a very stressful environment.

“It was an environment where I asked myself multiple times, ‘is it even worth it?’, ‘is it worth the hassle?’ 

“But I am very glad I didn’t give them the satisfaction because I wouldn’t be where I am today if I had listened to them.”

Since then Adam has been garnering more and more YouTube subscribers, as well as more than 500,000 followers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok with his witty pranks and sketches, yet he still remembers the acts of the bullies.

“Sometimes they text me,” he said. 

“I often got random texts from people who relentlessly ashamed me for doing YouTube – and now they’re the ones texting me, congratulating me.

“Anyone who made fun of me or made me feel insecure for doing something I loved, I would say to them ‘why”, ‘what did they get from it’, ‘Are you happy’.

“I would ask these questions because I am still baffled as to why people feel the need to mentally/physically/emotionally attack others for something that doesn’t even affect them. It boggles my brain and it’s a thing that needs stamped out. No one should ever tolerate bullying. No one.”

And, he has a message for the people bullying Stewart.

“Don’t underestimate anyone,” he said. “The people you bully could very well be the people you need a job from in the future.”

He went on with a message for everyone who has a dream.

“Believe in yourself. If I can do it, then you can do it. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”
For those who have a dream of becoming a YouTube star he said support from friends and family can make a huge difference.

“Encourage them. Encourage, encourage, encourage! It massively helps when the only thing they’re used to is negativity.”

If you or someone you know is being bullied don’t be afraid to talk to an adult or contact on 0800 1111. For more information about how you can tackle bullying adults can go to