Jacqueline’s pick of what’s on this weekend across NI


Mallusk Enterprise Park Christmas Market takes place this weekend.  Find local businesses and social enterprises to shop and support, enjoy our entertainment line up including live music from Audio Level DJ, indulge in festive drinks and nibbles and browse the entries to the Children’s Art Competition. There will also be a free Santa’s Grotto experience and a festive food mountain built in aid of the Newtownabbey Food Bank and a Children’s Gift mountain in aid of Cash for Kids.

Find out more HERE


It’s been the godmother of all waits, but this Christmas at The Market Place Theatre, you shall go to the ball!  Pantomime is back with all the traditional festive ingredients; an amazing cast, glittering set, laugh-out-loud humour, plenty of boos and hisses, all topped off with a sprinkling of fairy magic! So dust off your ball gowns and join us for the classic rags-to-riches tale with a modern twist – ‘Cinderella’.

Find out more HERE


Children’s Craft Christmas at Clifton House. Why not let the kids experience something different this Festive season? Step back in time to Christmas 250 years ago and see how children once celebrated in the Poorhouse. Learn about their traditions, gifts, food and entertainment. It’s not the ‘Scrooge’ you’d imagine it to be.

Find out more HERE


Santa Cruise, Strangford Activity Centre. Join the merry old elf for a hair-raising sleigh ride around the islands aboard a fast speed boat – Black Jacket. Hold onto your santa hats asyou fly through the waters of Strangford Lough!

Find out more HERE


Share on Ice! SHARE Discovery Village is kicking off an exciting festive period with SHARE Village on Ice: a fantastic indoor synthetic rink, which is almost identical to a frozen surface but much more eco-friendly for all the family to enjoy. Whether you’re a budding skater or a confident glider, our wheelchair-friendly ice rink is open to all ages and abilities!

Find out more HERE


Roe Valley Speciality Christmas Market.  Join Roe Valley on Saturday 3rd December for their Limabady Christmas Market, offering shoppers a warm welcome, with friendly traders and the choice of a range of unique local produce, Craft, Art, Treats, Street Food and speciality handcrafted items, this a perfect opportunity to pick up some unique Christmas Gifts and treats for all the family!

Find out more HERE


Carol and Jimmy’s Cracker is back at the Burnavon Cookstown this weekend after two long years!

Find out more HERE


Finally, back in-person and indoors, Commedia of Errors are once again bringing their Plays Aloud programme to vulnerable older people, sharing some Christmas craic with audiences across Northern Ireland.

A brand-new nostalgia filled Christmas show featuring classic tunes, comedy and more will be touring to care homes, nursing homes and dementia care units across NI this December.

Plays Aloud Actor Geoff Hatt

Plays Aloud’s digital, and socially distanced ‘outdoors-in’ performances have been in high demand all through the pandemic, but residents are delighted to be getting back to normal and to be able to welcome performers back into their living rooms!

This ambitious Christmas programme is principally funded by Arts Council Northern Ireland’s Arts and Older People Programme and Halifax Foundation NI, with support from Public Health, The Baring Foundation, and is made with partners Radius Housing.

Plays Aloud has been bringing their dementia specialist variety show into nursing homes, care homes, dementia units and folds since 2017. Each performance is specially curated to invigorate and reenergise older audiences, improving mental health and slowing dementia related decline.

In 2020, the pandemic temporarily put a stop to the programme, but unperturbed, company founders Benjamin Gould and Clare McMahon (working with programme partners Radius Housing and Accidental Theatre) digitised, creating Plays Aloud At Home. Through a combination of live streaming and bespoke made DVD recordings, the company broadcast their hit variety show six times to the TV’s of over 1400 beneficiaries since June 2020. They received Highly Commended by Arts & Business ‘Mental Health & Wellbeing Award’ 2021. Finally, as they pandemic abates, they are returning to in-person performances for their cherished older audiences.

Audiences of the programme are always positive: One care worker said, “They loved every minute of it.”

An audience member commented, “Better than the BBC!” Another added, “Don’t underestimate the value of this resource you have given us – Keep it up!”

The project has even been endorsed by Daniel O’Donnell who observed, ‘‘Plays Aloud At Home is engaging with the most vulnerable in our communities. It really is inspiring…long may it continue!’’

This Christmas the programme will feature two pairs of performers touring to the lounges of care facilities in every county of Northern Ireland.

Lorraine Calderwood, Community Arts Development Officer at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, explained how the Arts and Older People’s Programme is making a difference to the lives of older people across the region: “The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is delighted to support Commedia of Errors’ Plays Aloud programme. Research has proven that taking part in arts activities can raise self-esteem, confidence and motivation, as well as aid in relieving stress.

A member of the audience enjoys Plays Aloud by Commedia of Errors.

“The Arts and Older People Programme is committed to providing meaningful opportunities for our older people to take part in arts activities, enriching their lives for the better. As we emerge from the extra challenges faced by older people as a result of the pandemic, participating in the arts is now more important than ever.

“The arts have a vital role to play in helping older people find their voice thus promoting positive physical and mental health. Thanks to The National Lottery, Public Health Agency and Baring Foundation, the Arts Council is hugely proud to have supported 250 projects benefitting older people since the programme began.”

Plays Aloud At Home is the brainchild of local theatre makers Clare McMahon and Benjamin Gould in partnership with Radius Housing. McMahon and Gould also recently collaborated to bring McMahon’s play, ‘The Gap Year’, to sell-out audiences at the Lyric Theatre. They have previously worked together to bring smash hit ‘I Am Maura’, and the sell-out ‘Shakespeare’s Women’ to audiences across Northern Ireland.

To find out more about Commedia of Errors, go to: www.commediaoferrors.co.uk


Stranger Crows Hootenanny: Showcasing Local Talent At Oh Yeah Music Centre

Four up and coming bands will take to the stage at the Oh Yeah Music Centre as part of a local showcase this Friday, December 2. 

A collaboration of the online zine Stranger Dais and local talent promoters Old Crows Promotions, Stranger Crows Hootenanny will see music fans from across the city show their support for headliner Strange New Places and bands such as Garrett Laurie ,Daisy Chain and Heart Shaped.

Also on the night, attendees will be able to support the local arts industry as Leigh Lowry, Melyssa Shannon and Lydia Leneghan are set to display their unique works as part of a mini art fair before the main event.

An online zine, Stranger Dais is keen to support creatives both locally and beyond, providing a platform where artists can speak freely and openly about their passions, showcase their art and circulate their talents.

Owners and editors of the e-zine, Megan and Jack Hopkin are delighted to be able to take their online stage to that of the famous Oh Yeah Music Centre. 

“The Stranger Crows Hootenanny is our way of celebrating the vast array of talent right here on Northern Ireland’s doorstep,” said Megan, adding: “We value eclecticism and supplying a platform for artists and creatives of all walks of life.”

Headlining the event is Belfast-based folk punk and power pop band, Strange New Places, a queerpunk five-piece, who sing about gender, sexuality and life under capitalism. 

They will be supported by Garrett Laurie a dreamy, pop-infused alternative rock singer-songwriter from Belfast whose latest EP, which was released this September,  ‘Can I Play Too, Or Is It Just For Boys’ explores topics from queer identity to mental health, and The Daisy Chain, which showcases Rhys Mayes’ uncomplicated and deliberately crude approach to songwriting in the form of short, simple Psychedelic Pop songs, influenced by The Carter Family, Dolly Mixture, and Norma Tanega.

Also performing on the night will be Belfast-based dreamy pop band Heart Shaped, led by Texas-bred songwriter Kendall Bousquet whose latest single, No Contact has been long-listed at the NI Music Prize for Single of the Year.

Events promoter Michael Smyth from Old Crows Promotions said the event is the perfect opportunity to create an open space to showcase local talent and help people discover new artists.

“Collaboration across grass roots independent arts is at the heart of what Stranger Crows Hootenannay is all about,” he said, adding: “Bringing together a wide range of musical genres and mixing that with some of the best artists. Creating a safe, open space to share in everyone talents and rock around the Christmas Tree at the same time.”

Stranger Crows Hootenany kicks off at 7pm, Friday, December 2 at the Oh Yeah Music Centre. Tickets for the event are £7 and are available from Eventbrite (http://bit.ly/3OHIPkQ).


Festivities to Take Place in Lisburn City Centre from 1st to 22nd December


29 November 2022 Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council has announced that a series of exciting festive events for all the family will take place in Lisburn City Centre from 1st to 22nd December.

Pictured l to r are Christmas character Captain America with Alderman Allan Ewart MBE Development Committee Chairman at Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council and Harley Quinn

Alderman Allan Ewart MBE, Development Committee Chairman, says, “We’re delighted to welcome visitors to experience Christmas events in Lisburn City Centre this festive season.

“This city has everything. From seasonal fayre to unique gifts and sensational light shows, there’s magic to be discovered around every corner.  Our Christmas celebration events feature something for all the family.

“The exciting programme includes everything from sensory late-night shopping and a festive roller disco, to a Christmas tea dance, a ladies’ night, and rocking around the Christmas tree with DJ David Lamont. We invite adults and children alike to come celebrate with us in Lisburn & Castlereagh this Christmas.”

The first event is inclusive Sensory Late-Night Shopping, which will take place from 6pm to 8.30pm on Thursday 1st December. This will offer families the opportunity to view the light attractions with quieter music and fewer lights switched on. Visitors will welcome Sophie the Sensory Playbus and another Soft Area Playbus to Market Square between 6pm and 8pm.

The age limit for Sophie the Sensory Playbus is 6, however, parents are welcome to bring any child along who may enjoy the bus. The second Soft Area Playbus is suitable for children aged from 2 to 10 years.

Santa will be in Castle Gardens on the evenings of 1st, 2nd, 8th and 9th December if you would like to take the opportunity to visit him as part of the Christmas Garden Light Trail and take a family photo.

A festive Roller Disco will take place in Market Square from 4pm to 9pm on Friday 2nd December and Friday 9th December. Adults and children alike are welcome to come skate the night away at the festive rink.

You can borrow skates on site or bring your own if preferred. To register for tickets, please visit Eventbrite:  https://bit.ly/LCCCEvents

A free Christmas Tea Dance with Housty will take place from 2pm to 4pm on Saturday 3rd December. Visitors are invited to put their best foot forward and get involved in the festive fun. No registration is required for this event.

A Ladies’ Night will take place in the Marquee from 6.30pm to 9.30pm on Wednesday 8th December, with live demos on stage from 7pm. Suitable for adults, this event will provide ladies with tips for applying make-up, updating their winter wardrobe and making the most of what they already have with the help of one or two sneaky additions!

Participating in the event will be Evolve by Samara, The Sanctuary, Lisburn, International Beauty, Jonzara, The Tan Brush, Specsavers, Green Angel Skin Care and Sew Ready. To register for Tickets, visit Eventbrite:  https://bit.ly/LCCCEvents

You never know who you’ll bump into when Christmas shopping in Lisburn City Centre! Visitors on Thursday 8th December might encounter Buddy the Elf and The Grinch as they roam Market Square and Bow Street from 3:30pm to 5:30pm.

The classic Christmas movie, Elf, will be live on the Big Screen in Market Square from 4.30pm to 6pm on Thursday 16th December. Visitors are invited to bring blankets and cosy up for the viewing.

Visitors are also welcome to Rock Around the Christmas Tree from 4pm to 7pm on Thursday 22nd December, when Market Square will be transformed into a family friendly dance party with DJ David Lamont from Lisburn’s 98FM and a host of Christmas characters.

You’re also welcome to come along and enjoy the Lisburn Light Festival this festive season. You can take in the illuminating captivating light installations at various locations across the city until 22nd December, and don’t forget to visit the spectacular Christmas Garden Light Trail in Castle Gardens, open from 4pm to 8pm daily from 28th November until 22nd December.

To find out more about the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council and Lisburn Light Festival, visit: https://www.lisburncastlereagh.gov.uk/christmas-programme-2022

Have yourself a Derry little Christmas

A host of fun-filled festive events in the Walled City


November 28: Go to the top of the nice list this year by treating your loved ones to one of Derry~Londonderry’s Christmas events.


Ranging from pantos to artisan craft and food fairs, there is a wide range of great value family-friendly events taking place throughout the Walled City this festive season.


With amazing places to stay and a vibrant bar and restaurant scene, why not make it a short break and have yourself a Derry little Christmas.


Visit Derry has compiled a list of events to give you a flavour of what’s planned for this festive season.


December 1 – January 2
Cinderella, Millennium Forum


  • Come and have a ball at the biggest panto in the North West! Enjoy this fun-filled panto, starring Conal Gallen as Buttons, and have a truly magical family experience this Christmas in the ultimate rags-to-riches tale of Cinderella. The signed performance will take place on Thursday December 8 at 7pm, whereas the relaxed performance/dementia friendly performance will be held on Saturday December 10 at 2pm and the captioned performance will be on Sunday December 18 at 2pm. Visit


December 1 to 22

St Columb’s Magic Kingdom, St Columb’s Park


  • Enjoy a magical light trail through the enchanting grounds of St Columb’s Park. A magical world awaits all the family in the heart of the city this festive season at St Columb’s Magic Kingdom. Take in the spectacle of illuminations, see Santa, Mrs. Claus, and The Grinch, toast your own marshmallows, and shop for gifts with local food and craft traders from across the Nort West. Visit www.visitderry.com/whats-on/st-columbs-magic-kingdom-p813531


December 4
Shirah of Bethlehem, Playhouse Theatre

  • It’s Christmas Eve in Bethlehem. But of course, the people don’t know their little town will soon become a sacred place. Shirah of Bethlehem does what no other retelling of the Nativity has attempted: it stars a girl! Think of Amahl and the Night Visitors, The Little Drummer Boy, The Littlest Angel — even the animals in the stable and Joseph’s donkey have speaking parts. Mary is the only female. But what if the one who led the shepherds to the manger was a girl? Enter Shirah. Shirah’s story comes alive through the exuberant music of Motown hit-maker Elliott Willensky and the lyrics and narrative written by bestselling author Mary Pat Kelly. Visit www.visitderry.com/whats-on/the-playhouse-theatre-shirah-of-bethlehem-p812641

December 7
A Celebration of Saint Columba, St Columb’s Hall

  • This special event is a home-coming for world-renowned Derry-born conductor, Darren Hargan who founded Le Foyer des Artistes orchestra. Handel’s Water Music was written in response to a request by King George I for a concert on the River Thames. In Derry, a city with an ancient maritime history, it’s the perfect choice to open the residency of Le Foyer des Artistes at St Columb’s Hall. This debut concert, features some of the world’s most outstanding musicians led by internationally renowned baroque violinist, Bojan Čičić. And for this special performance Le Foyer des Artistes will be joined by some of Ireland’s finest singers including internationally acclaimed soprano, Claudia Boyle. Visit A Celebration of Saint Columba – Le Foyer (lefoyerdesartistes.com)


December 16 to 19

Christmas Winterland Market, Guildhall Square


  • A series of unique handmade crafts, mouth-watering local artisan foods, and tasty treats will be offered at this Christmas market nestled in Guildhall Square from Friday 16th to Sunday 18th December. The Christmas Winterland Market will feature artisan traders from the craft and food sectors offering a variety of Christmas gifts and foods, making it a great place to get into the festive spirit. Visit www.visitderry.com/whats-on/christmas-winterland-market-p812211


December 17
Allegri & Orchestra North West, The Snowman, The Guildhall

  • Allegri Ladies Choir will join forces with Orchestra North West in the Guildhall, Derry to perform a beautiful programme of music. The show will include Howard Blake timeless orchestral work ‘The Snowman’ as well as popular pieces such as Troïka, Gaudete and some original takes on a few festive tunes which you will know and love. Come share in the excitement of the festive season and experience a sprinkle of Christmas musical magic. Visit www.visitderry.com/whats-on/the-snowman-and-other-christmas-classics-p813511

For great places to eat, drink and visit as well as great value international hotels, B&Bs, guesthouses and self-catering accommodation to stay in Derry, visit www.visitderry.com.

Motorcycle Plus Show Unveils Big Name Dealers Who Will Be There

February event will have top motorcycle firms backing the February show

The Motorcycle Plus Show has unveiled some of the top motorcycle dealers that will be present at the landmark event at Eikon Centre, Lisburn, on February 4-5, 2023.

360 Events, who are organising the packed weekend of motorsport, said they were delighted that some of the biggest motorcycle dealers in Northern Ireland have confirmed that they will be there.

Planned as a curtain raiser for the start of the motorcycling season for the year ahead the show will attract fans of both on and off-road competitions as well as bike enthusiasts across the country.

“Hurst Yamaha will have their 2023 range of road and off-road motorcycles on display and available to purchase,” explained Kenny Gardener of 360 Events. “Hurst BMW have also signed up and again will have the full range of new BMWs on display.

“As well as this HTM will be there with the road and off-road Husquvarna and GasGas Machines. Along with other dealers, we have Crossan Motorcycles in attendance with their comprehensive range of Helmets and gear etc. including specialised bikes.”

As well as the dealers already signed up some of the top teams from both the road and off-road sports and will provide information on their activities for the 2023 season ahead.

Motorcycle sport governing bodies along with some of the clubs that promote some of the biggest motorcycle events in Ireland will be in attendance to promote their events.

It has also been revealed today that three charities will be supported at the show.

“We can confirm that Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council’s Mayoral charity, Helping Hand for the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children will be one of the beneficiaries of the biggest motorcycle event in four years.”

Kenny Gardner said they were delighted to be able to say that local charities will benefit from the Motorcycle Plus Show.

“The local charities we will be supporting are the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s Mayor designated charity, Helping Hand, the Atlas Women’s Centre in Lisburn and St John Ambulance service, Portadown Branch, which provides excellent medical cover at motorsport events throughout Northern Ireland.”

360 Events is a new group of motorcycling and motorsport enthusiasts and volunteers with many years of experience as competitors and officials in all branches of the sport.

Kenny, one of the organisers from 360 Events, explained the Motorcycle Plus Show has been specifically designed for motorsports enthusiasts.

“Primarily, we will be using the show to showcase all forms of motorsport and motorcycling, if it has an engine and wheels, we intend it to be there,” he said.

“Attractions will also include rider appearances, interviews, Q&A sessions, and not just established stars, but also up and coming riders from on and off-road disciplines who will become household names in the future,” he said. 

“As an innovation, there will be advice from experts on securing and keeping sponsors, Social Media use and lifestyle advice which will be useful for young competitors from all disciplines.

“This is in line with our stated aim of helping to establish a Motorsport Academy for all forms of motorsport to make sure our rising stars get the best advice and guidance possible on their career path.

“Race Teams will be there with their 2023 line ups, both on and off-road, 2023 street bike models, accessories, gear, and lots more so plenty for everyone to see and do.

“Governing bodies will be in attendance with advice and guidance on their various Championships, how to start racing and competing, and of course officiating and marshalling, as well as various Clubs promoting their own events, alongside trade and dealer stands.” 

Previously the show was held for a number of years under different guises starting with the Enkalon Club in the Antrim Forum and finally with Nutt Promotions in the Eikon Centre in 2019. 

The Motorcycle Plus Show will take place at Eikon Centre in Lisburn on February 4-5, 2023. For tickets go to www.motorcycleplusshow.co.uk

All online bookings will be entered into a free raffle to win prizes such as a small motorbike, discounted ferry bookings and other prizes.

More details on the prizes will be confirmed but there are vouchers to the value of £1000, £300, £100, 4 ball golf voucher, and money off ferry travel vouchers to be had from Hurst, Crossan’s, Norman Watt Motorcycles, Edenmore Golf Club and Nutt Travel.

 “These are exciting times and another great reason to purchase tickets as Christmas presents for your biking loved ones and be in with a chance of picking up some excellent prizes,” Kenny concluded.

10 things to do in Northern Ireland 

Here are ten exciting things taking place 28th November – 4th December 2022


  1. Hillsborough Castle and Gardens Light Trail, Hillsborough, County Down, 1st December 1st Gather friends and family for an after dark illuminated trail experience like no other. You’ll be blown away as over a million twinkling lights and festive sounds fill the grounds of the historic gardens, not to mention the giant baubles, tunnels of light and fire garden. There’ll be no shortage of talented independent food vendors present so make sure to leave room for some delicious treats.
  2. Todd’s Leap Christmas Experience, Ballygawley, County Tyrone, 1st 22nd December (on selected dates see website). Bring your little ones to Todd’s Leap this Christmas where Santa’s mischievous little elves are wreaking havoc. While visiting this winter wonderland, the children can write and post a letter to the man himself, help the elves in the workshop and even meet Mr & Mrs Claus before choosing a present to go home with.
  3. Cinderella, Derry~Londonderry, 1st December – 2nd Don’t miss the timeless fairytale Cinderella at the Millennium Forum, Derry~Londonderry. As part of their inclusive programme, there’ll be sign language performance options as well as relaxed/dementia friendly options to ensure everyone can enjoy this festive favourite.
  4. Aladdin Panto, Belfast, 25th November – 31st There’s no adventure quite like it. Aladdin in The Waterfront Hall promises to be a show like no other. Will he and Princess Jasmine end up happily ever after? Get ready to go on a journey as you and your loved ones experience one of the greatest stories ever told with a stellar cast and production.
  5. Christmas at Marble Arch Caves, Florencecourt, County Fermanagh, 3rd – 5th There are a selection of events in the unique location of the UNESCO Global Geopark, including Foraging, Christmas Wreath Making and a Christmas Elf Escape through the woodland. Enjoy a fabulous 10% off your purchases throughout the weekend in their gift shop and relax in their Café with some homemade Christmas treats.
  6. Festive Afternoon Tea at Titanic Belfast, Belfast, 4th, 11th & 18th Step back in time to a period of luxury, elegance and five-star service with Titanic Belfast’s special Festive Afternoon Tea. Set in the opulent surroundings of the Titanic Suite featuring the stunning Grand Staircase and live jazz music, the Festive Afternoon Tea is an experience not to be missed.
  7. Christmas Fair at The Argory, Moy, County Armagh, 3rd – 4th December. The festive period is not complete without a visit to the annual Christmas Fair at The Argory. Featuring a variety of local craft, food and drink stalls, as well as festive traditional entertainment. Soak up the wonderful atmosphere and see the house decorated for Christmas. Families will also have the chance to meet Santa and his elves in the grotto.
  8. Festive Afternoon Tea at Castle Coole, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, 3rd & 10th Experience festive afternoon tea at Castle Coole, relaxing by the open fire and taking in a tour of the National Trust mansion. There is also a children’s Christmas baking and decorating workshop.
  9. Christmas Artisan Market at Castle Ward, Strangford, County Down, 2nd – 4th Arrive in the theatre space and stable yard where you will find a handpicked selection of local designers/makers and food vendors showcasing their work and locally produced products. The stable yard will be dressed in Georgian style with Christmas lights, accompanied by living history actors telling you the stories of those who called Castle Ward home during the 18th century.
  10. Walled City Market at Christmas, Derry~Londonderry, 3rd December and 16th – 18th Unwrap the magic of Christmas this year with a trip to the Walled City Markets this December. Nestled in the Guildhall Square, the markets will offer unique handmade crafts, mouth-watering local artisan food and scrumptious, tasty treats.


Booking is essential for most activities. Book in advance to avoid disappointment. Subject to availability.


For more information on what’s on or to plan a short break in Northern Ireland, visit https://discovernorthernireland.com/christmas 

Festive Stars Afternoon Tea

Back by popular demand! Join Armagh Observatory and Planetarium for its popular Christmas show, ‘Mystery of the Christmas Star’ this December and explore the science behind the star of Bethlehem. 


Armagh City Hotel Festive Stars and Afternoon Tea

Available Tuesday to Friday in December, come along and experience the 2pm show and then head off for a festive afternoon tea in the Armagh City Hotel.


This offer is available for individual and group bookings. Simply contact the Armagh City Hotel to make your booking and join in the festive fun. 


Offer available 1st – 23rd December. Mystery of the Christmas star starts promptly at 2pm. Bookings to be made through Armagh City hotel only. 



YMCA World General Secretary on hand as new strategy launched

From left Brian Murtagh, YMCA’s World General Secretary, Carlos Sanvee and Jez Du Puy and Rebecca Byass at the launch of the new strategic plan for YMCA Ireland at Greenhill YMCA, Newcastle.

A sense of belonging local, national and global – the world needs the YMCA more than ever

YMCA’s World General Secretary, Carlos Sanvee, welcomed the new strategic plan for YMCA Ireland that will be based on four values of welcome, opportunity, wellbeing and peace and justice, at a series of events across Ireland with the message that the ‘world needs the YMCA more than ever’.

At events in Lurgan, Newcastle, and Dublin Mr Sanvee heard from young people who were key in developing the new strategy, which is founded on the World Movement Vision 2030 that foresees how the youth organisation will grow and develop in the decade ahead.

The plan outlines YMCA Ireland’s vision as a ‘world where young people, their families and community prosper in body, mind and spirit’,

John Peacock, National Director of YMCA Ireland said the organisation’s continuing vision of a world where young people, their families and communities flourish in body, mind and spirit was key to the plan that was developed with extensive consultation.

“We have spent the last two years consulting with young people, staff and voluntary trustees to agree on a vision, mission and values that will direct our work going forward,” he explained. 

“We have now developed a strategic plan that will put these into action to have an impact on the lives of young people, their families and communities”.

YMCA Ireland also worked with the World YMCA to make sure that the mission is in line with Vision 2030, the agreed vision of the YMCA global movement.

The presence of Mr Sanvee at the gathering was an endorsement of the plan, which looks to the local, national and global work of the YMCA across the world and connecting young people across the island.

The World National Secretary also attended the AGM of YMCA Ireland in addition to workshops and activities with young people in Lurgan and Greenhill YMCA Newcastle.

Cathal McCann, a young leader from YMCA Newcastle wrote for the strategic plan. 

“The YMCA has changed my life for the better, they supported me through the rain and helped me see the rainbow,” he said.

“YMCA are life changers and game changers for young people. I am excited for what the future holds for me in this amazing organisation.”

The World General Secretary said that the organisation is vital in an increasingly fragmented society.

“The world needs the YMCA more than ever,” said Mr Sanvee, adding: “Despite the threat of disconnection, YMCAs have connected and collaborated in unprecedented ways. We have adapted, connected and reset globally.

“Our vision, mission and goals have been co-created for greater global impact. Let’s step up, and into our future. Let’s allow young people to shape it. Now is the time for one vision. It’s time for our Vision 2030.”

Festive Christmas Market featuring over 20 local businesses set to take over Mallusk Enterprise Park on December 1

Antrim business Hoddmimirs Wood Craft join the Mallusk Enterprise Park team to launch the Mallusk Christmas Market. Designed to support over 20 local businesses and 3 charities the Market takes place on 1 December 2022 from 5pm to 8pm

An indoor market of over 20 stalls is set to transform the local enterprise park at Mallusk with some yuletide cheer on Thursday 1 December, offering visitors the chance to pick up presents and festive fare and enjoy an evening out supporting the business community in the countdown to Christmas.

Hosted and supported by Local Enterprise Agency – Mallusk Enterprise Park, as part of their 30th birthday celebrations, the Christmas Market affords an opportunity for local enterprises to showcase their businesses and wares to the public.

The Market will see over 20 local independent businesses offering products ranging from crafts and novelties to Christmas gift ideas, with an outdoor food stall serving hot pizzas and the team at the enterprise park providing festive nibbles & drinks. There will also be live music by tenant of Mallusk Enterprise Park – Audio Level DJ store and folk band The Rogues.

A free Christmas Grotto experience is being delivered to 90 local kids on the night and 3 charities are being supported – from a raffle in aid of NI Children’s Hospice to the building of a festive food mountain of donations for Newtownabbey Food Bank and a mountain of toy donations for Cash for Kids NI – visitors and traders are being asked to play their part in helping the worthy causes by bringing donations on the night or sponsoring raffle prizes.

The Market will opens it’s doors at 5pm and kick off in artistic style with the announcement of the winners and runners up to a Children’s Art Competition for primary school kids in the local area – the original artworks of favourite local businesses and social enterprises will be on show, gallery style, in the brand new Enterprise Hub at the business park. 

CEO of Mallusk Enterprise Park, Emma Garrett said:

“We are very much looking forward to holding the inaugural Mallusk Christmas Market in the Enterprise Park. This event will kick off a year of celebrations to mark our landmark 30th Birthday.  Since 1992 we have strived to promote, support and develop enterprise and wealth creation within our local community through free advice, training and mentoring to individuals and small / micro businesses.  We look forward to welcoming members of the local community into the Park to show them the facilities we have on offer whilst they shop small and local with our wide range of market traders.”

Iain Patterson, Chairman Mallusk Enterprise Park added: “The team at Mallusk Enterprise Park have been working hard behind the scenes to make this event special in every way.  The Enterprise Park is very much part of the community in Newtownabbey; helping over 100 people every year to establish their own business and assisting many more to survive and even thrive during the last few challenging years of Covid.  We have been heartened by the kind and generous donations of local businesses to the raffle and the event itself.”

The Mallusk Enterprise Christmas Market takes place on Thursday 1 December from 5pm to 8pm, is free to attend and a list of traders and the entertainment line up can be found online at: at www.mallusk.org/events. The Santa’s Grotto experience is fully booked but a waiting list is in operation and can be joined via eventbrite.