Time To Really Support NI’s Economically Inactive

New NIEESS support service will begin this journey

By Shirelle McIvor, Programme Manager of Explore Enterprise Support Service

The term economically inactive has been bandied about by commentators and reporters every time the latest employment figures are announced. In the wake of the pandemic, it has been a topic that has been explored, but it mainly focused on those who have taken early retirement. 

Young people, in particular, have been practically invisible in the discussions. As have those that have a desire to become entrepreneurs or self-employed.

With the Northern Ireland Explore Enterprise Support Service, we aim to not only end that but to offer practical, focused support. It has been designed as a bespoke, tailored service.

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency 2022 Labour Market Report says that the ‘economically non-responsive’ made up 28.3% of the 16-64 year-old population. That means more than a quarter of the eligible working population. That is a huge part of the population not working or looking for work.

The Explore Enterprise Support Service is not just a response to this. It is recognising the issue. It is about recognising that behind every statistic, every number bandied about in numerous column inches, there is an individual. An individual that has some vision of their future.

Between now and March 31st 2025 support for those individuals will amount to 1,200 people receiving the right package of mentoring and advice.

Similar programmes have been undertaken before, and there is evidence that they work. However, when European funding ended we needed a new way to move forward.

This project has received £1.8m from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and is set to target around 1,200 individuals aged 16 and above.

The service, delivered by the 27 Local Enterprise Agencies and the Prince’s Trust, will improve enterprise, interpersonal, and employability skills of those taking part, helping them improve their marketability as a candidate and ultimately become self-employed or find a job.

However, in terms of the target market, it is economically inactive individuals we all know that is going to be a difficult market. It will be challenging to get the word out to those people who fall into that category, but they are the most in need of the services that we provide.

When any of those individuals come to either the Prince’s Trust and speak to the volunteers there or business advisors or see the local enterprise agencies, the first thing that we want to do is to complete a specialist needs assessment on them to find out where they are, where they want to be and most importantly find out what barriers that they have that are stopping them from getting where they want to be. In a lot of cases, the perceived barriers there might not actually be a barrier in their case.

That is why we are not pursuing a one-size fits all approach. Each participant will have a tailored development plan, with actions that we will complete with the individual.

Northern Ireland has a long history of entrepreneurship and creativity. Even today the UK list of leading entrepreneurs is populated by many from Northern Ireland.

We are not aiming at propelling 1,200 people onto those listings – although that would be an added bonus. What we are aiming to do is equip 1,200 people with the skills and confidence to develop their own business idea, and hopefully a path to self-employment.

We will take each business idea and examine it with the individual. Have they got the skills and knowledge to take it forward? If not we can work with them through issues that may have put them off. Financial, legal and marketing are just some of the words that can frighten people. We aim to demystify these processes and assess what is right for that person.

Of course, that business idea may change during the assessment. Equally many will go through the process and decide that they want to return to the job market. 

To help in looking for employment we can look at their CV, develop action plans for them going forward in terms of their employment, look at what a job may be and what they’re good at. We recognise that for many people low confidence is what’s preventing them from ever getting a job so we want to tackle that. 

With the 1,200 people, we aim to provide wrap-around support, and we do not aim to shoehorn them into a path that does not suit them.

We’re very excited about the new service and how it puts the citizen at the centre of a range of supports connecting them with the right support at the right time.

In doing so, we feel our partnership with Prince’s Trust NI will ensure people throughout Northern Ireland experiencing the barriers of economic inactivity will have the opportunity to make personal and positive strides in their lives.

By encouraging out-of-work individuals to develop themselves both personally and professionally, the aim of the service ultimately is to boost the economy by helping participants become economically active.

NIEESS is aimed at individuals who have been out of employment for a minimum of four weeks and those who are currently unable to start a new position due to everything from a lack of transferable skills to an inability to engage with the job market due to personal circumstances.

The service delivery partners will identify mentors and trainers who will be on-hand for the service users to offer a participant centric approach meaning everyone who signs up will be given a tailored package of support which will provide holistic support targeted to their individual needs and areas where people require the most assistance.

Offers of the week from Discover Northern Ireland

The Merchant Hotel, Belfast, County Antrim

Embrace a bit of luxury this autumn and enjoy an overnight stay with a bottle of prosecco in your room on arrival! Located in the heart of the buzzing Cathedral Quarter there’s plenty of culture on offer with The Belfast International Arts Festival in full swing. That’s if you can tear yourself away from the opulence of your surroundings. B&B From £239 per room based on two people sharing. Visit https://www.themerchanthotel.com/  for more information.

Brooke-Lodge Guesthouse, Magherafelt, County Londonderry

This lovely four-star guest house in the charming Mid Ulster town, is the perfect spot to explore the nearby charms of Antrim Castle Gardens, the Seamus Heaney Homeplace or the splendid Sperrins. The newly renovated bedrooms come fully equipped with tea and coffee making facilities. B&B starts from £85 per room per night based on two people sharing. From £160 based on two people sharing including a £30 dinner voucher. Visit https://brooke-lodge.co.uk/  for more information.

The Valley Hotel, Fivemiletown, County Tyrone

This small, contemporary family run hotel is the gateway to the famous Fermanagh Lakelands, a perfect base to explore many of the tourist attractions such as Cuilcagh, The Stairway to Heaven, Marble Arch Caves, Belleek Pottery, and the award-winning Ulster American Folk Park. You can also embrace the outdoors with golfing, fishing, cycling and pony trekking, all available locally. £160 B&B based on two people sharing, includes a £30 dinner voucher. Visit https://thevalleyhotel.com for more information.

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/

10 things to do in Northern Ireland

Here are ten exciting things to do 23-29 October

  1. Derry Halloween Festival, Derry~Londonderry, County Londonderry 28-29 October. Be part of Europe’s largest Halloween Festival. The Walled city welcomes the spirits for this four-day spectacular like no other. Arguably the official home of Halloween, there are ghastly offerings galore for big and small! The little horrors can be spellbound with stories in the Witch’s Lair and a junior disco, there really is fantastic fun for everyone.
  1. Hallowe’een Ghost Tour of Armagh, Armagh, County Armagh, 27-29 October. This one-hour walking trail will be a mix of gruesome tales from bygones days with a few up-to-date surprises! This tour is suitable for 13+ years of age but those up to age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
  2. Electric Escape, Belcoo, County Fermanagh, throughout October. Saddle-up at Corralea Adventure Centre and get off the beaten track on a top your top-of-the range electric mountain bike. This guided exploration of the unspoilt wilderness of West Fermanagh will include crossing old bog roads and forest tracks, discovering hidden megalithic tombs as you go. Stop for some traditional boxty before the trip home. Check website for availability.
  3. Legends from Lecale’s Spectacular Coast, Ardglass, County Down, 28 October. Explore this landscape rich in folklore and its connections with Saint Patrick in a guided cliff top walk. Listen to tales of Vikings, shipwrecks, and smuggling. Visit a holy well and enjoy a homemade picnic lunch from Margaret’s Cottage. Check website for availability.
  4. Castlederg Apple Fair, Castlederg, County Tyrone, 27 October. This event has been running on the last Friday of October in County Tyrone’s town for the past 100 years. Traditional apple sellers will be in town from early morning along with a range of stalls full of scrumptious Halloween delights. A nice day out for all the family!
  1. Ballyburren Halloween Spook & Pumpkin Pick Event, Ballynahinch, County Down, 28-29 October. Prepare to be mesmerised by a journey through this sinister woodland trail, cloaked in the darkness of the night. But beware! Amidst the eerie mist and haunting shadows, there’ll be surprises! Delve into the art of potion making, unleash your inner sorcerer as you craft your very own magical wand. Then it’s time to find your perfect pumpkin, as goblins and ghosts will play their tricks, trying to distract you from your mission.
  1. Death, Tragedy & Betrayal: The Darker Side of Clifton Street Cemetery, Belfast, County Antrim, 28-29 October. Opened in 1797 Death, Tragedy & Betrayal focuses on the ‘darker side’ of the cemetery’s history. Hear all about everything from the infamous body snatchers which plagued the cemetery in its opening decades and the drastic actions taken to curb this lucrative trade, to the burial of murder victims, hangings, and other tragic deaths!
  2. Harvest Festival of Colour, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, 28-29 October. Come along to the historic Florence Court Estate and be part of this fun filled festival of food and folklore. There’ll be traditional crafts, storytelling sessions, cooking demonstrations and a new Food Fair. Enjoy live music from the Fermanagh Concert Band and local traditional group, Blue Orchard.
  3. All Hallows’ Eve at Castle Ward, Downpatrick, County Down, 28 October. There is a spook-tacular array of treats on offer for the whole family. Add an extra touch of magic to your All Hallows Eve experience with a horse and carriage ride along the mystical shore. Head into the theatre for a creative session of Halloween crafts and dress up, where you can fashion your own witch’s wand. For an extra dose of Halloween wonder, make your way to Hawks NI, where an enthralling live hawk handling demonstration awaits, adding a feathered flair to this unforgettable day of ancient Irish mythology and festive family fun.
  4. Stargazing Evening, Armagh, County Armagh, 27 October. Come join a team of experts who will help you navigate the night sky using the Planetarium’s telescopes (weather depending) along with a dome show in the digital theatre and an astronomer talk running from 6pm – 9pm.


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/blog/read/2023/04/bank-holiday-ideas-for-families-b262



Your wish is our command this Christmas at Armagh’s Market Place Theatre, as we whisk you away on a high-flying adventure with the magical and breath-taking pantomime, ‘Aladdin’.

Join a fabulous cast of madcap characters for a thrilling carpet ride with plenty of twists and turns, cheers and boos in a tale of love against the odds. Will the evil Abanazar destroy Aladdin’s dreams to get rich and marry Princess Jasmine? Or will the Genie of the Lamp grant Aladdin three wishes and save the day? And will Widow Twanky ever find a man? Find out on this globe-trotting, action-packed escapade for the whole family.

Jam-packed with dazzling costumes, stunning sets, mischievous fun and thrilling musical numbers all wrapped up in an adventure unlike any you will have ever witnessed before… oh, yes it is!!

‘Aladdin’ promises an unforgettably festive experience coupled with The Market Place Theatre’s renowned reputation for high quality, professional pantomimes that are up there with the best.

‘Aladdin’ will run from Saturday 2 to Sunday 24 December, with a range of times to suit all busy schedules! Prices range from £14 to £18.50. Tickets are flying out the door, so hurry to book yours now!

To book your tickets for the most exciting pantomime of the season, phone the Box Office now on 03300 561 025, or book online at www.visitarmagh.com/marketplacetheatre.. The house is sure to be packed to the rafters for this festive hit! There will be BSL signed, captioned and relaxed performances during the run. Please contact the Box Office for full details.

To keep up-to-date with the latest news at the Market Place Theatre, you can follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/marketplacearmagh) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/mptarmagh) where you will find all the latest information, special offers and video previews.

Healthy Mind Coach Warns Managing Mental Health & Wellbeing Must Be A Priority When Dealing With Workplace Stress

Stress at work is a common issue, but it doesn’t mean that you just have to shove it under the carpet. Stress can make us feel tired, tense, and overwhelmed, stimulating physical and negative emotional reactions that can change our normal behaviour, such as making us snappy or intolerant. 

According to Sam Barr of Healthy Mind Coaching and Training stress triggers our ‘fight, flight, or freeze’ (stress response), but our bodies are not designed to maintain any of these states for long. 

“Stress therefore increases the risk of damaging our long-term health, from issues which can be relatively benign like getting more colds or flus, to more serious immune system compromises and issues such as IBS, heart disease or metabolic syndrome.

Unfortunately, finding a low-stress job is difficult if not going on impossible, so a more realistic approach is to adopt coping strategies to reduce your stress levels and take proactive measures to reduce the risk of incurring stress.”

Sam’s company Healthy Mind Coaching and Training offers a range of services for individuals and workplaces, but often the free 20-minute one-to-one introduction consultation is when the issues affecting individuals can be identified and assessed to see whether further sessions are required and that we are the right help and match for that individual or workplace.

He explained: “The reality is when people are experiencing severe and/or debilitating workplace stress they more often than not don’t consider the importance of looking after their own, their colleagues’ or staff’s wellbeing and mental health.

“Most people can handle certain amounts of stress, but when that stress begins to impact their health that’s when they need to step back and do something about it.

“Whether it’s someone who is a Director, senior manager or an individual who is facing a life-changing decision often we can help identify issues and suggest changes in thoughts, feelings or behaviours,” Sam said. 

Sam warned that often delaying seeking help can become a barrier for people – and organisations for their staff.

“Most people do know that they have an issue with their mental health and wellbeing, they just delay taking action” he explained.”

“Too often they come up with excuses, such as they don’t have the time or resources. They do have or find the time to get their car fixed or their boiler repaired when they are broken, and I would encourage them to change their mindset from ‘I can’t find the time’ to ‘I have to do it’. 

“By asking themselves ‘What if I don’t get help, where will this end?’ they would be more likely not to make excuses or procrastinate and just go get the help they need and we can provide that help for them.”

Healthy Mind Coaching and Training is a provider of Mental & emotional wellbeing, Positive Psychology-Mindset coaching & CBT, Professional training workshops and courses in personal, professional development and Workplace mental wellbeing.

“There are so many labels around mental wellbeing but we focus on enabling people to find themselves, grow, flourish, excel and realise their potentials, empowering themselves and achieving positive results in their lives, through a positive change mindset,” said Sam. 

“The key thing is to take the first step. No matter what your reasons are, or whatever has prompted you to get help, you can change your situation.”

Here are Sam’s top tips for managing workplace stress and what you should do to alleviate the impact on your wellbeing and mental health:

  1. Create a pre-work ritual

Having a disorganised morning which can include getting kids ready for school, dealing with rush hour traffic, or skipping breakfast, can make you arrive at work with your stress levels already high. 

When you start your day with planning and good nutrition, you may find that you are better able to cope with work-related stresses. 

  1. Talk to your manager about your workload

Discuss your workload with your manager, if you have one. Try setting realistic targets and talk about how you can solve the issues you’re having.

  1. Be realistic

You don’t have to be perfect all the time. You might find that you’re being more critical of your own work than you need to be. Work within your limitations and try to be kind to yourself.

  1. Try to develop good relationships with your colleagues

Connecting with people you work with can help build up a network of support. Having connections with co-workers can also make work feel more enjoyable.

  1. Try to balance your time and avoid multitasking

You might be doing too much at once, so choose ‘chunking’ (one task at a time) over multitasking. Multitasking can make the quality of your work suffer, make activities take longer, and leave you feeling exhausted from splitting your focus or spinning to many plates. 

  1. Reward yourself for achievements

Only focusing on the work you need to do next rather than the work you have completed can lead to you overlooking your accomplishments and even make you run the risk of developing imposter syndrome. Rather, reward yourself for your completed tasks, like taking a reading break, chatting with co-workers, or spending time outside.

  1. Develop end-of-day habits

Finish your working day by tidying your workspace or making a to-do list for tomorrow. This can help you switch off from work, especially if you’re working from home.

  1. Take some time off

Make use of some of the holidays you’re entitled to: a few days off, a long weekend, or a week abroad can help you feel refreshed and gain some perspective and distance from your work, which can even increase your productivity in the long run.

  1. Focus on your life outside work. 

Nurture relationships with people you don’t work with. Develop interests and skills that you don’t use in your job. This can help you see the difference between your personal life and your working life. Watch out for good work-life balance.

  1. Seek out support internally and externally

Find out if there is any support within your organisation – some workplaces have employee assistance programmes (EAPs) which offer free advice and counselling, while others have mentoring or buddy systems.

You should hopefully feel that you are able to tell someone in the workplace that you feel unsupported, whether that be a manager or someone in the human resources department.

Another route you should definitely consider is seeking out support outside of the workplace through mental & emotional wellbeing coaching or therapy. 

At Healthy Mind Coaching Sam can provide individuals or organisations with effective methods for managing negative emotions stemming from workplace stress, imposter syndrome or any other stressors, fears or worries. 

He said: “We offer one-to-one sessions designed to enable you to live a more positive lifestyle by providing strategies designed to challenge and overcome negative thoughts, unhelpful feelings and behaviours. 

“All prospective clients are offered a free 20 minute consultation to see how we can work with you to achieve your goals, objectives, ambitions and aspirations or help you to resolve some unresolved issues.”

Learn more about Healthy Mind Coaching and Training by calling Sam today on 07906 869616 or go to healthymindcoaching.co.uk 


12 Events Happening During This Year’s One World Festival

One World Festival is back for 2023. The festival which showcases how climate change affects people worldwide, especially in less wealthy areas and to make more people aware of the challenges faced by the poorest communities, returns from the 16th – 20th of October.

With a focus on Health of Our World, this year’s programme is rich with events in film, music, poetry, discussions and workshops. 

In light of how our global population has changed geographically in recent years due to conflict, famine, and climate change, it is now more important than ever to explore the issues and impacts, while also providing opportunities to create change.

Here are 12 Events happening during this year’s One World Festival that you shouldn’t miss:

Tuesday 17th October

  1. Our Circular World

Banana Block, Portview Trade Centre, Newtownards Road, Belfast, from 11.00am – 12.00pm

In a world where sustainability is a key theme in our everyday lives, Habitat for Humanity Ireland believe that working towards a circular economy is critical to creating a more sustainable world.

This event brings together a panel of stakeholders from across the sustainability sector in Northern Ireland for a candid conversation about the importance of investing in a circular economy for the future of our world. 

For tickets, go to https://oneworldfestivalni.com/events/our-circular-world/ 

  1. A Delegate’s View of the One Young World Summit

Oakgrove Integrated College, Derry-Londonderry at 11.00am – 12.15pm

In this talk, Queen’s University student Emer Rafferty will highlight her experience as one of more than 2,000 delegates at the One Young World Summit held in Belfast when subjects such as the climate and ecological crisis will be discussed. 

For tickets, go to https://oneworldfestivalni.com/events/a-delegates-view-of-the-one-young-world-summit/ 

  1. Leprosy? A thing of the past, or a 21st century injustice? 

Online from 12.00pm – 12.20pm

This virtual event will shine a spotlight on leprosy – a severely stigmatising ‘neglected tropical disease’ that still exists and devastates the lives, health, and wellbeing of some of the world’s most marginalised people, living in abject poverty.

Together, we will explore the solution and what part we can play in the journey to see a ‘world free of leprosy’ within our lifetime. Join us to ‘amplify the voice’ and ‘hear the stories’ of people affected by leprosy – who are often shunned, overlooked, and forgotten. Together, we will consider the disproportionate effects of climate change they face. Join us to hear stories of change and hope for the future.

For tickets, go to https://oneworldfestivalni.com/events/leprosy-a-thing-of-the-past-or-a-21st-century-injustice/ 

  1. Informal Settlements and LEDC Urban Challenges

QUB Lecture Theatre 0G.029, Geography Building Elmwood Ave., Belfast & online @ Zoom from 7.30pm – 9.00pm

Informal Settlements in LEDC cities are home to over one billion people who lack access to adequate housing. Housing conditions in these settlements impact the economic, health and education systems for wider society. They have implications for climate justice, political inclusion and gender equality. Equitable access to adequate housing lies at the heart of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

This talk will draw upon the experience and expertise of Habitat for Humanity (HFH) International in community-led development within informal settlements. It will explore the issues and challenges associated with the growth of informal settlements in LEDC cities. 

For tickets, go to https://oneworldfestivalni.com/events/informal-settlements-and-ledc-urban-challenges/ 

Wednesday 18th October

  1. Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon

Online from 10.00am – 11.00am

This event will share a new research report from the Centre for Global Education which assesses the impact of Lebanon’s four-year economic crisis on the socio-economic status of Palestinians. The report is based on field visits carried out in May, September and November 2022 to nine Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, which included consultations with UN staff and visits to camp installations, notably schools and health clinics.

For tickets, go to https://oneworldfestivalni.com/events/palestinian-refugees-in-lebanon/ 

  1. RePurpose at ReStore

Habitat ReStore, Young Street, Lisburn from 7.00pm-9.00pm

Join Habitat Ireland for an interactive workshop at ReStore Lisburn, where we will explore how recycling, reusing and repurposing help build a more sustainable world. You will get stuck in to repurposing and take your handiwork home.

RePurposing is great fun, promotes creativity and protects the planet. This event links directly with SDG12 and is one way we can act for a just, peaceful and sustainable world.

For tickets, go to https://oneworldfestivalni.com/events/repurpose-at-restore-2023/ 

  1. The Letter

A Message for Our Earth – Flowerfield Arts Centre, Portstewart from 7.00pm – 9.00pm

Join us for a screening of The Letter – A Message for Our Earth which tells the emotive story of several leaders from across the world and across a range of communities, committed to ecological and social causes who travel to discuss the encyclical letter to the world by Pope Francis.

For tickets, go to https://oneworldfestivalni.com/events/the-letter-a-message-for-our-earth/ 

  1. Forced to Flee

Law Centre NI, 2-4 Queen Street, Belfast from 7.00pm – 9.00pm

The climate crisis is forcing people to flee their homes. Extreme weather events and environmental degradation can trigger refugee displacement. The impacts of climate change can exacerbate existing tensions and adds to the potential for conflict. When people flee and cross borders they may be in need of international protection such as refugee status.

Delivered by Law Centre NI, come and join this information session to learn about refugee protection in Northern Ireland.

For tickets, go to https://oneworldfestivalni.com/events/forced-to-flee/ 

Thursday 19th October

  1. RePurpose at ReStore

Habitat ReStore, Young Street, Lisburn from 10.00am-12.00pm

Join Habitat Ireland for an interactive workshop at ReStore Lisburn, where we will explore how recycling, reusing and repurposing help build a more sustainable world. You will get stuck in to repurposing and take your handiwork home.

RePurposing is great fun, promotes creativity and protects the planet. This event links directly with SDG12 and is one way we can act for a just, peaceful and sustainable world.

For tickets, go to https://oneworldfestivalni.com/events/repurpose-at-restore-2023/ 

  1. Nitin Sawhney’s “Identity” album: immersive listening event

Sonic Arts Lab at Queen’s University Belfast from 7.00pm – 8.30pm

We live in a fast world where music is more accessible than ever, can be digested bite size, and videos have become a vital part of the music industry marketing package.

Rarely do people get mindfulness time to sit amongst friends and strangers together, and listen to an entire album uninterrupted without any visuals. We invite you to this shared immersive listening experience of a very significant new album from Nitin Sawhney “Identity”.

For tickets, go to https://oneworldfestivalni.com/events/nitin-sawhneys-identity-album-immersive-listening-event/ 

  1. Talking Climate Justice

Ballywillan Presbyterian Church, 131 Atlantic Rd., Portrush, from 8.00pm – 9.00pm

This event is an opportunity to gather with others to learn and share ideas of how we can best respond to the climate crisis both individually and as a society. We will hear the latest on the global discussions due to happen next month in Dubai at the UN climate conference and what we should be calling on our political representatives to do.

For tickets, go to https://oneworldfestivalni.com/events/talking-climate-justice/ 

Friday 20th October 

  1. Health of Our World

Accidental Theatre, Shaftesbury Square, Belfast from 7.00pm – 8.30pm

Health of Our World is a culmination of the festival week bringing together artists and artistic pieces with a focus on how climate change impacts people around the world. 

Kate McNicholl MLA, chair of All Party Group on Climate Action, will be sharing her experiences and her work. We will have music from Polar Bolero and Beyond Skin, who will share music and dance from the MARRS (Musicians Artists at Risk Resettlement Scheme). Winners of the Creative Competition will also be announced. 

In everything, One World Festival seeks to work together across all our partner agencies for a just, peaceful and sustainable world. A night not to be missed. 

For tickets, go to https://oneworldfestivalni.com/events/health-of-our-world/ 

THE BJORN IDENTITY – Feeling Like a No.1 Tour 2023

Musicon Entertainment presents Ireland’s favourite, now Internationally acclaimed ABBA tribute show, coming to Strule Arts Centre, Omagh for the very first time.

The Bjorn Identity has risen to become one of the most in-demand touring ABBA tribute bands in UK & Ireland.

Having just returned from successful tours of Europe, they are delighted to be bringing their show to Omagh. This dynamic all-live theatre show is packed full of ABBA’s greatest hits & lesser-known songs to satisfy the ‘Hole in Your Soul’: giving that something extra for the most dedicated fans of ABBA

Their impressive attention to detail in both staging and musicianship makes, this act, at its heart, THE most exciting ‘ABBA in Concert’ tribute act experienced, this side of Sweden. No doubt you will go home, feeling you’ve just experienced ABBA in the flesh! With uncanny vocals, undeniable stage presence through to Benny’s famous spinning white piano and even boasting ‘real life’ couples means; it just can’t get any closer!

Re-live the magic of ABBA and its musical legacy that continues its ‘Voyage’ rocking On and On and On – early booking is advised!

The Bjorn Identity – Feeling Like a No.1 Tour

Tickets £22.50

Box Office: 0288 224 7831

Online: struleartscentre.co.uk

Hothouse Flowers set for return to Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre

Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre is delighted to announce the return of the acclaimed Irish band, Hothouse Flowers, for a special acoustic performance on Friday, 20 October at 8pm.

With a legacy spanning four decades, Hothouse Flowers have earned recognition for their exceptional blend of rock ‘n’ roll, traditional, and soul music. This event holds special significance as it marks a decade since the band last graced the stage in the Danny Boy Auditorium.

Their recent UK tour showcased contemporary tracks from their new album, “Let’s Do This Thing,” alongside timeless classics. Notably, this year also commemorates 30 years since the release of their debut album, “People,” which remains the most successful debut album in Ireland’s history.

This acoustic evening promises an intimate musical experience. Given the band’s reputation, advance booking is highly recommended to secure your spot. Please note that the event will feature tiered seating and a limited bar facility.

Tickets are priced at £29.50. For further details and ticket bookings, please visit www.roevalleyarts.com or contact our box office.

Frighteningly good family fun across Mid and East Antrim this Halloween

Extra special spooky goings-on are taking place throughout Mid and East Antrim this Halloween.

There will be plenty of tricks and treats for families in Larne, Ballymena and Carrickfergus, with a number of ghoulishly great events offering residents the chance to eat, drink and be scary.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, said: “We have a packed Halloween programme for all our citizens to enjoy and I am really looking forward to what promises to be a brilliant few days of fun and entertainment.

“Events are taking place in all three towns and I trust all those who attend will have a great time, soak up the atmosphere and support our local businesses in Larne, Ballymena and Carrickfergus.”

The eerie-sistible action gets under way with Hallowena at the People’s Park in Ballymena on Friday 27 October from 6pm until 8.30pm.

The free event will thrill and chill with a packed programme of spooktacular activities for all your little monsters to enjoy.

With a fire juggling display, a fancy dress competition, spooky walkabout characters, a kiddies’ funfair and live music, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Follow the extended spooky illumination trail throughout the park and bump into some familiar characters along the way.

You can sink your fangs into some sweet treats or tasty hot food to beat those Halloween hunger pangs. The fun and festivities will finish with a fabulous fireworks finale at 8.15pm.

On Monday 30 October, dust off the broomsticks and fly into the Halloween Hooley at Town Park in Larne.

Meet some of your favorite Halloween characters as you make your way around the event. Watch in awe as the sky lights up with mesmerising fire performances that’ll send shivers down your spine – as well as a fireworks display!

Join the ‘broomstick jiggle’ dance workshops and learn moves that’ll make the ghosts and ghouls groove. Keep an eye out for a roarsome dino-mite guest, during what promises to be a Jurassic Halloween adventure.

The Halloween DJ will be hosting a monster mash on stage, including a live performance from the Swingtime Starlets. Get your creative cauldrons bubbling at the arts and crafts stations, and don’t be afraid to get a little messy in the play areas. Dressing up is encouraged for all of you little and big pumpkins.

Show off your style by arriving in your most BOO-tiful costumes and you take part in the costume catwalk.

CarrickFEARgus, which has already sold out, returns for its second year, with Shaftesbury Park hosting a fang-tastic trail!

The three town centres will also be staging daytime Halloween events, with Starlight Entertainment providing music at the Harmony Hub Bandstand in Ballymena on Saturday 28 October between 1pm and 4pm. Face painters and balloon modellers will be in the Tower Centre from 2pm and 4pm. Two Halloween walkabout performers will be patrolling the streets at the same time.

On Friday 13 October the Paranormal Pumpkin Patch will go live in Larne town centre. Running for four weeks, this virtual game will have you tracking down 10 spooky characters who have taken up residence at the following locations. It’s your job to find and release them, but they won’t go easy!

On Monday 30 October, a Children’s Halloween Craft Workshop takes place in the Town Hall in Larne. Tickets available through Eventbrite.  Keep an eye on social media for booking details.

Sounds Good Music will be at Broadway between 1pm and 4pm, with two Halloween walkabout performers present from 2pm until 4pm.

On Tuesday 31 October, a Children’s Halloween Craft Workshop takes place in Carrickfergus Town Hall, with bookings again through Eventbirte.  Keep an eye on social media for booking details. Entertainment will be providing music outside the Town Hall between 1pm and 4pm, with walkabout characters in the area between 2pm and 4pm.

For the very latest information and updates, keep an eye on Council’s social media channels or visit midandeastantrim.gov.uk/Halloween


One World Festival Is Back For 2023


One World Festival returns this October with its diverse line-up increasing awareness about the Global South, promoting understanding of issues that affect the lives of the poorest people and inspiring action in our communities towards a just, peaceful and sustainable world.

Now in its 5th year, events are being hosted by non profit members of CADA including Christian Aid, Leprosy Mission, Habitat for Humanity NI and more. 

Kate Nicholl MLA will be taking part in two events and sharing about her roles in the All Party Group on Climate Action, All Party Group on Minority Ethnic Communities.

This year’s theme is Health of Our World, with the festival holding a whole host of events in film, music, poetry, discussions and workshops. Taking place from October 16-20, the festival will showcase a unique festival experience centred around sustainability and work towards a just, peaceful and sustainable world.

2023’s festival sees a hybrid of in-person and virtual events, most of which are free to attend. Activities include a variety of workshops, discussions and family fun sessions, ranging from topics such as the climate crisis and the global economy.

Ruth Young, Festival Manager said: “One World Festival is back this year with the theme ‘Health of Our World’,  focusing on the effects of climate change on the world’s poorest communities. Like last year we have a packed programme of hybrid events for all ages from album listening sessions to screenings and upcycling. We are so excited to be back for our fifth year.”

Highlights from this year’s festival include the flagship event on Friday night held in the Accidental Theatre, Belfast. ‘Health of Our World’ will be a culmination of the festival week bringing together artists and artistic pieces with a focus on how climate change impacts people around the world. 

Other events featured in the line-up include a screening of The Letter – A Message for Our Earth which tells the emotive story of several leaders from across the world and across a range of communities, committed to ecological and social causes who travel to discuss the encyclical letter to the world by Pope Francis.

Taking place over two days (Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19) is RePurpose at ReStore in the Habitat ReStore in Lisburn. In this interactive workshop at ReStore Lisburn you can explore how recycling, reusing and repurposing can help build a more sustainable world. 

Spanning across four days, the festival works to increase awareness and understanding of the developing world and is organised by the Coalition of Aid and Development Agencies (CADA NI), covering 19 overseas humanitarian charities who are based primarily in Northern Ireland.

Encouraging people to take part in the festival, Ruth said: “Join us at One World Festival 2023, either in person or online, to stand in solidarity with those who feel injustice, poverty and the effects of climate change both around the world and here at home.” 

For more information and to reserve tickets online go to oneworldfestivalni.com