NI Firm To Deliver Government’s Help To Grow Digital Programme

(left to right)  Daniel Cairo Chief Operating Officer of Zym, Peter Eakin Chief Operating Officer of  Zymplify, Michael Carlin founder and CEO of Zymplify Group and Debbie Rymer Chief Marketing Officer of the Zymplify Group

Northern Ireland company, Zymplify, has been appointed as a preferred supplier to deliver Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s digital growth plan for small and medium sized businesses, helping them to learn new skills, reach new customers and boost profits.

The Portstewart-based company has been approved to provide three innovative digital solutions to empower users to enhance their marketing and sales performance. 

After a rigorous application process, Zymplify was one of a small number of UK vendors to be awarded the contract to deliver the scheme through which eligible businesses will be able to get a discount of up to 50% on the costs of approved digital software including Zymplify Starter Package,  Zym Lite and Zym Pro.

Michael Carlin, chief executive of the Zymplify Group said the team were delighted to be chosen to support SMEs on the scheme.

He added: “From day one, our goal at Zymplify has been to help real business owners use digital technology to grow their business – a vision that is mirrored by Help to Grow Digital.

“Like the Chancellor, we believe that small and medium sized businesses are the backbone of our economy. We are a small business ourselves and created Zym and Zymplify for people like us – real business owners who want to save time, save money and grow.

“Just like the scheme we offer SMEs more than just the software. We have developed an ecosystem of three core elements – a planning framework to help users map their sales and marketing strategy, an Academy to help them master digital skills and the platform to execute, manage and measure their digital campaigns. 

“I believe that it is this approach that helped us become one of the few suppliers selected to deliver this fantastic programme.”

Zym is a complete marketing software solution ideal for small and medium sized businesses. With a continuously expanding selection of innovative tools, unlike other solutions, the Zym platform lets users take full control of every aspect of their digital marketing journey, from finding new customers to ongoing marketing communications and detailed reporting all in one place.

More suited for medium size enterprises and B2B organisations with sales and marketing teams the Zymplify platform combines marketing automation, lead generation, sales prospecting and accurate real time reporting within a single platform.

As the first ever precision sales and marketing platform on the market, the unique software allows users to create, execute and report on sales and marketing campaigns at scale. It is the only solution on the market that provides users with qualified prospects who are actively looking for their products or services; while putting users in control of connecting with their target audience and closing sales at speed.

Zymplify Group chief marketing officer, Debbie Rymer explained: “Through the Help to Go Digital Programme, business owners will be able to catch up with the technological needs of their business and access discounted prices for tech platforms. Through Zymplify and Zym, eligible businesses will also be able to access daily live classes, digital marketing training advice and guidance to help their business save money, grow and scale fast.

“I have worked as a mentor on numerous business support programmes over the years and am also the CIM Academy Course Director for Digital Marketing Techniques so have seen first-hand the positive impact good marketing and digital technology can have on a business.

“That’s why we have developed our learning Academy to provide our users with the knowledge, skills and support they need to maximise their voucher and grow their business with the support of the Help to Grow Digital scheme.”

Last year Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced that through the Government funded scheme businesses will receive expert technology advice and discounted software, as it aims to spark innovation as the UK maps out its recovery out of the pandemic.

Mr Sunak said: “Our brilliant SMEs are the backbone of our economy, creating jobs and generating prosperity – so it’s vital they can access the tools they need to succeed

“Help to Grow will ensure they are embracing the latest technology and management training, fuelling our Plan for Jobs by boosting productivity in all corners of the UK.”

The programme offers a new online platform where business owners can get free advice on technology that will help businesses to save time, reduce costs, and reach more customers.

Any eligible SMEs will be able to get vouchers offering up to 50% off the purchase of new productivity enhancing software worth up to £5,000 each for the period of one year.

Businesses interested in Zym or Zymplify will be given the opportunity to “try before they use their voucher”.

“We are committed to helping UK SMEs maximise the scheme. Anyone considering using either the Zymplify or Zym platforms won’t be pressured into redeeming their voucher without seeing our software in action first” said Debbie, adding: “we want to help them choose the right product for their business and their employees. That’s why they can take either or both products for a free 14 day test drive before making their selection. We hope that by providing the free trial and the live classes we help them to invest wisely.”

For more information on how to sign up and take your business to the next level go to zym.ai/help-to-grow-digital 

Remote Working Here To Stay So Employees Need To Learn New Skills

Top recruiter warns businesses they need to invest in the right systems & processes 

When it comes to remote working one Northern Ireland recruitment firm says employees need to learn and display new skills to secure work from home roles.

A Global Workplace Analytics report said that since 2009, the number of people who work from home has risen by 159%

Michelle Tyson, director of Tyson Wilson is also warning businesses that they “must invest in the right systems and processes” in order to be able to facilitate a “productive, healthy and happy remote working workforce”. 

Michelle said that although the rise in work from home opportunities originally surged as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic that she believes it’s a trend that’s here to stay.

She added: “The biggest trend that will continue into 2022 and beyond is the working from home and the hybrid working model. 

“Statistics from Upwork say that by 2028, 73% of all departments are expected to have remote workers.

“It is undeniable that many companies are becoming more open to hybrid and work from home after being forced to put systems in place to handle the challenges that come with it during the pandemic.”

According to Michelle what this means is business leaders must now recruit differently for those remote roles.

She explained: “In the call centre industry, for example, companies are looking for a new set of skills for people working from home – they now need to ensure those staff have self motivated, disciplined and proactive traits which whilst beneficial previously were not essential because the working model created an environment in which they had to be productive and were constantly monitored by line managers in person.”

This, in turn, means there can be a more flexible approach to talent acquisition.

Owl Labs reported last year that small companies are twice as likely to hire full-time remote workers than their larger counterparts.

However, whilst the future is bright for hybrid and remote working Michelle said one of the biggest challenges for business leaders has been changing the way in which they communicate with their team.

Research published by Buffer suggested that communication was one of the top three challenges associated with remote work behind “unplugging after work” and “loneliness”.

Michelle explained: “Communication is key. Mutual respect in the team is more vital than ever before – for example, in online meetings everyone has to be given the opportunity to take their turn to speak and leaders and colleagues need to learn how to listen.”

Michelle’s top 6 tips for managers and leaders are:

1. Be available

Michelle said: “Leaders have to ensure they make time available for the staff to be able to check in and ask questions because in an office environment this is very often done off the cuff or on an adhoc basis.”

2. Connection with colleagues

“When working from home there needs to be an onus on the business leader to create a culture where people feel connected to their colleagues” said Michelle.

3. Remove the stigma of struggling 

Michelle explained: “It is important that staff understand the importance of speaking up when they feel lonely, disconnected, frustrated or lost as a result of the working from home model.

“This can only be effective if they believe their disclosure of these things won’t have a negative effect on how they are seen and treated by management and colleagues.”

4. Open lines of communication

“One solution that works for many teams is leaving a Zoom or Google Meet call open all day or having a Microsoft Teams, Facebook messenger, WhatsApp or Slack group can help employees keep in contact with each other throughout the day” said Michelle.

5. Morning emails

“Another way I find works really well is to have communication every morning with your team” said Michelle, adding: “An email for example rounding up the achievements from the day before, outlining new developments, recognising outstanding work and outlining the work and priorities for the day can help people feel more focused and ultimately more productive.”

6. End of day reporting 

Michelle said: “I’ve also found with many of my clients that having staff email their direct line manager an end of day report helps everyone to keep on top of what other departments and their own teams are doing. An end of week report from all departments to each other is also crucial for larger teams.”

Tyson Wilson currently have a number of remote and hybrid working roles in Bangor, Newry, Belfast, Antrim, Omagh and across Northern Ireland including customer support advisors, customer service operators and customer sales and retentions advisors among many others.

To see these jobs and others go to tysonwilsonrecruitment.co.uk/jobs

For more information on what Tyson Wilson can do for your business contact Michelle at info@tysonwilsonrecruitment.co.uk 

4C UR Future Announce LIVE Events To Return In 2022

From left to right: 4C UR Future Managing Director, Rachel Doherty and 4C UR Future Founder, Rose Mary Stalker.

4C UR Future, the social enterprise that aims to empower young people to make more informed education and career choices, has announced its 4C UR Future LIVE events are returning in 2022.

In 2019, the organisation delivered a successful ‘proof of concept’ pilot event, which was supported by over 120 volunteers from over 30 cross-sectoral companies. Almost 1,200 Year 9 pupils participated in 4C UR Future LIVE over two days.

These are not dry and boring information-based events. Instead, young people take part in a range of sector-related skills games and work-based challenges, developed in collaboration with local employers representing every sector, which are designed to draw out and identify their key strengths, attributes, and talents.

Due to the impact of COVID19, the at-scale pilot events due to be held in 2020 and 2021 were postponed. However, with the pressure on our teachers and education system, the need for the business community to step in collectively to help inspire, inform and support young people is even greater now than prior to the pandemic. Therefore, the organisation is delighted to announce the return of 4C UR Future LIVE events, as an at-scale pilot, in 2022.

4C UR Future’s Founder, Rose Mary Stalker, said: “The careers environment has become increasingly complex for our young people to navigate, with new jobs and sectors emerging, and employers are facing significant skills shortages and bottlenecks, inhibiting our businesses from growing.

“4C UR Future LIVE was developed to provide a safe at-scale solution, to involve, inform, and inspire young people before they choose their GCSE subjects, so that they can make more empowered career pathway choices, and boost their opportunities.

“We are delighted to announce that we plan to hold 11 4C UR Future LIVE events this year – one in each Council area. In collaboration with a wide range of local employers, and supported by ten Councils, through our 2022 LIVE events we will engage with almost 7,500 Year 9 pupils from across Northern Ireland.”

The 2022 LIVE event schedule is available to view on the Events section of 4C UR Future’s website, with the registration process for schools to register their interest in attending the at-scale pilot events launching in Q1 2022.

To find out more about 4C UR Future, and how you can get involved, visit www.4curfuture.com or email info@4curfuture.com.

Training Webinar To Help Businesses Boost Their Blogging & Content Marketing For 2022

According to Google 59% of shoppers say they’ll research a product before making an in-store or online purchase.

One of the ways they will conduct research is to check out a company’s website and, in particular, the blog section.

A DemandMetric study revealed 68% of consumers spend time reading about the brands that interest them and in 2019 54% of Fortune 500 companies had a public facing blog.

Belfast based multi-disciplinary marketing and communications agency Excalibur Press’ latest training webinar looks at how business owners can take advantage of this powerful marketing tool.

Delivered by trainer and content strategist Tina Calder, the session How To Supercharge Your Blogging & Content Marketing For 2022 which takes place on Friday January 21, and will take attendees through the secrets of creating blog content for their business.

Speaking ahead of the session Tina Calder said: “It’s unquestionable that the rise of content marketing and blogging cannot be ignored by businesses wanting to increase their digital footprint online.

“However, for many business owners the thought of writing a blog and publishing it can be a daunting experience. From lack of confidence and ideas to not knowing what will resonate with their potential customers the blog and content marketing often gets put to the end of the ‘to do’ list

“In this session we are going to focus on helping people first create a list of content ideas and find out how they can work out what to write about when creating their content. The session will also outline the different types of blogs businesses can create as well as showing examples and run through practical templates for writing a quick and easy blog.”

The 90 minute session will also take attendees through everything from what types of blogging you can do for your business, how to create quick and easy blog posts, what are the key ingredients to a successful blog and how to come up with ideas for your blog.

Tina added: “Throughout this session I will be revealing all the tools we use at Excalibur Press to create good quality content for our clients as well as lift the lid on the secrets other social media professionals don’t want you to know.

“We’ll even cover the structure of a blog, language, rules and tone, where to publish your blog and how to get it seen by others.

“This session will help businesses reduce their stress levels when it comes to creating a blog, create content quickly and give them confidence knowing that they are bringing value to their customers throughout 2022.”

This is the second webinar in a new year series by Excalibur Press with the first being How To Set Up Your Social Media Content Strategy & Plan For 2022 which takes place on Friday January 7, book now at excaliburpress.co.uk/social-webinar-2022.

For more information and booking details for How To Supercharge Your Blogging & Content Marketing For 2022 on Friday January 21, go to excaliburpress.co.uk/blog-webinar 

CQ BID Pledge A Greener, Cleaner Cathedral Quarter By 2026 With Help From Streetdock Initiative

Ian Richardson (streetdock) with Damien Corr (manager, CQ BID) and streetdock courier Filippo Gambaro.

The Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District (BID) has shown commitment to its cleaner, greener goals by facilitating key conversations between sustainable businesses and the wider community.

One such business the BID is facilitating conversations with is streetdock, a newly launched infrastructure system of micro-hubs that supports and scales the use of low impact vehicles like e-cargo bikes for logistics, including light commercial and e-commerce cargo. 

Streetdock is a zero-emissions delivery service by local entrepreneurs Ian Richardson and David Kane. Damien Corr manager of the Cathedral Quarter BID said he’s delighted to be working with local businesses and streetdock to help achieve an environmentally friendlier city centre for all by 2026.

“Under the Safer, Cleaner, Greener strand of the Cathedral Quarter Business plan for the next five years, the CQ BID has been facilitating activity around the pedestrianisation in this part of the city” said Damien.

“This plan was endorsed by 86% of the ballot in the recent renewal election and the BID will spend the next 5 years working in partnership to deliver it.

“The popular Cathedral Quarter is a conservation area and over the past year, in partnership with Business and Statutory agencies has seen more care taken towards protecting its environment through the pedestrianisation (on a pilot basis) of Union St.

“Over the last year we have facilitated, in partnership with Business and Statutory agencies, the pedestrianisation (on a pilot basis) of Union St which has already led to the creation of new business and a general improvement to the general amenity of the area. 

“In the new year we will be working along the same basis to explore how we might reduce traffic in Hill St. and Gordon St” added Damien.

A recent survey looking at the condition of the historic Cathedral Quarter Cobbles pointed to the severe neglect and damage that they have endured over the years.

The BID manager welcomed the introduction of eCargo bikes which would lessen the flow of traffic delivering necessary goods to businesses around the area.

“It is a fair assumption that heavy delivery vehicles will have contributed to the cobble damage so we were very excited to learn about the streetdock project as it is obviously one of the solutions to this issue” he said, adding: “The BID is very happy to liaise between the Company and businesses where needed.

“We are hopeful that the versatility of streetdock will be of interest to Business and that the initiative will act as catalyst for further sustainable development in the Cathedral Quarter and across the city.”

Funding for the new streetdock initiative which launched earlier this month, comes from the Department for Infrastructure’s Sustainable and Active Travel elements of the Department for Communities’ Covid-19 Revitalisation Programme Fund, with Belfast City Council supporting project delivery.

The pilot project, which will operate for one year, offers a sustainable delivery solution for city centre-based business-to-business deliveries.

Ian Richardson co-founder of streetdock said: “Cities are badly impacted by our overuse of fossil fuel vehicles and we need to reverse the dominance of vehicles over people.

“We are passionate about playing a role in helping cities adapt and becoming places that are safe, attractive and economically vibrant and we want to help Belfast thrive by making it a place people want to be in, not drive through.

“Micromobility is being experimented with in many cities around the world and and cycling infrastructure is key and fundamental to safer healthier communities.

“Green infrastructure rather than big engineered solutions are needed to improve resilience and biodiversity, where we work with nature rather than concreting over everything”. 

To register your interest in the streetdock initiative go to streetdock.com.

For more information about the Cathedral Quarter BID go to cathedralquarter.com

Training Webinar To Help Businesses Create A Social Media Strategy & Plan For 2022

As many business owners work on their 2022 marketing and communications strategies and plans many will struggle to figure out what to do with their social media in the year ahead.

A new training session by Belfast company Excalibur Press is set to help business owners, social media managers and staff responsible for looking after social platforms create an actionable social media content strategy and plan.

Delivered by trainer and content strategist Tina Calder, the session How To Set Up Your Social Media Content Strategy & Plan For 2022, which takes place on Friday January 7, will take attendees through the basics of what they need to know in order to maximise their social media use in the year ahead.

Speaking ahead of the session Tina Calder said: “For many businesses social media can be the headache that just won’t go away. Everything from lack of time, resources and finances to a lack of technical skills and content ideas can turn managing social media into a nightmare for many people.

“As the number of platforms increase in number and audience expectations change it’s not easy to keep on top of your social platforms in a streamlined way that is beneficial for your business.

“In this session we’re going to focus on helping people understand the practical steps they need to take in order to create a basic social media strategy for the year ahead and show attendees how to make a plan, where to get ideas and how to execute good infrastructure social media content creation in bulk.”

The 90 minute session will also take attendees through each of the platforms and the most important features as well as helping develop ways to brainstorm content, get their staff and colleagues involved and how to fit social media into a wider marketing and communications strategy.

Tina added: “Throughout this session I will be revealing all the tools we use at Excalibur Press to create good quality content for our clients as well as lift the lid on the secrets other social media professionals don’t want you to know.

“By demystifying how to optimise your social media content creation and showing attendees how to integrate social content into all aspects of the customer journey I hope that businesses and individuals will be much more confident about creating great social media content throughout 2022.”

For more information and booking details for How To Set Up Your Social Media Content Strategy & Plan For 2022 on Friday January 7, go to excaliburpress.co.uk/social-webinar-2022

Tumble Circus’ Winter Circus In Final Days Of This Season’s Run

Tumble Circus’ Winter Circus has been hailed a success by fans as the show enters its final week at Writers’ Square in the Cathedral Quarter in Belfast.

Performers Ken Fanning, Tina Segner, Angelique ‘Reckless’ Ross, Ali Stanger, Henrik Gard, Grant Goldie, Paul ‘Bucky’ Taylor and seven year old Kasper have been taking to the stage in the big top since the show opened on December 17.

Annette O’Hagan, who attended the show with her children, posted on Google Reviews: “Tumble circus, you are amazing, I had such a laugh from the moment I got there with Bucky keeping us entertained at the entrance, to then the whole show, all u guys kept us entertained with many laughs and amazement throughout. It will now be our Xmas tradition every year to go.”

Hannah Pat added: “Brilliant show, suitable for all the family, very relaxed atmosphere, the perfect mix of comedy, silliness, awe and wonder! Loved every minute of it.”

Meanwhile on Facebook, the reviews were pouring in on Facebook with one mum saying: “Best day and evening spent in Belfast at Tumble Circus with my little trio. My kids loved the interactive performance.”

Also on Facebook Wendy Afonso-Cole posted to the Winter Circus team: “We absolutely loved it, our first time and you were all fab.” 

Now in its fifth year, the organisers at Winter Circus said fans can expect this year’s show “to be louder and prouder than ever before”.

Tina Segner of Tumble Circus said: “We are delighted to be back and we’ve got an amazing show lined up this year in our fully heated Tumble Circus big top tent.”

“Tumble Circus combines circus skills with comedy, theatre and social commentary to make people laugh, react, and act.”

The Tumble Circus Winter Circus show is an all human performance with everything from comedy, fun, hilarity and professional circus performance to amazing aerial skills.

“The Winter Circus shows will be spectacular with an inspiring modern soundtrack” said Ken Fanning of Tumble Circus, adding: “visitors to the big top can expect modern, high skilled acts, including acrobats, aerialists and jugglers in this one hour of hammer smashing Belfast inspired circus. 

“From international circus artists to well-known comedy characters both young and old audiences will be able to enjoy the show whilst expecting big laughs and some mighty craic.”

Winter Circus is supported by the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, Tourism Northern Ireland and Destination CQ BID.

Tickets are £9-£14 + booking fee and available from wegottickets.com/JossersBigTop, or for more information go to tumblecircus.com. Family tickets are also available and group bookings (10+) can be booked by emailing bookings@tumblecircus.com.

View the Winter Circus Covid-19 policy at https://www.tumblecircus.com/winter-circus-show/#covid-19-guidelines 

Remaining Shows

Monday 27th Dec        2pm  & 5pm           
Tuesday 28th Dec.      2pm & 5pm
Wednesday 29th Dec   2pm & 5pm 
Thursday 30th Dec       2pm & 5pm 
Friday 31st Dec            2pm & 5pm 
Saturday 1st Jan           2pm & 5pm 
Sunday 2nd Dec           2pm & 5pm 
Monday 3rd Jan           2pm & 5pm

Prices
Preview all tickets £9*
Full Price £14*
Children (12 and under): £9*
Family of four: £40*
Relaxed show: £9*
*excluding booking fee
Children 2 and under go free

CQ BID CELEBRATES SPONSORSHIP OF WINTER CIRCUS IN WRITERS’ SQUARE

From left: Tina Segner (Tumble Circus), Damien Corr (CQ BID) and Ken Fanning (Tumble Circus)

Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District have announced their second year of sponsorship of the award winning circus company Tumble Circus returning to Belfast’s Writers’ Square this Christmas.

This year’s sponsorship of the ​​spectacular Winter Circus comes after 2020’s event cancellation due to the Covid-19 pandemic which undoubtedly had a detrimental effect on the Cathedral Quarter.

Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement manager, Damien Corr, described it as a very important part of the BID’s commitment to supporting the arts and culture sector within the Cathedral Quarter.

“The Cathedral Quarter has established itself as the Hospitality and Arts & Cultural heart of this City and the Cathedral Quarter BID wants to ensure that families can engage with the area.

“The Winter Circus is the ideal event to deliver this as performances are in the earlier part of the day including Saturdays and Sundays which enable families to explore the wider Cathedral Quarter when it’s not so crowded. All of the shows are Covid friendly and offer a family friendly and highly entertaining start to the festive season.”

Winter Circus kicked off on Friday last week and will run right through to January 3, Writers’ Square is hosting the infamous Jossers Big Top for 27 all human performances taking place with everything from death defying aerialists and mind bending jugglers, Winter Circus promises fun for all the family. 

The CQ BIDS’s new business plan has outlined its priority to connect with local businesses using their own website and social channels to champion the arts and culture sector which will help maximise footfall and promote the sector.

It also hopes to engage with local businesses and encourage cross-promotion to celebrate what the Cathedral Quarter area has to offer.

Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Kate Nicholl said: “Belfast City Council is delighted to support Tumble Circus to produce this family friendly event. Tina and Ken are such talented, brave artists – and their shows are magical, memorable mayhem!”

“Come on in to Belfast to enjoy Tumble Circus and the rest of our seasonal programme of events in the city – you can be sure of a warm welcome and plenty of festive fun.”

Winter Circus is supported by the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, Tourism Northern Ireland and Destination CQ BID.

Tickets are £9-£14 + booking fee and available from wegottickets.com/JossersBigTop, or for more information go to tumblecircus.com. Family tickets are also available and group bookings (10+) can be booked by emailing bookings@tumblecircus.com.

View the Winter Circus Covid-19 policy at https://www.tumblecircus.com/winter-circus-show/#covid-19-guidelines

Taste Causeway Producers Win Half Of Prestigious Slow Food Northern Ireland Awards

Rebekah and Stevie Mc Carry of Native Seafood

Slow Food Causeway and Taste Causeway Members scooped five out of 10 prestigious Slow Food Northern Ireland Awards last week.

The awards were held on Friday December 10 in a night of celebration as local businesses across Northern Ireland were recognised for their dedication to deliver quality and sustainable food products and fulfilling the movement’s vision of a good, clean and fair food society.

Created seven years ago in London, the acclaimed Slow Food awards are best known for being “truly democratic” due to no prior shortlisting and decision only by public vote except for the Person of the Year, which is chosen solely by the regional director for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. 

Out of the 10 regional awards, five Slow Food Causeway members (who are also members of Taste Causeway) were successful including Best Butcher which went to Corndale Farm in Limavady, Best Baker for Ursa Minor in Ballycastle, Best Fishmonger went to Native Seafood based in Portstewart, while Best Deli or Grocer was awarded to Warkes Deli, also in Portstewart and Veal Charcuterie at Broughgammon Farm was given the Champion Slow Food Product.

Speaking of the awards, Director for Slow Food Northern Ireland, Paula McIntyre said: “It’s a delight to see the public vote recognise the wonderful Slow Food producers and retailers in the region of Northern Ireland, and, in particular, the Causeway Coast and Glens.

“Coupled with the launch of Slow Food Causeway and the six month series of Slow Food launch events and experiences, these awards, across five of of the 10 categories, are further recognition of the commitment of everyone involved in Slow Food Causeway to the global Slow Food movement”.

Slow Food Causeway also celebrates Northern Ireland’s unique culinary heritage with indigenous breeds, fish from loughs, world class produce and progressive artisans contributing to the agri-food sector in the province.

Shane Holland, Executive Chairman of Slow Food in the UK said the awards were important for bringing increased trade to the area.

He added: “We know how important these awards are – both to the producers and businesses but also shoppers alike. 

“These awards matter to the winners, many of whom experience a large increase in business, and some previous winners have gained new retail opportunities on their wins”.

Charlie Cole from Broughgammon Farm near Ballycastle is a founding member of the Taste Causeway Collaborative Network picked up the Champion Slow Food Product award for his rose veal salami.

Charlie and his family have been advocates of forward thinking, regenerative farming techniques, utilising the waste of the dairy industry in the form of veal calves and kid goats. 

The farm runs an on-site nose to tail butchery, farm cafe and shop, online meat boxes, monthly supper clubs and artisan workshops.

Charlie said: “The rose veal salami was a product born out of necessity, as a result of consumers not being more conscientious about nose to tail eating.

“It embodies everything we believe in, nose to tail eating, collaborating with other similar minded, small, independent local family farmers and producers… and it’s delicious as a result”.

The Best Baker Award went to Ursa Minor Bakehouse in Ballycastle for the second year in a row.

Ciara O HArtghaile said she was “delighted” to be collecting the award: ““Since 2014 we have been pioneering a local, seasonal approach to food here on the Causeway Coast. We are committed to the suppliers on our doorstep and across this island and encourage the need to question food provenance and quality. 

“We promote the use of beautiful produce in innovative ways and work with farmers and growers locally to give our community the best quality, honest and most delicious food we can”

Best Fishmongers was awarded to Native Seafood. After receiving the accolade, owner Rebekah Mc Carry said the business has plans to expand their efforts in the new year,

“Our plan is to continue growing our supply network, expanding on the best of ethical producers that we already work with like Foyle Bia Mara and Carlingford oysters so once we have winter behind us, we will plan on installing a proper fish counter to add to the whole experience and we can’t wait to share it with our valued customers, both local and visitors.” 

All fish not sold through the fishmongers is used for Native’s restaurant menu which results in zero wastage, something Rebekah is extremely proud of.

She added: “We are over the moon to be recognised as Best Fishmongers in Northern Ireland. Our ethos has always been to provide sustainably sourced Irish seafood, filling the gap between local fishermen and the public.”

The award for Best Deli or Grocer went to Warkes Deli in Portrush. Owner Jacqui Warke said the ethos of the Slow Food Movement has “been integral” to what Warkes Deli have done since they opened in 2011.

Jacqui added that the business continually strives to “highlight the marvellous produce on our doorstep”.

“We are a family business combining deli, cafe, supper clubs, outside catering and hampers as well as producing our own products. Since opening we have constantly believed in cooking and baking fresh, nutritious, seasonal food using great local ingredients, showcasing our amazing local producers stocking great local cheeses, charcuterie, chutneys, oils and coffee to name but a few. 

“Key to our culture is to collaborate with other local like-minded food champions and this has proven to be both rewarding and great fun.”

To celebrate their accreditation as a Slow Food destination, Taste Causeway, the collaborative network of local food and drink businesses who was awarded the accolade by the global Slow Food Movement following a rigorous assessment process is hosting a calendar of events right up to the end of March 2022.

The events programme will showcase the Slow Food ethos dedicated to supporting local artisan producers as well as spreading awareness of local food traditions and culture. 

Sharon Scott from Taste Causeway who are delivering Slow Food Causeway with funding from Tourism NI in partnership with Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council said: 

“Taste Causeway is  one of only a handful of accredited Slow Food destinations in Ireland to be awarded the accolade by the global Slow Food Movement. 

“Slow Food was initially founded by a group of activists in Italy during the 1980s with the aim of defending regional traditions, good food, gastronomic pleasure and a slow pace of life but has since grown into a global movement involving millions of people, in over 150 countries that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to the community and the environment.  We at Taste Causeway are proud to become part of this global food movement.”

For further information on Slow Food Causeway go to tastecauseway.com/slow-food-causeway

Tumble Circus Erect Big Top Ahead Of Winter Circus In Writers’ Square

Tumble Circus’ Winter Circus big top being erected in Writers’ Square

The big top is up in Writers’ Square as the performers of Tumble Circus’ Winter Circus prepare for their opening show on Friday December 17.

Running from December 17 through to January 3, the award winning Tumble Circus is back in Writers’ Square hosting the infamous Jossers Big Top for 27 world-class human performances.

With just one day to go until showtime, the performers have been busy with dress rehearsals for what promises to be fun for all the family this winter with everything from death defying aerialists to mind bending jugglers.

Tina Segner of Tumble Circus said: “We are delighted to be back and we’ve got an amazing show lined up this year in our fully heated Tumble Circus big top tent.”

Winter Circus is supported by the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, Tourism Northern Ireland and Destination CQ BID.


Tickets are £9-£14 + booking fee and available from wegottickets.com/JossersBigTop, or for more information go to tumblecircus.com. Family tickets are also available and group bookings (10+) can be booked by emailing bookings@tumblecircus.com.

View the Winter Circus Covid-19 policy at https://www.tumblecircus.com/winter-circus-show/#covid-19-guidelines