Corporate Colours Day for Autism NI

This April, Autism NI are celebrating World Autism Awareness Month with their new ‘Making Sense of Autism’ campaign. As part of the campaign they are encouraging workplaces to hold a ‘Corporate Colours Day’. In Northern Ireland, just 16% of Autistic adults are in full-time employment. Through this campaign, Autism NI is calling for all businesses to take positive steps to become more accessible for individuals with Autism – both as valued employees and customers.

Autism NI Corporate Fundraising Manager Sarah-Jayne wants companies to embrace their corporate colour and stand-up for Autism. All you need to do is choose a day within the month of April and ask all staff to wear your corporate colour. This can be socks, a tie, scarf, shirt or go all out and dress head-to-toe in that colour and then donate to Autism NI. The ‘Corporate Colours Day’ encourages employees to think about the Autism Spectrum and that all individuals are different just like the colour spectrum. Top local businesses Savills, Blush Boutique, Trust Ford and Lloyds Banking are all getting behind ‘Corporate Colours Day’. The charity’s aim is to get as many different coloured businesses within Northern Ireland to take part.

Alongside this campaign the charity will be holding ‘Making Sense of Autism’ Family Fun Days throughout Northern Ireland. On Saturday 14th April at venues including Belfast City Hall, Seven Towers Leisure Centre, Ballymena, Lakeland Forum, Enniskillen and Guildhall Derry/Londonderry and on Saturday 21st April at Lagan Valley Leisureplex, Lisburn from 1pm – 4pm. There will also be fun awareness activities that your friends and family or school can get involved in including our ‘Walk 5k A Day’ and the ‘School’s Sensory Challenge’ all taking place during World Autism Awareness Month.

Autism NI is a local charity providing life-changing services for the 30,000 individuals living with Autism throughout Northern Ireland and they rely on your help to improve the lives of children and adults living with the daily challenges of this hidden disability.

For further information or to request a ‘Corporate Colours Day’ fundraising pack contact Sarah-Jayne on 028 9040 1729 (option 3), email or visit


Visit Belfast becomes ‘China Ready’

The Visit Belfast Welcome Centre scores an island-wide first to secure global China Ready status.

Visit Belfast has been recognised for being ‘China Ready’, another major accomplishment in the tourism agency’s efforts to maximise on the city’s growing popularity with Chinese tourists. As Belfast and NI’s flagship visitor information centre, it is the first on the island of Ireland to secure this market status. The new China Ready accreditation, which helps identify global services that Chinese visitors can trust, recognises the measures Visit Belfast has taken to cater for the increasing Chinese visitor market, a key growth market for the UK and Ireland.

Tourist trips from China to the UK and Ireland have doubled in the past decade, with Europe being a major global destination for Chinese tourists who tend to stay longer and are also among the biggest tourist spenders. Everyone in Belfast can benefit from a thriving and prosperous economy.  The strengthening relationship with China stands in helping to achieve that aim.


Armagh – A City On The Rise

Armagh is a city on the rise, with a regeneration scheme having been announced for the city by the ABC Council and Heritage Lottery Fund at a special event at The Palace, Armagh. The aim is to revamp the historic city centre of Armagh and turn iconic but underused buildings into exciting attractions, for both local people and tourists to enjoy. An investment of £6.3 million will gear towards the repair of almost 30 properties in key buildings in Armagh’s protected conservation area, including Upper English Street and Russell Street. The transformation plan also aims to develop 5,000 square metres of historic floor space, putting it back into sustainable use. The five-year Armagh City Townscape Heritage project will be led by the Armagh City Townscape Heritage Partnership, with support from Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund. The overall heritage-led regeneration project will be very advantageous for Armagh, with the creation of almost 50 new jobs over the five years and a further 30 jobs once it is complete. Several existing businesses in the city will also directly benefit from the scheme, with the revitalisation project being predicted to boost the local economy, bringing millions of pounds to the city’s tourism industry.


‘The Ultimate School Trip’ makes its way to NI

A pair of yetis were spotted roaming the hallways of two Northern Ireland primary schools yesterday.

There was no need for alarm thankfully as Kumar and Maiya, mascots from the Sol Katmandu Park and Resort in Majora, jetted their way in to Blythefield Primary School, Belfast and Seaview Primary School in Glenarm, Ballymena to tell the children about a massive nationwide schools competition, ran by Jet2holidays.

‘The Ultimate School Trip’ competition gives children across the UK the chance to win the school trip of a lifetime to an award-winning Spanish resort with their classmates and teachers.

Northern Ireland was one of the final stops on the tour and Kumar and Maiya were happy to teach the pupils at Blythefield PS and Seaview PS their unique language and demonstrate their special breakfast dance, explaining all about their home of Sol Katmandu and how they can enter the competition to win an all-expenses paid trip there in April this year.

Nine schools in total, will win a place on the Ultimate School Trip which promises to be both fun and educational, including workshops which will focus on science, history, drama and crafts, as well as giving pupils all the excitement you would expect from a school trip overseas. Workshops will be ran by celebrities, including children’s TV favourite’s ‘Dick and Dom’.

Steve Heapy, CEO of and Jet2holidays, said that they have loved going on the tour and roadshow in Northern Ireland as school trips provide so many amazing memories and the cannot wait to give children an opportunity to learn so many new things while also being able to have the chance to go on a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

A total of 45 classes across the UK and Northern Ireland will be shortlisted to enter in the competition, all of which will have the chance to win £1,000 worth of vouchers for brand new school equipment and the nine lucky classes chosen as winners will get to jet off on the amazing trip from Friday April 20th until Sunday April 22nd 2018.

For more information on the competition, visit

Lidl’s Valentine’s Collection

As the season of love approaches, turn up the romance and turn off the lights this Valentine’s Day with Lidl Northern Ireland’s collection of Esmara lingerie, which is available in 38 stores all around Northern Ireland this February.

Whether you’re treating yourself or buying a gift for a loved one, Lidl’s selection of luxurious lace and silk pieces will suit every shape and size. The stunning, limited edition lingerie includes a selection of intricate lace and silk lingerie in a variety of colours to create matching combinations. Many sizes available in an array of colours.

The stunning collection includes a variety of fashionable pieces and items, including matching underwear, perfumes and colognes. There are a range of gifts for him and her. Lidl have also included the perfect selection of drinks to suit every taste and every budget this Valentine’s Day, including Prosecco and Pink Gin. Lidl also have a range of flowers to suit your budget because nothing says ‘love’ like a bouquet of red roses.

If you’re spending your Valentine’s Day at home, Lidl also have included an exclusive meal deal starting from Saturday February 10th to Wednesday February 14th, including a main dish, a side, a dessert, a bottle of Prosecco and a box of chocolates, all to make your night even more magical.

Flowers, chocolates, dinner and more, all with your loved one, what more could you ask for? This Valentine’s Day…

Young Musicians and Actors Wanted for Paperboy Auditions

Youth Music Theatre UK are looking for young actors and musicians from Falls and Shankill Road for the 2018 production of Tony Macaulay’s Paperboy,

Youth Music Theatre UK (YMT), the leading UK music theatre for young people, that has helped shape the careers of many including Grammy award winners Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith, is now searching for Northern Ireland’s next big musical theatre star!

The brand-new musical adaption for Tony Macaulay’s Paperboy will be performed in Belfast’s Lyric Theatre in July 2018. Special auditions will take place on the Falls Road at Falls Leisure Centre and Shankill Road at Spectrum Centre on the 16th February 2018.

Shankill Road is the location where the novel has taken place and is where author and peace wall builder Tony Macaulay grew up. Auditions are open to anyone aged between 11-21 years of age and no previous experience is required. Auditions for all eight productions of the YMT’s UK-wide 15th season of new musical theatre, including Paperboy, will take place at Dance Ireland Dublin on the 21st January, The Playhouse Theatre, Derry/Londonderry on the 3rd February and Lyric Theatre Belfast on the 4th February. The wide popularity of Tony Macaulay’s Paperboy has led to its success across the world; the book has been published in the UK and Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA.

Tony Macaulay has said that he believes the arts can break down barriers and build peace, bringing people together, which is why they are looking for some strong singers, actors, dancers and musicians from Ireland who will have the opportunity to work along side some of the most talented and best in the industry.

Belfast-born, platinum-selling singer-songwriter Duke Special and Derry born stand up comedian Andrew Boyle, will join renowned director Steven Dexter and choreographer Jennifer Rooney to bring Paperboy to life on the stage. Youth Music Theatre UK’s Executive Producer, Jon Bromwich, said that Paperboy is a flagship show of the YMT’s 2018 summer season and that it is also their 15th anniversary season, making it a special one.



Vertigo Indoor Skydiving, the first and only indoor skydiving simulator on the island of Ireland, has officially opened its doors in the former T13 building in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter. The £1.5 million state-of-the-art facility, which has created 20 new jobs, is the newest venture from Belfast-based adventure centre, We Are Vertigo, bringing the company’s total investment in Northern Ireland’s leisure industry to £5 million.

Developed using world leading Aerodium technology, the indoor skydiving centre allows adrenalin junkies to experience freefall conditions with speeds of up to 200km per hour. The innovative skydiving technology has been used by the movie industry to film stunts for award-winning blockbusters, including the final fight scene in Jackie Chan’s Chinese Zodiac, and has become an increasingly popular sport in recent years, with more and more individuals and teams taking part in bodyflight competitions around the world, including the Indoor Skydiving World Championships.

The adventure activity has also sparked the interest of first-time flyers and novices, with an increasing number of indoor skydiving facilities opening in the UK attracting adrenaline junkies to simple fun seekers. Indoor skydiving is already popular world-wide. We are vertigo have invested heavily in the location, technology, equipment and the training of the centre’s instructors to make this a world-class facility based right in the heart of Belfast.

Indoor skydiving is suitable for those aged 4 and upwards. The facilities can also be used by professionals to train for skydiving qualifications. An indoor skydiving session starts from £45.   For further information on bookings and terms and conditions for use visit, or
Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Artful Ageing

An innovative 10-week arts project is offering care groups and organisations in East Belfast the opportunity to create and share two radio dramas based on their different caring experiences. Delivered by EastSide Arts and supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland Arts and Older People Programme, the project entitled ‘Artful Ageing’ aims to break down the stigma of isolation and loneliness and promote well being amongst older residents.

The two radio dramas will be developed through an interactive workshop delivered by east Belfast based writer and radio dramatist Jan Carson. It will include story development, writing, recording and editing of the two short dramas exploring different issues and experiences that are related to being a carer. The two dramas and a bespoke tool kit will be available to share with other care groups and organisations, with the hope that it will help to provide an opportunity to begin conversations about the positive and negative aspects of caring for another person.

EastSide Arts’ project ‘Artful Ageing’ workshops will also be run from January to June at a variety of East Belfast venues including the EastSide Visitor Centre. These free drop-in classes are for older members of the community and will feature a range of safe-space workshops including crochet, ceramics, textile art, painting and digital fabrication. Looking forward to delivering the workshops, East Belfast writer Jan Carson said that the project is a wonderful initiative by EastSide Arts and supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland Arts and Older People Programme that it is vital that carers within our community are given the opportunity to discuss and share their positive and negative experiences they have for caring for another person. He also states that the workshops will be a fantastic platform to capture those conversations and that he is very excited to working with the carers and seeing the outcome after those 10 weeks.

Lorraine Calderwood, Arts and Older People Programme Officer, explained how the programme is continuing to make a huge difference to peoples lives, saying that the links between creative expression through participation in the arts and improved wellbeing are now well established and that the programme has evidenced how successful the arts are in making a positive impact on older people with tackling issues such as isolation and social exclusion as they can give a much needed voice to older citizens through this.

To register and for further information about the EastSide Arts ‘Artful Aging’ Programme, visit:


NI Golf ‘on par’ with the best at Florida’s PGA Show

Tourist Ireland’s golf promotional programme for 2018 kicked off last week in Orlando, Florida. Twelve golf and tourism operators from all around the island of Ireland, as well as two American golf tour operators, jointed Tourism Ireland at the PGA Golf Merchandise Show in Orlando, to highlight our world-class golf.

The PGA Show is one of the biggest golf exhibitions in the United States, as it attracts more than 40,000 golfing professionals and enthusiasts, as well as around 1,000 influential golf journalists, each year.

The American golf market remains a top priority for Tourism Ireland in 2018 and they will be continuing to promote Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland as a top golf destination, meaning they will be able to capitalise on the success of golfers such as Rory McIlroy, Padraig Harrington, Shane Lowry and Darren Clarke etc.

Golf is the world’s largest sports-related travel market and Tourist Ireland is working hard to drive home the message that a golfing holiday is more than just a round of eighteen holes and that the combination of world-class golf and a unique brand of hospitality play a key role in attracting American golfers to visit Ireland.

Northern Ireland’s world-class golf was highlighter to over 100 different influential golf tour operators, journalists and golf pros before the PGA Show kicked off, at a special Ireland Golf Day at The Golden Bear Club at Keene’s Point, Orlando. Tourism Ireland will roll out an extensive programme of activity to promote golf on the island of Ireland in the United States this year, such as highlighting the 2018 Irish Open at Ballyliffin and The Open in 2019 at Royal Portrush.

Building on the successful ‘Home of Champions’ campaign they had previously created, Tourism Ireland’s TV ad will air on the NBC Golf Channel and online at and a digital campaign will run on popular golf websites, driving golf holidaymakers to

c21 Theatre Company presents ‘May the Road Rise Up’

One of Northern Ireland’s leading theatre companies, ‘c21’, takes to it’s latest production, ‘May the Road Rise up’. A hilarious production of a young woman’s positivity against adversity.

It will take to the Lyric Theatre’s stage in Belfast from Tuesday 20th to Saturday 24th February, followed by a seven-show tour across the province.

‘May the Road Rise Up’ is a fast paced, black comedy, which focuses on a young woman’s boundless positivity in the face of extreme adversity while also touching on realistic problems. The play follows Belfast native Mia; along the hilarious and bumpy road she calls life.

The play ‘May the Road Rise Up’ is the fourth collaboration between the Lyric’s resident writer, Rosemary Jenkinson and the c21 Theatre Company. The fantastic one-woman show is directed by co-founder Stephen Kelly and stars Christine Clare as the lively and boisterous Mia.

Following some questionable life decisions, along with a particularly unruly influence in her life, Mia’s continual positive nature adds to the play’s charm, offering a sense of comic relief whilst highlighting the current and real-life problems she encountered in her journey, resulting in her living on the streets in Belfast.

Ahead of the shows tour, director and co-founder of c21, Stephen Kelly said that they are looking forward and are privileged to work on the show as Rosemary has tapped into many of the real issues which are facing many in todays society, he says that ‘May the Road Rise Up’ is a traditional Irish blessing and it is translated literally into ‘may you succeed on the road’ which is essentially what the main character is trying to do.

He also mentions how the crew are all delighted to have Christine Clare on board as she brings the character of Mia to life, exactly how Mia was imagined.

Writer, Rosemary Jenkinson continues and adds that she is delighted to be showcasing ‘May the Road Rise Up’ at the Lyric and that although the play touches on the harsh realities of life as well as the curve balls it can throw at you, the main component to take away is Mia’s heroic positivity during her struggle, as they want and believe that they audience can be able to sympathise with the main character and her struggles.

The production is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland through National Lottery Funding and they are pleased to support it.

Tickets for ‘May the Road Rise Up’ are on sale now at the Lyric Theatre. Contact 02890381081 or online via


NI’s young people initiative to career success


A new initiative is now set to support to more than 4,000 young people in Belfast on getting on the road to career success over the next two years. Belfast City Council’s Career Development Programme will provide post-primary pupils with opportunities to experience the world of work, support them to making informed and important career choices and will help enable them in developing skills in innovation, creativity and enterprising.

Councillor Mairéad O’Donnell, Chair of Belfast City Council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee said that they are focused on creating quality employment for young people through their Belfast Agenda and that they want pupils, parents and teachers to be better informed about the growth sectors in Belfast, where employment opportunities exist and about the best career opportunities that exist, along with the best career pathways to take. She also spoke about how she feels the educational attainment is important for career success and how awareness of the world of work, real life work experience and the opportunity to engage with employers is important also.

The Career Development Program will give young people who are at risk of not attaining their five GCSE grades, additional support and mentoring. There will also be a range of workshops and an enterprise competition, which will help to develop businesses, creative skills and will also help young people find other routes such as self-employment with apprenticeships. Darren Nixon, who is the Senior Education Consultant and Partner with the eye4education programme, has stated that they are contacting various Belfast schools to offer their pupils the chance to register for the Career Development Programme that is in place. They are excited to welcome the first intake of students to help give them the level of support, motivation and encouragement that they need at this stage of development.


For more information on the Career Development Programme, go to:


Top Performing Castle Estate

Castle Leslie Estate has been recognised as a winner in three categories in the 2018 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards.  They scooped the awards for one of the Top 25 Hotels in Ireland, Top 25 Hotels for Romance in Ireland and Top 25 Best for Service in Ireland. These accolades, which honour hospitality excellence, are given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveller reviews on TripAdvisor. Only the top-performing 10 per cent of businesses listed on TripAdvisor receive these prestigious awards. To qualify, businesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months.


Castle Leslie is situated on 1,000 acres of Irish countryside, surrounded with ancient woodland and glittering lakes. It is one of the last great Irish castle estates still in the hands of its founding family and offers authentic original interiors and old-style hospitality and complete respite from the world.

The Lodge is the social hub of the Estate and brings locals and guests together in an atmosphere of conviviality and comfort. It houses Conor’s Bar, the 2 AA Rosette award winning Snaffles Restaurant and The Victorian Treatment Rooms.

The Old Stable Mews and Village Cottages are the perfect spot for guests that want the convenience of hotel living combined with private luxury home rental.

A host of activities are on offer including pike fishing for the nature enthusiast, a private cinema for movie buffs, exceptional walking trails for those who want to breathe in fresh country air, kayaking and clay pigeon shooting for the more adventurous, hot air balloon-rides for those looking for exhilaration, falconry for those to experience nature up close, a fabulous spa for rejuvenation and of course the famous world-class equestrian centre.

For further information on Castle Leslie Estate, please visit