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Magazine of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce




City Deal a catalyst for change Chinese Consul-General visit to city Four stars for the Waterfoot Hotel Bayview tees up for Open success

Directors of Moran’s Retail Limited, Donna and John Moran.




Tel : 028 7136 7707 2

19 Pennyburn Industrial Estate, Derry City, BT48 0LU

contents 6 PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE 12 LoganAir


A Day in the Life

16 Cover Story

The taste of success is sweet for Moran’s Retail Limited

51 O’Neills

Kieran Kennedy talks to Connected a year on from the opening of its Waterloo Place store

56 Chinese Delegation in historic

visit to city

61 Down Memory Lane

Donna Moran reminisces about how it all started at Moran’s Retail and how times have changed in the city

70 Welcome to the Chamber 78 The Final Word


By Colin Neill, Chief Executive of Hospitality Ulster




CONNECTED, Londonderry Chamber of Commerce’s full colour publication. Designed and produced by business people for business people. Distributed to businesses across the North West.

CONNECTED Magazine Editor Brown O’Connor Communications Content Editors Carol Kelly Mairead Reid Production & Design Big Moo Design Advertising Mairead Reid Email Address Front Cover Image Stephen Latimer Photography

Londonderry Chamber of Commerce President Brian McGrath Business Operations Manager Carol Kelly Business Development Executive Mairead Reid Events Manager Lorraine Allen Events & Communications Assistant Padraig Mallet

Welcome to Issue 10 of CONNECTED Magazine Welcome to the 10th edition of CONNECTED, the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce’s magazine. We are pleased to be able bring you this edition which features an array of businesses and good news stories from across the North West. During challenging times, it is great to be able to celebrate and showcase positivity from across the region. The last few years have not brought businesses in the North West much certainty, but despite the unpredictability and challenges being faced, we are extremely fortunate to have an ever-growing retail sector and a flourishing tourism and hospitality industry which draws people to our region. These pages map out some of the stories of the thriving retail sector here, including an overall picture of retail across Northern Ireland and the North West from the Director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, Aodhán Connolly. We are fortunate to have a vibrant retail sector and this edition also showcases some of the businesses who are working extremely hard right across the sector, presenting opportunities for growth and jobs and those who are making it known that the North West is open for business. We also feature businesses from across the tourism and hospitality sector in the North West, a sector that has been going from strength to strength in recent years. From the Derry Girls craze, to our historic and unique city walls, our tourism and hospitality sector has consistently risen to the challenge, welcoming all those who visit the region and encouraging them to return. The North West is certainly now on the global map. At Chamber, we are committed to delivering and promoting excellence and are proud of delivering first class customer service for all of our members. The whole Chamber team is here to help, and I would encourage you to get in touch with us – we love to hear from you and we love to share your stories and good news. I hope you enjoy this issue of CONNECTED and enjoy reading about some of the sectors in the North West that are going from strength to strength.

Accounts Assistant Caroline Murphy Business Operations Manager t: 028 7126 2379 w:  

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Disclaimer: Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy, the publisher accepts no responsibility for omissions or errors within this publication. Editorial submissions are included at the discretion of the editor. The opinions expressed in articles within this publication are not necessarily those of the Chamber. All offers, promotions and competitions appearing in CONNECTED are the sole responsibility of the advertiser/promoting party and Londonderry Chamber of Commerce does not accept any responsibility for any representations made within them.


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PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE Welcome to all of our members and thank you to those have contributed to this edition of CONNECTED magazine. The last few months have unfortunately brought no certainties for businesses across the North West with continued political deadlock, both at the local level here in Northern Ireland, and the continued paralysis over Brexit at Westminster. We appear to be as far away from a Brexit deal than ever, and this is being negatively accentuated here with the absence of Stormont, although a new talks process is underway as this issue goes to print. At Chamber, we will continue to engage with those in London, Dublin and Brussels to represent the needs of businesses and people here, making it clear that in order to do business, we need certainty about the road ahead. We will continue to ensure that your voice is communicated to those who need to hear it. The news of funding for the North West City Deal and the Inclusive Futures Fund has brought some positivity to the region in the midst of some turbulent months. The City Deal presents one of the greatest opportunities our region has seen, with the ability to bring widespread investment and economic benefit. The Chamber has long been a supporter of a City Deal for the region and we will be looking at how we can build on this and maximise the effects for the city and its stakeholders so that the benefits are felt widely. I would like to put on record my thanks to Derry City and Strabane District Council and the City Deal partners who have worked extremely hard over recent years to secure this funding. At Chamber, we look forward to seeing delivery of this on the ground by all stakeholders involved. Despite the upheaval and uncertainties of recent years, businesses in the North West have continually risen to the challenge and we are fortunate to have an ever-growing retail sector here which has gone from strength to strength. It is such dedication that has also helped the tourism and hospitality sector across the region grow enormously in recent times. The North West has become a must-see destination across the globe, and we cannot and must not let any uncertainties surrounding Brexit halt the progress that we have made.


Brian McGrath President of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce.

We have also witnessed large private sector investment in the North West, including a £47 million investment from Seagate into their Springtown plant. Such investments are a clear indication and endorsement that we are an important place to do business and emphasises that we have impressive talent and ability throughout the region. As part of my year as President, I have been keen to engage with you, the membership, to hear your views and how we can best represent you. It has been a busy few months of events and engagements and I am looking forward to continuing that dialogue with you over the coming months.

The hard working staff at the Chamber are also in the process of organising the Annual President’s Dinner which is taking place in the Everglades Hotel on 11 October. The Dinner is the biggest night of the year for Chamber and this year’s will not disappoint. I look forward to seeing you there.

Brian McGrath President of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce


Bishop’s Gate Hotel Wins NI’s ‘Best Hotel Stay’ Award at NI Tourism Awards Bishop’s Gate Hotel Derry-Londonderry has won Northern Ireland’s ‘Best Hotel Stay’ category at the prestigious NI Tourism Awards. Commenting on the achievement Ciaran O’Neill, Managing Director of Bishop’s Gate says: “The Northern Ireland Tourism Awards recognise and reward excellence, best practice and innovation by tourism and hospitality businesses across the country. So naturally, we’re thrilled to have won the ‘Best Hotel Stay’ award. “Bishop’s Gate is committed to excellence and our amazing team constantly strive to exceed customer expectations. This award shows that their dedication, enthusiasm and expertise is recognised and that the service they deliver for visitors is industry leading.” Earlier this year Micheál Farrell was voted the winner of the NI Hotels Federation (NIHF) ‘Hotel Receptionist of the Year’ and the reception team at Bishop’s Gate had further cause for celebration as they also won the ‘Hotel Reception of the Year’ category.

Bishop’s Gate also features in the annual 2019 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards. In the UK’s Top Hotels Overall category, the hotel was second, while in the Europe category it was 15th.

the prestigious Ireland’s Blue Book. The book is a guide to an impeccable collection of 56 country house hotels, manor houses, castles and restaurants located throughout the island of Ireland. 

The exquisite Grade B1 hotel has also been listed in the 45th Anniversary Edition of

For further information visit www.bishopsgatehotelderry. com

MEETINGS & EVENTS Bishop's Gate Hotel is the ideal place for great minds to discuss great ideas... ● Suitable for events from 6 - 90 delegates ● Event spaces boast natural daylight ● Complimentary Wi-Fi access ● 3 unique private dining areas ● 30 bedrooms available for residential delegates


Bishop’s Gate Hotel, 24 Bishop Street, Derry~Londonderry, BT48 6PP 028 7114 0300 e : w :



Station B&B Opens Doors

Station B&B opened its doors to the public back in February 2019, however, the team officially launched the opening of the stylish and elegantly restored Victorian Grade 1 Listed building on the 6th of June with an entertaining and thoughtprovoking opening event. Over 40 representatives from businesses across the city, and as far afield as the UK and USA were treated to a taste of the city’s first luxury boutique bed and breakfast which was also duly awarded a 4star rating at the event by Tourism NI. Driven by the vision and passion of Ursula Walsh and partners Station B&B will capture the essence of the historic walled city but fused with the latest and greatest guest technology more accustomed to 5-star hotels. Guests were impressed at the range of technology once inside the doors of the property. From a large 46” virtual concierge touchscreen promoting a host of local recommendations, Visit Derry events, Local Maps, Flights and weather to the impressive and first for Irish Hospitality the Apple TV In-room entertainment system. The Apple TV solution forms a key part of the thoughtfully appointed guest rooms, providing Station B&B guests with a complete in-room experience, fusing traditional front desk services and a myriad of entertainment options really personalises the guest stay and provides the comforts of home entertainment on the television. With 14 individual rooms, secure parking, full Irish breakfast service and an award-winning team at the helm Station B&B are gearing up for a busy summer season. To sample the city’s first 4-star Boutique Bed and Breakfast book direct for the best rates on


Dawson Hinds Rethinking Workspaces Office spaces have come a long way since the days of grey cubicles and breaks by the water cooler. The importance of office design to employee productivity and happiness is now widely embraced by long-running corporations, tech giants, and small businesses alike. A well-thought-out workplace should offer a variety of types of spaces in which people can work, and have the right technology and organisational culture in place to support their working in different spaces when they feel it’s useful. The flexible spaces can also be used for lunch breaks, and informal catch-ups, to run-ins of people in different teams and departments, and to accommodate remote workers when they visit. You might also want to consider how the workspace is decorated. Is it sterile and white? Do the wall colours reflect your organisation’s branding? Of course, incorporating branding into an inspiring office design scheme takes more thought than simply plastering the walls with your company logo and colours. A well designed

and expertly branded workspace strikes a balance between company imagery, aesthetics, sensory engagement, and functionality. Designing your values into your workplace is a powerful way to demonstrate your company’s adherence to its principles. Does your business aim to promote openness in discussion and the flow of information? Then perhaps glass meeting booths and an open floor plan would encourage collaboration and workplace transparency. Balancing beauty & functionality, discover our creative approach to the perfect office environment today:

Gravity in Rebrand March 2019 saw the rebranding of Gravity Architects, an award winning architectural studio based in London Street inside the City’s historic walls. Operating since 2015, the company has flourished by winning prestigious projects across Ireland and the UK. Diversification in the face of challenging economic times has been key to that growth. Reflecting on the growth of the company, Director Liam Nelis paid tribute to the young team assembled. “Employing local graduates and young architects was forefront in our business plan from inception. Challenging our team with this type of work was a risk worth taking as they have responded and developed hugely as a result” Gravity have delivered schemes ranging from a 174 unit new build apartment development in London to the refurbishment of 48 Portland Place, a Grade II listed building in the heart of London. More locally, bespoke new build residential homes and luxury home extensions, along with a strong CV of commercial fit outs in

The team at Gravity Architects.

bars, restaurants and shops has sustained this growth. Moving forwards, Gravity Architects plan to continue with their cautious and steady growth. Retaining the repeat clients they have along with the development of new relationships will be key to realising that ambition.



Learning Pool acquires HT2 Labs to create unique Learning Experience and Analytics Solutions

Dr Ben Betts, CEO HT2 Labs. James Mullaney, Technical Director HT2 Labs. Deborah Limb, Chief Operations Officer Learning Pool. Mark Lynch, Chief Technical Officer Learning Pool.

Leading online learning company, Learning Pool, has today announced the acquisition of HT2 Labs, the Oxfordshire-based learning innovation company best known for its market-leading Learning Locker and Curatr products. HT2 Labs, led by Dr Ben Betts, is the third business to join the Learning Pool Group in the last three years following the acquisitions of Mind Click in Nottingham and MediaCorp in Glasgow. HT2 is a true pioneer in learning technologies, with a well earned reputation for creating leading edge learning solutions that use modern technology to deliver innovative business outcomes. Globally, HT2 Labs has more than twelve thousand installations of Learning Locker, making it the world’s most-installed Learning Record Store (LRS), and its Curatr Learning Experience Platform (LXP) scooped gold for ‘Best advance in Social Learning’ in the Brandon Hall Group Excellence awards last year. The company recently won The Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation and their incorporation strengthens Learning Pool’s own portfolio of innovative technology whilst further enhancing domestic and international operations with offices near Oxford, UK and


Boston, Massachusetts. Learning Pool is already an HT2 Labs partner; reselling Learning Locker to customers and using the technology as a core part of Headstream; the company’s own next-generation LXP. This acquisition will see the rapid deployment of the world’s first technology platform that offers genuine learning in the workflow through social learning and curation, AI-recommendation and natural language processing, advanced analytics and chatbot technology. Speaking about the acquisition, Learning Pool’s CEO Paul McElvaney said, “ We’re delighted to welcome Ben, Alan and the HT2 Labs team to Learning Pool. We’ve been admirers of HT2 Labs’ products for a long time and are excited to be working even more closely with a team who share our passion for innovation; creating positive business impact and driving customer service. Our ambition remains to be at the forefront of L&D innovation; delivering world-class learning technologies and content for our growing, diverse network of customers. By bringing HT2 Labs into the Learning Pool Group, we’re positioning ourselves to fully deliver on that.”

Ben Betts, CEO at HT2 Labs said, “ Joining forces with Learning Pool will enable us to quickly deliver the innovation we’re known for but at a much greater scale. Both businesses have a passion for learning and an incredible focus on delivering exceptional customer service and measurable results for our clients around the world. Our vision is effective, seamless, right-sized e-learning delivered at the moment of need on the most appropriate device, using the most appropriate learning approach. The combined product roadmap we’ve drawn up means that we can make that future available to customers right now.” Ben is reinvesting in Learning Pool as part of the transaction and will join the executive team at Learning Pool as Chief Product Officer with lead responsibility for the company’s innovation strategy. Central to this will be the creation of Learning Pool Labs, an ambitious initiative that offers Learning Pool staff and customers an opportunity to investigate real-world problems and develop pioneering learning solutions that improve business outcomes. Learning Pool is backed by Carlyle Cardinal Ireland (CCI), an investment fund sponsored by The Carlyle Group and Cardinal Capital Group. CCI invested in Learning Pool in 2016 to support its continued growth and development. Since then the company has enjoyed triple digit growth and completed three acquisitions. The Company has doubled its workforce in the last 3 years. Advisors to Learning Pool were Millar McCall Wylie LLP led by Corporate Partner Damian McParland assisted by Louise Cavanagh and Scott Kennedy (Corporate), Andrew Kerr (Property) and Jan Cunningham (Employment). Corporate Finance advice was provided by David McCloy (Beltrae Partners). Advisors to HT2 Labs were White & Black led by Partner Stephen Silvester, assisted by Suzanne Whiteman.


Fleming Agri Products gets new development under way Fleming Agri Products design, manufacture and sell a range of agricultural machinery products for the farming industry alongside a portfolio of grounds-care machines for the amenities, parkland and sport field markets. Continued sales growth in the UK and Irish markets, as well as an expanding export demand for the Fleming range of products has outstripped the company’s current capacity.

The new facility will increase capacity as well as improving the overall efficiency levels throughout the existing production process. The new factory will incorporate a new welding production area, a new product cleaning and preparation room, spray painting and finishing room to facilitate the production of a number of new product developments for the industry.

Planning permission has now been received and work has started on a new 22,000 sq. ft. factory at the company’s premises in Newbuildings just outside the city.

In early 2018 the company was employing 100 staff and operating 2 shifts. Due to increased product demand the company had to introduce a new

Richard Gamble, Managing Director of G.A Gambles & Son LTD with Jonathan Lecky, Managing Director of Fleming Agri Products LTD.

week-end shift, increasing staff levels to 115. The main contractor J A Gamble & Co is on schedule at present and is expected to have the new factory ready for occupation by early October when there will be a wide range of career opportunities available in design, Finance, sales, robotics, welding, production operatives and spray painting. When the new facility is fully operational in 2020, Fleming expect to have employment levels at approximately 135 staff.

Sixteen22 Gastro pub opens at Beechhill Just opened, Sixteen22 Gastro Pub at Beech Hill Country House in Derry - Londonderry is a casual dining restaurant with a difference! Showcasing the most uniquely delicious dishes, original cocktails and a long list of wines & beers.

‘With a great mix of both popular options and exciting twists on traditional dishes, we’re proud to be bringing something new to Derry Londonderry. As with our fine dining Ardmore Restaurant all our seasonal fruit, vegetables & herbs are sourced from Beech Hill’s very own walled garden along with the best of local meat, fish and game. We are also excited to be teaming up with local distillery & our favourite Gin supplier Muff Liquor to be our house pour’ explains Beech Hill Director Sam Harding.   Aptly named Sixteen22, the year the original Beech Hill Manor House was built – Sixteen22 is very intentionally in

keeping with its old-world surroundings. ‘It was important for us to honour the hundreds of years of history behind Beech Hill.’ You can still see the original walls of the 400-year-old manor house, coupled with the beautiful authentic stone flooring you actually feel like you have stepped back in time.    Reservations not necessary & open 7 days a week – the team at Beech Hill look forward to seeing you at Sixteen22!



Customer service at the heart of Loganair Captain’s work A Day In The Life Name: Douglas Colman Age: 41 Home town: Biggar, South Lanarkshire Company: Loganair Job Title: Captain In February, Scottish airline, Loganair, was appointed to operate flights between the City of Derry Airport and London Stansted. This vital route provides a key link between the cities and aids businesses in the region by enabling them to do round day trips. Loganair also operates the popular Derry to Glasgow route and has recently added a new daily service to Manchester. With Loganair providing such vital gateway services for the region, we caught up with Douglas Colman who has worked for Loganair for 8 years and often captains the Derry City to Glasgow route.

Describe what your job involves As Captain, my job involves managing the safe and efficient operation of the aircraft, ensuring that our customers get to their destination safely and as close to schedule as possible.

Describe in detail a day in your work No two days at Loganair are ever the same. Usually it involves getting up at 4am to be at the crew room for a 6am report. At Glasgow pilots and cabin crew report 1 hour before departure which gives us time to print the flight logs, check the weather, discuss operational aspects and importantly, grab a coffee. We normally operate four flights per day and return to Glasgow at the end of the day.

What has been your most memorable day in work? It has to be when I flew the Olympic Torch around the Islands of Scotland during the London 2012 Olympic Games. It was great to be part of such an historic event and one that I will always remember.

What is your greatest achievement? Without a doubt, getting my first airline job. Airline pilots have to commit themselves to years of intensive study, not to mention having to pay large sums of money for their initial training without any guarantee of a job at the end, so when that job offer finally comes through, the sense of achievement and reward is amazing.

What’s the best advice you have ever been given in work? To remember that we carry customers and not passengers. The airline industry is now so competitive that we must try and distinguish ourselves from other


carriers. One way which we can do this is to give each and every person who boards a Loganair flight excellent customer service, and with our smaller aircraft serving local communities it’s something that I believe Loganair does extremely well.

Tell us something that people might not know about flying When two aircraft pass each other directly above or below one another then we sometimes flash our lights to say hello. It’s pretty good fun, especially at night.

What is your favourite route that you fly? My favourite route that we fly is actually Derry. I love the challenge of the extremely short flight time from Glasgow as we are only in the cruise for a few minutes before starting the descent. If you have a moment and the weather is favourable, then the view is pretty amazing too. Scotland and Ireland have such close historic and cultural ties so it’s a real privilege to be able to serve both communities.

Trim Line

Subject to availability.




Is your insurance policy fit for purpose? Let’s face it, no-one buys insurance because they simply fancy a new policy or because they’ve got bored with the old one. They buy because they have to – because they are legally obliged to be insured or because they feel they have to protect themselves, or their business, from unacceptable risk. More than that, they buy in the fervent hope that they will never actually use the product they have chosen. Insurance has always been price sensitive. If you don’t plan to use a product, then why spend more than you need to? With memories of the recent recession still fresh in the mind, overheads have been driven further up the business agenda, added to which the insurance sector has had to cope with an explosion in competition through the Internet and new players entering the Northern Ireland market. It says much for the value driven professionalism of the sector here that Find Insurance have remained strong and that independent businesses such as our own have not only held onto, but have grown, market share. Low-cost deals are hugely attractive to a business that is working hard to keep a cap on overheads, but buyers really need to think through what they are getting for their money before they commit. If you have to claim, could you discover clauses that leave your business unprotected? Will insurers prevaricate and delay payment? Can you even speak to someone about your problems? SMEs need to be confident that if something untoward happens and they need to make a claim on their insurance, their broker will respond in an efficient and timely manner. Undue delay can cost money, clients, and can inflict lasting damage on a business… and, while you are wrestling with that insurance claim, remember that your competitors could be circling overhead!


Colin Mullan the Managing Director of Find Insurance NI.

Businesses are becoming more astute about the choices they make and, for the future, I predict that the relationship between business and broker will deepen and become more sophisticated. That’s partly as a result of our industry’s renewed focus on service and the attention that the best brokers are now giving to relationship building. It is also a result of buyers recognising the cost advantage of developing a partnership with a key supplier and, as we all know, you have to work at a good relationship.

My advice is to get your broker involved right from the outset so that you can get advice on ‘gaps’ in cover or areas where you are left exposed to risk. Don’t assume that your broker will spot those gaps without the benefit of a really detailed brief. Many businesses have had to change and adapt processes and products to maintain their market share. If your insurer doesn’t know you’ve changed your business model, you could be running the risk of not having indemnity in the event of a claim.

DERRY-LONDONDERRY OFFICE 42-44 Spencer Road Derry – Londonderry Northern Ireland BT47 6AA

OPENING HOURS Monday-Friday : 9.00am-5.00pm EMAIL

LANDLINE 028 7131 1171


Find Insurance NI, Derry Chamber’s Commercial Insurance Corporate Partner

    15


The Sweet Taste of Success Some of the team at Moran’s Retail Limited.

CONNECTED talks to Donna Moran, co-Director of Moran’s Retail, about the company’s exciting store transformations and the team that make the company a success. Mention the name Moran’s to anyone from Derry and they will immediately think of freshly cut sandwiches on the freshest breads, a myriad of salads, delicious hot food, all day breakfast, Mexican burritos and scrumptious baked sweet treats, the list goes on. Coupled with the friendliest customer service, its no wonder Moran’s has gone from strength to strength over the years. The retail and catering group is run by formidable husband and wife team Donna and John Moran, who are well known in the city for innovation in customer service and a commitment service excellence. Donna and John’s initial foray into business together could not have been more different to the foodfocused retailing experience they offer today. Prior to 1996, the game was mechanics and forecourts. “We originally ran Foyleside Tyre and Exhausts and then Breico. Although


they were both garages, we always operated a forecourt and convenience store, so whilst it was a different model of business to what we do today, customer service and convenience has always been at the heart of what we do.” Over time, and in response to changing consumer trends, the duo saw greater potential in the forecourt and convenience store model which is what led them to working with Musgraves to open the first Centra in the city in 1997. This was only the third such store in Northern Ireland at the time and offered a completely revitalised approach to convenience shopping in the city. This approach is what Donna likes to think is what keeps customers coming back. “We loved the store format and thought we could really make it work in Derry. Our recent upgrade of our Moran’s Centra store on the Strand Road is part of our continuous effort to keep things fresh. We have also

Directors Donna and John Moran.

undertaken extensive upgrades at our Coleraine Centre store, and also our Super Valu store in Ballykelly. We also have teamed up with LCC under the GO brand, to bring a better-quality fuel offering and very competitive prices. The work is ongoing and never stops but once these three new store redevelopments are rolled out, I’ll be happy to hang up my builder’s hard hat for a while!”


was because of that. Yes, it is mostly about providing quality goods but the entire shopping experience matters to customers and that means our physical store infrastructure has to meet expectations as well.” More recently, the family business has diversified into outside catering for special celebrations including weddings and high-end corporate events. The company’s foray into the private catering market has not only gone smoothly but is exceeding expectations. Donna credits the company’s overall success to a number of factors, not least of which is the staff team they employ across three sites, now totalling 142 people.

The company have invested heavily in refurbishing and updating their three stores in Derry, Ballykelly and Coleraine. This represents a £2.4 million investment and has created 50 new jobs in the process.

“For us, it is important to be a modern retailer with stores that people enjoy shopping in. Customers vote with their feet, if they get what they want and have a pleasant shopping experience then they will keep coming back.

Donna says that the decision to invest heavily in their stores is testament to the company’s commitment to providing customers with the best shopping experience in the service they get, the products they buy and the place in which they shop.

“When it comes to food, customers want quality and perfect cleanliness. Add bright, shiny, modern stores, with friendly customer service that are well-kept and you have a winner. Part of our decision to make this huge investment in regenerating our stores

There is no magic formula to it. For us, our staff really are our greatest asset. We have built up a strong team over the past couple of decades and we are really lucky that some of our staff are still with us from those early days. Our longest serving employee is with us more than twenty years! That is one of the things I am most proud of. Our team are part of the wider Moran’s family and that is no coincidence.

“From the early days we made the decision to invest in our staff. We understand that in today’s competitive retail market, people buy people, and ensuring our staff are not only well-trained, but happy at work makes a big difference to our bottom line because customers will come back if they’ve been served well.”



McCAY SOLICITORS LAUNCH “EMPLOYER PROTECT” INSURANCE PRODUCT Award-winning North West law firm, McCay Solicitors, have launched an innovative new insurance product enabling businesses to insure against employment law claims brought by employees. “Employer Protect” covers both the legal costs of defending a claim and pays any compensation awarded to an employee. The cover can be expanded to include health and safety claims by employees. Legal Expense Insurance products have long existed as a bolt-on to Employer Liability Insurance however Employer Protect is unique in that it is administered by McCay Solicitors right from providing the quotation through to defending the claim at Tribunal. Managing Director Gareth McCay explains “Employment Law is our largest practice area and we have acted for our own clients under their legal in-

surance products but a lot of time was wasted liaising with insurers attempting to decline cover or misleading clients that they are obliged to use the insurer’s panel solicitor. This is lost management time for a business arguing over cover or travelling to Belfast to meet with panel solicitors who do not know the business or value a future relationship as their priority is the insurer. With all that in mind we have been working on this product and we are delighted to finally roll it out.” “Employment Tribunal claims are an employer’s worst nightmare with an unfair dismissal or discrimination claim costing around £15,000 to defend and compensation awards potentially exceeding that figure five-fold. Unlike the court system, the Employment Tribunal does not operate on “loser-pays” as both parties bear their own costs meaning it is often a no-win situation for employers. We have had

Gareth McCay, Managing Director of McCay Solicitors.

cases of employees bringing completely misconceived claims and the employer having to outlay substantial funds to defend the claim. We often see employers paying out on an entirely meritless claim as commercially it would cost them more to successfully defend the claim. Employer Protect is designed to empower employers of all sizes in such scenarios with premiums as low as £5 per employee per annum.” “The legal industry evolves a lot slower than other sectors but we listen to our clients which is why we offer a solution such as Employer Assist in addition to the option to pay legal fees on a fixed monthly retainer or the traditional hourly rate. Our employment team offer a full-service solution in that they draft contracts and handbooks, provide day to day HR support, advise on disciplinary and grievance issues and ultimately defend the business in any proceedings. Nothing beats having the same person dealing with a matter from start to finish.” McCay Solicitors opened in DerryLondonderry in 2015 and the firm have gone from strength to strength, moving to new premises in the City Factory in 2017 and opening a further office in Strabane in 2018. The firm’s headcount has increased four-fold and it now provides services in the areas of Employment Law, Commercial Law, Litigation, Property, Probate and Family Law. To obtain a no-obligation quote email or to discuss any matter with McCay Solicitors call 02871 371705.





INSURANCE Other Services:

Our Offices:

Our team of solicitors provide bespoke legal advice in the areas of :

Derry~Londonderry Office:

- Employment Law - Commercial Law - Civil/Commercial Litigation

City Factory, 8 North Edward Street, Derry~Londonderry, Northern Ireland, BT48 7EF (028) 7137 1705 Strabane Office:

- Property

Unit 43 Strabane Enterprise Agency, Orchard Road Industrial Estate, Orchard Road Strabane, Co Tyrone, BT82 9FR

- Family/Matrimonial

(028) 7187 8177

- Wills & Probate

- Clinical Negligence



O2 Business made simple at FTZ Fone Trading Zone (FTZ) is a leading mobile communications business with two O2 franchise stores, an O2 Call Centre and a dedicated O2 Business Centre. It became the first O2 franchise in Northern Ireland and now has two stores in the north and eight 3 IE stores in the south. CONNECTED speaks to Director Gerard Doherty about what makes the company unique. FTZ offers a bespoke mobile communications service with a difference. With a customer focused approach to retail, the company has been trading from its Spencer Road store since 2007 and is steadily growing. Gerard, who opened the first mobile phone store in Claudy in 2002 with Clayre Doherty, discusses what makes the business stand out from its competition. “Having extensive experience in mobile communications, along with a strong vision and value base, we wanted to create a customer centric environment with a strong focus on engagement and people. Our customers are at the heart of everything we do and if we don’t deliver what they need, then they won’t come back. Getting that right is important.”

The dedicated business team at FTZ Ltd on Spencer Road.

FTZ offers a full range of mobile phone services, but its key focus is on business communications and the tailored packages they offer companies and businesspeople. In 2017, FTZ launched a dedicated business team that deals with O2 Business accounts ranging from 1 number to 300 numbers. It serves local companies such as Diamond Corrugated, McCambridge & Duffy and Dawson Hinds. The company believes that consistency is key to maintaining business relationships and each business customer has its own personal account manager working within the business hub. The account manager deals directly with each individual business and presents the best solutions based on what the client needs. “We regard our business package model as unique to the industry. In providing a direct account manager for each business, we really get to know our clients, and what they need from us. Our Business Development Managers understand our clients and their business needs and we know they need someone to cut through the jargon and serve them up a package that is specific to them.”

Gerard Doherty, one of the directors at FTZ Ltd.


Located on the busy Spencer Road in the Waterside, FTZ is a retailer dedicated to the city and keeping retailers on the high street. “Derry is turning into a fast-paced city with lots of opportunity for retailers to grow. We pride ourselves on delivering a local service for our customers on the high street, contributing to a vibrant retail market here.” Gerard is also very aware of the need for good connectivity for a business, especially in an increasingly global environment. The company offers a suite of products that can help businesses from mobile call recording to Office 365 packages, to complement workforce phones and tablets. “FTZ is also committed to improving connectivity for our customers and finding new solutions for them. Most businesses work in a global environment so making sure they can talk to someone on the other side of the world without a second thought is crucial and we are keen to support that as far as possible.” If you want to find out more about FTZ, why not contact them on 0333 121 0202 or email

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chamber life Chamber President Brian McGrath and Minister of State for N-Ireland John Penrose MP.

It’s been a whirlwind few months as we have celebrated city deal, hosted a number of important visits to the city, and delivered some excellent networking events in partnership with our members. The lack of progress at Stormont rumbles on, but in our vibrant business community here in the North West, work is continuing apace, and the summer is tantalisingly close on the horizon. But before we take a break for the two summer months, let’s look at what we got up to since the last edition of CONNECTED hit the shelves. On 22nd March, the Beech Hill Country House launched its Business Club by inviting members to an exclusive lunch. As guests dined on the finest cuisine, the hotel showcased its new accommodation, marquee and team-building facilities to those gathered. On 27th March, our resident HR consultant Julie Pollock from Consult HR delivered another excellent event to Chamber members. Designed to give our members some very real tips and learning points, the workshop looked at the top five mistakes that businesses commonly make when managing staff.


The event was kindly sponsored by Rainbow Communications. Dennis Finngean from Grofuse delivered a practical workshop on 3rd April focusing on the fundamentals of Search Engine Optimisation to help businesses maximise website visibility on online search engines and help them win more customers. Particularly suited to small and medium-sized businesses, attendees gained a solid understanding of what SEO is, how it works, what it can be used for, and most importantly, how to increase business visibility when people are searching on Google. On 9th April, we hosted a GDPR & Data Protection Responsibilities Workshop at our offices. This was a useful refresher session for our members. Alicia McCrory of Briefed spoke about the responsibilities on data protection awareness, managing a data breach or subject access requests, and gave best practice advice to businesses about ensuring GDPR compliancy. Briefed have been specialising in this area for more than five years, providing organisations throughout the UK and Ireland with the framework they need to ensure their company is data protection compliant.


Chamber board Directors with Minister of State for N-Ireland John Penrose MP.

Chamber of Commerce to host the EURES Cross Border Tax Breakfast Briefing at An Grianan Hotel in Burt. An event of significant importance to both of our members due to Brexit uncertainty, this seminar provided cross border workers and employers with information on social security and tax issues such as redundancy payments, pension lump sums, tax relief on pension contributions, tax requirements for cross border workers, social insurance benefits and pensions in a cross-border situation. Rose Tierney of Tierney Tax Consultancy advised attendees on implications for companies with staff members who work in both jurisdictions.

Joe Lavery, EURES Cross Border Partnership Co-ordinator, Rose Tierney, Tierney Tax Consultancy, Brian McGrath, President L’Derry Chamber Brian McGrath.

The 16th April saw our President, Brian McGrath, meet with John Penrose MP, Minister of State for Northern Ireland regarding the City Deal for the North West region. Along with a delegation from the Chamber, Brian emphasised the importance of a City Deal to the Minister and the invaluable opportunities that it could bring and unlock across the region. A range of topics were discussed during the visit including infrastructure in the region, road and rail services, digital infrastructure, the expansion

of Magee University. The scaling up of research and innovation assets in a number of areas such as health and life sciences, medicine, analytics and AI, robotics, and advanced manufacturing were also raised. It was emphasised to Minister Penrose that a City Deal would help to fuel the regional economy and transform opportunities to enable the North West to compete on a global stage. On 1st May, we worked in collaboration with our partners just across the border at the Letterkenny

Carol Kelly the EURES Advisor for the area informed attendees of the free services offered by the EURES Cross Border Partnership. The event helped establish and strengthen networks between EURES advisers and employers. In the age of social media, being able to sell yourself and communicate effectively online these days is crucial in business. It’s hardly surprising therefore that Aligned B2B’s workshop on Effective Digital Marketing with LinkedIn on 15th May was a sell-out. This incredibly useful event taught attendees how to harness the marketing power of LinkedIn for sales. They also learned how to effectively brand their pages and engage their employees with content and campaigns relative to them.



On 15th May, representatives from Chamber including past President Jennifer McKeever met with the Low Pay Commission (LPC) at the Maldron Hotel. The LPC is the independent body that advises the government on the National Living and Minimum Wage rates. The purpose of the meeting was to get a more informed view of the effects of the minimum wages ‘on the ground’. The meeting addressed key issues affecting the retail sector, including issues with industry growth, inflation rates, employees’ hourly contracts, and also pay issues including the minimum wage. Concerns were also addressed from the hospitality and tourism sector regarding room pricing, skills and training issues, VAT rates, and pay for workers in these industries. The Bishop’s Gate Hotel was the venue for Loganair’s Business

Members and Non Members connecting to discuss potential business to business trade

Breakfast on 29th May. Held just days after Loganair’s new service took off between Derry and Manchester, a vital link for the city, the event was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the

launch of the new flight route President of the Chamber, Brian McGrath welcomed guests, followed by Colin Gracey, Sales Manager of

Tax Expert Rose Tierney presents information on Tax issues and Social Security for the Cross Border Workers in our region.



Pictured at Loganair Business Breakfast is Chamber President Brian McGrath, Charlene Shongo, Airport Manager, CODA, Jonathan Hinkles, MD Loganair, Colin Gracey, Loganair, Sales Manager

Loganair and Charlene Shongo, Airport Manager of City of Derry Airport. The keynote speaker at the breakfast was Jonathan Hinkles, Managing Director of Loganair. The event took guests through the Loganair journey so far, showcasing the latest flight routes from City of Derry Airport to London Stansted and Manchester, and highlighting that Loganair now operates up to 1,300 flights per week on routes across the UK, Norway, Germany, Belgium and Republic of Ireland. The breakfast also included a prize draw for flights between Derry and Stansted and Derry and Manchester for one lucky guest! On 5th June, we hosted our summer Speed Networking event at the Everglades Hotel, kindly sponsored by Rainbow Communications. Well attended by businesses from both sides of the border, attendees were addressed by David Beatty, Director of Technical Sales at Rainbow Communications. They also took part in our speed networking event which provides one of the most fun and effective ways to develop member connections and promote business to business trade. We rounded up the last few months with the grand opening of Station B&B on 6th June. The only 4-star B&B in Derry, a number of invited guests were greeted with a sparkling

reception and a sumptuous buffet lunch as well as a guided tour of the Victorian Grade 1 listed property, its accommodation and facilities. The event was also an opportunity for Station B&B to showcase its digital concierge service, Monscierge, which allows guests to use touchscreens Summer Speed Networking Sponsor David Beatty, Director in the property to of Technical Sales at Rainbow Communications speaks to check flight statuses, attendees local amenities, local weather, send digital postcards and even check out at the touch of a button. Speakers on the day included Airporter’s Jennifer McKeever, Liam Walsh, Station B&B and Managing Director of Moncierge, and Christy Doherty, Vice President of Our key annual event, the Global Sales and part owner of President’s Annual Dinner will Station B&B. take place on Friday 11th October in the Everglades The owner of Station B&B was also Hotel. presented with their 4-star

Look Forward

accreditation for the property by Samantha Corr from Tourism NI.

A prize draw was also made for a night’s stay at Station B&B including champagne on arrival.

The event will be compered by broadcaster Claire McCollum and after dinner entertainment is from comedian, Neil Delamere. Tickets are now on sale. Make sure to book early to avoid disappointment.



Celebrations are well and truly underway at Waterfoot Hotel! Under new ownership since 2018, the hotel has recently completed a full refurbishment project and received its 4 star grading from Tourism Northern Ireland. The redevelopment of the property has allowed the grand personality of the building to shine. The designer, Janice Moore, has created the perfect blend of old with new, creating a look that is contemporary yet still comfortable and inviting. From the luxuriously refurbished bedrooms to the cosy and traditional snug bar, the Waterfoot is a modern hotel with a twist of traditional heritage. Having overseen the hotel’s transformation, the management team of Denise McLaughlin and Amanda Creagh are determined to continue to make their mark on the local hospitality industry. Denise, the hotel’s General Manager, has been at the property for three years. She explains that it re-

Denise Mc Laughlin, General Manager

Amanda Creagh, Assistant General Manager

mained “business as usual at the hotel during the refurbishment. We were vigilant to ensure that we were still able to offer hotel guests and visitors a high level of service. Every aspect of the project was carefully planned.”

Denise is no stranger to the hospitality circuit. With over 20 years’ experience, she prides herself on the exceptional team that she has helped to build at the hotel.

“Without doubt, you are only as good Our vision was to create the as your team. I am very blessed to be best use of the space and surrounded by hard ensure guest satisfaction was working and optimized on all levels. We visualised a committed property and product offering that colleagues who would ensure that customers went home continually turn up each day talking about us and wanting to return.”



to deliver the best service for all our guests coming through. I am thrilled to be part of the regeneration of the venue and add a brand new 4 star hotel to the City’s portfolio of hotels.” “Customer satisfaction is a central value to all of us at the Waterfoot. The team of management and staff who help deliver our product do so selflessly every day. They are dedicated to welcoming guests into our beautiful City and making sure that they have a fantastic experience.” With a great team delivering top quality service in revitalised surroundings, it really is the beginning of a brand new chapter in the Waterfoot Journey.




As an important part of North West Ireland’s economy and the local community for 60 years, the 450-acre Maydown site on Clooney Road has new owners and a new name: The LYCRA Company. Purchased by Shandong Ruyi in January 2019, the new company is named for LYCRA® fibre, the original branded elastane fibre that is produced at the site. LYCRA® fibre sets the standard as the world’s best-known elastane fibre brand. The fibre transforms garments delivering fit, shape and comfort that lasts. Lightweight and nearly invisible, you’ll find there’s a versatile range of LYCRA® fibres inside everything from cycling apparel to swimwear, denim to hosiery, shirts to suits, socks to diapers. As one of the leading employers in the area, The LYCRA Company

prides itself on being a responsible operator and a good corporate citizen with a principled approach to business. Maydown is also committed to reducing waste and saving energy, and even operates a combined heat and power cogeneration facility on site that provides its utilities. The LYCRA Company has deep roots in the local community, but it also has a strong global presence. In addition to exporting products all over the world, its highly trained staff is often asked to share technical expertise in engineering, manufacturing, and R&D with other sites and customers. “This is a very exciting year for us at Maydown as we are celebrating our new company and 60 years in operation,” said Kevin Kelly, Site Manager.

Q: What are the advantages of operating in North West Ireland?

MEET THE SITE MANAGER Kevin Kelly, who grew up in the North West, has worked at Maydown since 1988. Learn more about The LYCRA Company in this Q&A.”


A: Thanks to the space available to us here, we have undertaken many expansions over the years that have been successfully executed by our high-calibre workforce. Our site has been able to attract and retain a strong team by accessing the talent pool from local schools and universities.

Q: How would you describe your company culture? A: Our company culture is built on clearly defined principles, with ethics and compliance serving as the foundation of

“We’re also expanding our iconic LYCRA® brand portfolio by producing new innovations and product enhancements designed to meet consumers’ needs.”

our business. All employees are treated fairly and with respect, and they are expected to act with integrity, comply with all laws and regulations, and report any issues.

Q: What is Maydown’s approach to health and safety? A: We have world-class health and safety performance standards, which results in low incident and injury rates. Recently, we pioneered the HSE-NI Recognising Excellence Program and our Environmental management system is ISO 14001:2015 certified.


THE EVERGLADES HOTEL: YOUR EVENT IS OUR BUSINESS From business, meetings, small-scale seminars to large gala dinners, the Everglades Hotel sets the standard for business events.

the fantastic facilities and excellent location are just some of the reasons the hotel continues to be the venue of choice.

The hotel is the perfect location for any event, just five minutes from the city centre with free onsite car parking, and a fantastic range of rooms to choose from including four fully-equipped executive suites; each fitted with air conditioning for the comfort of delegates and includes natural daylight or beautiful features! Alternatively, the magnificent Grand Ballroom can accommodate up to 600 guests and is perfect for business or team building, an exhibition, product launch or special occasion. Neil Devlin, General Manager, of the Everglades Hotel is confident

“The Everglades Hotel has established itself as one of the North West’s busiest business hotels. Feedback from customers has shown the hotel is popular with business customers due to our central location, excellent staff and bespoke packages which we tailor to suit the client’s requirements.” “Our Grand Ballroom is the largest event space in the North West and since it opened just over two years ago we have been able to attract new events to the city, including larger conferences, which in turn provides a massive economic benefit to Derry-Londonderry

as a whole throughout the year,” Neil concluded. With room hire available from just £125 and tailormade packages to suit individual requirements, the experienced events team can help meet your every request. What’s more, the Everglades Hotel is passionate about food and prides itself on its dedication to local

provenance. Delegates can therefore look forward to an exciting choice of menus boasting the very best of local produce. For further information contact Catrina Myers, Business Development Manager of the Everglades Hotels on 028 7134 0015 or email or go to



at the Everglades Big Band Party Nights, Dine and Disco Nights and Showtime Call the Everglades on 028 7132 1066 and quote “Chamber” before 1st September to get £5 off per person




Fleadh Cheoil Dhoire 2019 visitors flock to City Fleadh success breeds fleadh success for business Reflecting on the “success” of Fleadh Cheoil Dhoire 2019, Comhaltas County Chairperson, Brendan Molloy said Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann could return to Derry “at some stage in the future.” Speaking to CONNECTED Magazine, Brendan said: “With full, cross-sectoral support and collaboration, it’s a possibility, a number of years down the line. “The undoubted success of May’s County Fleadh, has evoked memories of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2013. Ten months in the planning, the eclectic, extremely well attended programme of events and sessions, gave people a taste of what could be expected should Derry host a future All Ireland. “It was great to have music, singing, recitation, dancing and Irish back on the streets, back in the city centre, the local school, Coláiste Bhríde, the heart of the community. Family and community

are what CCÉ Baile na gCailleach and Comhaltas is all about. We had a great week,” smiled Brendan. Recalling ‘The Sharing – Comhcheol’ in First Derry Presbyterian Church, Brendan acknowledged Reverend David Latimer and his congregation. He said: “‘The Sharing – Comhcheol’ was a beautiful event and very well supported. It showed good city spirit, good civic spirit, what can be achieved when people work together.” Fulsome in his praise of Fleadh Cheoil Dhoire 2019’s sponsors, Brendan thanked: Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann; Derry City and Strabane District Council; Studio 2 Arts’ Centre; The Community Fund; and Big Lottery. Brendan added: “However, let’s not forget our local sponsors, the bars, the restaurants, the sponsors included

Packed Bank Holiday Monday Guildhall Square with dancers enjoying the Fleadh Cheoil Dhoire 2019 Masters’ Concert.

throughout the Fleadh Clár. In addition, we had many, people who quietly donated in kind. On behalf of CCÉ Baile na gCailleach, I would like to say how much their generosity was appreciated. “Our thanks must also go to the Comhaltas stalwarts, including Uachtarán, Vince Jordan and his wife Anne, who travelled from far and near to be in Derry to support the city and the craobh.” “Thanks too to the staff of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Studio 2 and the Guildhall for their courtesy. Absolutely nothing was too much bother for them,” concluded a beaming Brendan.

Stay in the heart of the Ci ty Maldron Hotel Derry

Hotel facilities at a glance • 4 Star hotel • City Centre location • On-site car park (limited spaces) • 90 guest bedrooms including 3 superb suites • Complimentary WiFi • Grain & Grill Restaurant & Lyric Barr & Grill • Conference facilities which can accommodate 2-300 delegates theatre style • Banqueting suite for up to 200 guests


+44 28 7137 1000


Gateway to the Wild Atlantic in Inishowen The Inishowen Gateway Hotel in Buncrana is a three-star property located on the Inishowen peninsula in the North West - an area of outstanding natural beauty and the hidden treasure of Donegal’s stunning landscape. Located only a short 15 minute drive from Derry and 30 minutes from Letterkenny, our Hotel in Donegal offers an ideal base to explore the surrounding area and the Wild Atlantic Way route. Together with 80 newly refurbished bedrooms and our newly redecorated Reception area, our guests can enjoy complimentary golf on Buncrana Golf Course, a Leisure Centre with 20 metre swimming pool, jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and gym or avail of a relaxing spa treatment in the Seagrass Spa & Wellbeing Centre throughout their stay.

At the Inishowen Gateway Hotel Hotel Donegal, we pride ourselves in offering some of the finest conference facilities in Donegal. The hotel is one of the most ideally located conference venues in Donegal and has ample on-site car parking facilities available. Boasting spectacular views over Lough Swilly and the surrounding mountains, both our conference rooms have been built with an emphasis on comfort, convenience, and the latest in modern technology and design. The Inishowen Gateway Donegal hotel’s spectacular location and stunning views of North Donegal is an excellent backdrop for all your business requirements. This 3 Star Hotel in Donegal can cater for conferences, meetings and corporate events of all sizes and has everything you need for the perfect event in one location.


The ideal location in the North West for all your business needs ... We can cater for conferences, meetings and corporate events of all sizes. HOTEL FACILITIES AT A GLANCE: - Two Conference Suites that can accommodate from 2 - 600 delegates - Spectacular seaviews from both Suites - AV equipment included - Complimentary Wi-Fi - Private dining areas - 80 newly renovated bedrooms - Corporate B&B rate available - Complimentary on-site car park Railway Road, Buncrana, Co.Donegal, F93 PPH9 +353 74 93 61144 | ENQUIRIES:



Ask the Expert What are the best/worst parts of your job? I absolutely love getting to know my guests. We have the support of the local community and we also welcome guests from many countries. It is so rewarding to see visitors choosing Bishop’s Gate as a destination. I enjoy listening and suggesting ideas to ensure every trip is tailor made to the guest’s satisfaction. There are no negative parts to the role, just areas for self-development and learning. It’s important to remember that each member of the team has different strengths. We work as one and ask for help when needed.

What do you find most challenging about the hospitality/tourism sector?

Winner of the NI Hotels Federation Hotel Receptionist of the Year, Micheál Farrell, talks us through his front of house role at the elegant Bishop’s Gate Hotel. What is your current role, when did you take it up and what does it involve? I’ve been working front of house at Bishop’s Gate Hotel since joining the team in 2018. I’m the first person guests see when they walk through the iconic revolving doors. There is a real opportunity here to elevate a guest’s experience from an enjoyable stay, to a truly memorable experience. 

What is your background in hospitality/tourism? My hospitality adventure started in 2010 as Concierge at the AA 5 Red Star Merchant Hotel in Belfast, where I worked as Concierge and Receptionist and completed a Trainee Manager programme. Working under the watchful eyes of Bill Wolsey at the Merchant Hotel and Ciaran O’Neill at Bishop’s Gate Hotel, I have been inspired by how a dream and ambition can be realised through hard work.


Travel and tourism is a fast growing sector and there is a demand for authentic experience-led tourism. Properties can be compared online in seconds. This is a major challenge for the sector. I’ve been fortunate to work with colleagues who genuinely love their roles, push themselves to be the best that they can be, learn through travel and exceed customer expectations. The moment you stand still you will be overtaken.

Outline a typical day A day at Bishop’s Gate hotel is anything but typical. Planning can be in place and details of arriving and departing guests can be studied but there is always room for surprises.

Proudest moment of your career to date Being presented with the NI Hotels Federation award for ‘Receptionist of the Year 2019’ is career highlight. This was the result of guidance, education and

mentoring from the two managers I’ve been lucky to work with. Sharmaine Meldrum at the Merchant Hotel and Laura Davies at Bishop’s Gate hotel are inspirations to me.

Best thing about being involved in the local hospitality/tourism sector This is an exciting time to be involved in hospitality in Northern Ireland. The choice of attractions for visitors is rich and still improving. The hotel scene is booming and is being influenced internationally more than ever. The best thing about our hospitality is the warmth and authenticity of the welcome. It is a beautiful thing to see a guest smile on arrival knowing they have made the right decision in their choice of hotel.

What do you like to do to unwind away from work? Travelling the globe is what I love. I recently visited East Coast Australia with my partner Dónall. Any trip to a major city involves visiting hotels. There is an energy to a hotel lobby that is exciting and addictive.

Tell us something about yourself not many people will know. Driving is one of my favourite pastimes, perhaps because I’m a bad passenger. I love taking the four wheel drive out in snowy conditions or down to Benone Strand, always with a shovel in the boot just in case I get stuck. Enjoyable drives whilst travelling include a 14 hour drive from San Francisco to Las Vegas and a blast from Milan to Portofino in a Fiat 500 - very Italian!


SODA & STARCH CROWNED ‘RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR’ Firmly established as one of the top attractions in Derry’s Craft Village, Soda & Starch has been named ‘Restaurant of the Year’ at the 2019 North West Business Awards, organised by City Centre Initiative (CCI). Celebrating the best in business throughout the Derry and Strabane Council area, the Awards took place at the White Horse Hotel on 7th June 2019. Headed up by Executive Chef Raymond Moran, Soda & Starch’s creative and contemporary menus have been designed with the very best seasonal ingredients, which are locally sourced to create delicious authentic cuisine, rooted in Irish cooking traditions. Soda & Starch Pantry and Grill specialises in seafood and steaks and a highly inventive menu appeals to the discerning tastes of visitors.

Discussing the award Raymond Moran said: “We’re absolutely thrilled that Soda & Starch Pantry has been named Restaurant of the Year, in addition to appearing on The Sunday Times’ 100 Best Restaurants in Ireland 2019 list. There is fierce competition in the hospitality sector, and chefs are always pushing themselves and their teams to innovate, to create new dishes and explore new combinations of flavours that surprise and delight. We consistently strive to delight our patrons and it is really encouraging to have our offering recognised in this way.”

and local entrepreneur Ciaran O’Neill, Managing Director of the award-winning Bishop’s Gate Hotel. For further information log on to 29 Craft Village, Shipquay Street, Derry Telephone: 028 7137 1635 Email:

Soda & Starch Pantry and Grill is a partnership between Raymond Moran

In the heart of the Craft Village

Al Fresco Dining

Available for Private Hire Catering for up to 70 guests

Ideal for End of Term Get Togethers, Post Wedding Events & Family Gatherings

To book, please call 028 7l 37l635 Email: 33


The newly graded four-star Bayview Hotel in Portballintrae.

Bayview tees up for The Open The Open has landed on our doorstep and that means that every single hotel room, guest house and bed and breakfast within a 30-mile radius of Portrush is fully booked with world famous golfers, their entourage and golfing aficionados descending on the North Coast. Hosting a major tournament of this calibre is no small feat for a region of our size, but we do like to punch above our weight and that includes within our tourism and hospitality sector. The Bayview Hotel in Portballintrae is one such place that will be rolling out the red carpet in the coming weeks and has been busy making

preparations for its biggest summer yet. We caught up with owner and managing director Trevor Kane, ahead of what is expected to be a star-studded summer on the coast. “The Open is the jewel in the crown of golf’s major tournaments, so to have it here in Northern Ireland is a dream come true. Our hotel has been fully booked for months as we are hosting some of those progolfers and their support teams for the duration of the tournament. “We have recently been awarded a four-star rating from Tourism NI following a £350,000 renovation in the past few months to get ourselves ready. We have a brand

new restaurant and bar, as well as new bathrooms in each of our 25 hotel rooms, so the hard yards have been put in to make this a success.” All of this of course leaves Trevor and his team little time to hone their own golf skills. “Every summer is busy and leaves little time for golf. This year of course will be even busier. We employ 50 people but have recruited more staff for the summer and that means its all hands on deck for the next couple of months. “Not only is it important to make sure our golfing stars have a good time, but it’s also important for our local hospitality and tourism industry to make sure that everyone who visits enjoys the best of what Northern Ireland has to offer. “The eyes of the world will be on us for a few shorts weeks, so we need to make the most of it. We have a real opportunity to reach new markets and we want everyone who visits to go back to their own corner of the world and tell family and friends how great we are.” The question we are dying to ask of course is, who will be staying at the Bayview Hotel during The Open. “That’s a secret even to me and my staff at the moment!” grins Trevor.

Samantha Corr and Steven Kane celebrate the Bayview Hotel’s new four-star rating from Tourism NI following a £350,000 refurbishment.


“We obviously have great relationships with many of our local guys. Darren Clark and Graeme McDowell are good friends and have supported the hotel through the years. That doesn’t mean they will be staying here though. No matter who our guests are, they will get the red carpet treatment when they arrive.”


Radisson Blu Hotel & Leisure Club The four-star Radisson Blu Hotel & Leisure Club in Letterkenny features spacious conferencing facilities accommodating up to 600 delegates with a newly-refurbished dividable ballroom, pre-function area, and 6 additional meeting rooms. ‘Radisson Blu’ make Meetings & Events easy with dedicated conference Wi-Fi, audiovisual equipment, ample free parking, and a dedicated Events Team on hand to assist you with the planning and execution of your event. All of the stylish meeting rooms are complemented with air-conditioning, natural daylight, and built-in projectors & screens. For refreshment breaks, lunch and dinner - the hotel offers a choice of eating spaces including the AwardWinning Port Bar & Grill, Poet’s Corner, Atrium, & Lounge. The hotel offer room rental rates on a 2-Hour, Half-Day

and Full-Day basis - all of which come with complimentary inclusions as standard. The hotel is conveniently situated in the town centre of Letterkenny with main street a brief 5-minute walk away. Letterkenny is at the heart of North West Ireland and offers a unique experience for every type of visitor with a host of things to do and see. Perfectly located for travelling guests, Donegal & Derry Airports are only a 40-minute drive away.

The Radisson Blu Hotel and Leisure Club in Letterkenny.

Choose to stay overnight in one of the 114 guestrooms which include Business Class Rooms, and Junior Suite. Relax and unwind after a full day in the Health Club consisting of a Gym, Sauna, Steam Room, and 17m heated Swimming Pool.

Radisson Blu Letterkenny has it all under one roof making it an ideal location for all your business or leisure needs. For bookings or further information, contact our Meeting and Event Co-ordinator Jonathon on +353 7491 94444 or by emailing



Moville Boutique Hostel A gem in Inishowen The Wild Atlantic Way is fast becoming a global destination of choice for visitors from near and far who want to see Ireland’s stunning coastline in all its glory. For those who need to rest their weary heads, a quirky little gem is tucked away in the beautiful coastal town of Moville in Inishowen, Co. Donegal. Moville Boutique Hostel is a rustic hostel comprised of lovingly restored farm buildings with an eclectic mix of private rooms, family rooms and apartments, accommodating all sorts from the single traveller, to larger groups. The building still features the original stonework throughout, adding to the rich character of the hostel and the rooms within it. Little nooks and crannies can be found throughout the hostel, spilling over with old books and cosy chairs.

Guests staying at the hostel will also find joy in its immediate surroundings. Set in mature woodland and very picturesque gardens opposite the River Bredagh, the grounds also boast the oldest known bridge in Ireland. For those who enjoy meeting new friends of the outdoor variety, an organic mini farm will give you and your group the opportunity to meet resident goats, rabbits, peacocks and much more. The Hostel was recently named one of the best hotels in Ireland by HotelsCombined and is run by Cressida Canavan, who says: “We have been here for a number of years now and have steadily built up a very loyal following. Being named this year as one of the best in Ireland by HotelsCombined is out of this world. We

Cressida Canavan and Nicolle Killen celebrate Moville Boutique Hostel being named one of the best hotels in Ireland by HotelsCombined.

find that people come to us because of a personal recommendation and that is so important to us. We offer a very different experience to larger hotels and we run our hostel like a home which guests absolutely love. We want them to feel completely relaxed here and ready to enjoy the rugged Atlantic coastline on our doorstep.”

A Warm Welcome Awaits... Movile - Co. Donegal - Tel: + 353 (0)83 843 8002 36

Plan your Pet Friendly Stay on the Wild Atlantic Way

Su� er at THE CITY WE CATER FOR: • Networking events including roof top BBQ’s & drinks receptions • Meetings & business gatherings • Corporate dinners



£595 FOR 40 GUESTS

£795 FOR 30 GUESTS





Minimum numbers of 8

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Connect to the World from Your Local Airport Whether you are dreaming of a cultured city break or across international, waters, City of Derry Airport can help get you there. The beauty of flying from your local airport is the smooth, stress-free airport experience, cost-effective car-parking, convenient transport links with Translink NI and City Cabs and a stylish lounge experience available to book via Loganair provides direct flight connections from City of Derry Airport to the vibrant cities of Manchester, London and Glasgow throughout the week. Loganair’s all-inclusive fares start from £39.99 each way and includes 20kg baggage and 6kg hand luggage and complimentary in-flight refreshments! Loganair has partnered with international airlines such as Emirates, British Airways, Qatar Airways and Thomas Cook as part of their connections programme which strengthens City of Derry Airport’s connections to the rest of the world. This means that you can plan a trip from your local airport to destinations such as Dubai, the Caribbean, America, Australia or Africa in one single booking by travelling via Manchester, London or Glasgow! Visit for


more information and start planning your international trip. Maybe you fancy setting off to explore the world with a group of friends, whisking your loved one away to romantic shores or giving your family a fun-filled holiday of a lifetime – the choice is all yours! Furthermore, if you travel regularly, it may be worth flying with Loganair and signing up to the airline’s frequent flyer programme ‘Clan Loganair’ via the Loganair website. The reward scheme allows you to collect points every time you fly which can be used towards a free flight of choice as well as providing exclusive offers on hotels and restaurants for members! Ryanair also operate direct flights from

City of Derry Airport to Edinburgh five days a week and Liverpool three days a week at peak times. Fares start from just £9.99pp each way. City escapes offer such a variety of fun for group trips, couples and families – from sight-seeing, arts and culture, music and festivities, kids entertainment and activities, dining and partying – there is something for everyone. And the convenient short flight time is perfect if you are travelling with young children. Are you ready to explore the world from your local airport? Book your break today –


New Loganair route at City of Derry connects the North West to Manchester City of Derry Airport is celebrating the launch of a brand-new air service to England’s Northern Powerhouse, The City of Manchester.

enables a full day of business or various options for a short break.

Flying on an Embraer 145 Jet, travelling with Loganair also gives customers the opportunity to connect with the airline’s large network of onward international airlines from Manchester Airport – opening up an extensive range of global destinations via one-ticket with carriers including Emirates and KLM.

Customers already familiar with Loganair’s offering will be aware the airline includes a generous 20kg luggage allowance and inflight refreshment with every ticket, as well as one of the most attractive loyalty programmes schemes of any airline. Through the Clan Loganair loyalty programme, points are accumulated for each journey which can then be exchanged for reward flights. It is also worth highlighting that children up to the age of 11 are eligible for a 33% discount.

Arriving in Manchester at 12.25pm each weekday and returning at 12.55pm the following afternoon - the schedule

With the first flights taking to the skies on May 24, uptake of the route has been extremely positive, with the inaugural

Operated by Scottish regional airline, Loganair, residents of the North West can fly to England’s second largest city six days per week - with a short flight time of only 70 minutes.

service from Manchester touching down in the City of Derry completely full. Tickets for all Loganair services, which also include links to Glasgow and London Stansted, can be reserved online at, by calling 0344 800 2855 or through GDS booking systems.

For business it’s a pleasure. Fly City of Derry


• 20kg luggage allowance • Inclusive in-flight service • Onward connections with Emirates and KLM • Frequent flyer rewards


Where next? 39


Airporter puts the miles in to serve 1.5 million customers Travelling 7,060,000 miles is roughly the equivalent of going to the moon and back around fifteen times or travelling around the circumference of the earth over two hundred times. It’s also roughly, how many miles Airporter coaches have travelled since the company opened in 1997. Over a really busy Easter period, Airporter hit the milestone of 1.5 million customers which equals around 100,000 journeys between their base in Derry and the two Belfast airports. The incredible achievement, says director Jennifer McKeever is “a testament to the hard work, professionalism and excellent customer service from the staff and that’s why Airporter is the first choice for so many people travelling to and from the North West.” The company has enjoyed rapid growth in the last few years and a big part of this is due to an increase in tourism as more people than ever are visiting the city and region. Northern Irish success on the big and small screen is also bringing tourists from across the world. Jennifer says, “The Derry Girls phenomenon has been a great addition to the tourism offering this year in the city as screen tourism continues to bring in new visitors from new markets.” Every Airporter passenger is different though and it doesn’t just provide services for tourists. The company is popular amongst students studying in England, Scotland or Wales and who want a quick and easy way to get themselves home over the holidays. Over the years they have also witnessed a huge increase in the percentage of passengers who travel for work and business. This isn’t just good for Airporter, but the whole region according to Jennifer.


Airporter directors Niall and Jennifer McKeever.

“That increased connectivity is good for the whole region, because when companies are looking to invest in a location, one of the first things they look for is how well connected it is to the rest of the world. Our service means that people can live just outside Derry and work in Manchester, London or beyond.” Jennifer believes the recent announcement of the Derry and Strabane region City Deal will only make the North West more attractive to businesses from across the world including firms who want to set up somewhere with impressive talent.

The Chamber of Commerce and Derry and Strabane Council have been pivotal in driving this City Deal forward. The message is clear, the North West is open for business and there are many opportunities ahead for those who want to grab them. We have big plans for the future.”

Airporter have a long history of being willing to innovate and do more. They opened the year after the first Easyjet flight in direct response to that model of quick and easy transport and were the first coach company in Northern Ireland to invest in an online booking system. While this growth is an incredible achievement, it’s clear they’re already looking to the future. Airporter may not have actually travelled to the moon and back fifteen times and their coaches will probably never circumnavigate the globe, yet the achievement of the company is impressive. From humble beginnings they’ve grown and made it easier for the world to come to Derry and for the people of Derry to see the world. This milestone is a fantastic achievement but there’s no sign of them resting on their laurels. They may have travelled over seven million miles, but the journey at Airporter is only just beginning.



An Atlantic Gateway for the UK and Europe The attention of the global media has been fixed on Foyle Port recently as it serves up a ‘classic Brexit case study’ during uncertain times. One thing that has remained steadfast is the growth at the Port, its plans for a new international cruise ship terminal and the creation of its own bespoke enterprise zone. We speak to Chief Executive, Brian McGrath on the commercial realities of running a successful Port operation on the frontier between the UK and the European Union.


Foyle Port is unique in that it operates cross border, with its jurisdiction stretching from the city’s Craigavon Bridge to Greencastle in Donegal and across Lough Foyle to Magilligan in north west county Derry/Londonderry. In many ways, it serves as the Atlantic gateway for the north-west city region. Although the port operation is in Northern Ireland, its pilot station is in Greencastle and both the Irish and UK governments recognise Foyle Port as the competent harbour authority for the area. The Port, in effect, doesn’t recognise the border, and neither does the trade traffic that it attracts. “Half of the freight arriving by sea into Derry/ Londonderry comes from the European Union, with about 40 per cent from the United Kingdom and the


remainder from the rest of the world. Of that total, about 40 per cent is then re-exported to the Republic of Ireland by road and may cross the border many times without realising. It’s so intertwined. It’s like bringing something into your front garden and then going into your back garden which is in another country”, McGrath says. As a bulk cargo operation trading in commodities worth about £1.5bn every year, the Port deals in agricultural products, including feed and fertiliser, handling imports of oil and coal for the entire north-west region. Diversification at Foyle Port also sees a rapidly growing consulting engineering arm, state-of-theart steel fabrication facility and wider marine services, helping to deliver sustained growth. “Animal feeds are coming in here to be sent to mills in Lifford

that are being processed, and then part of that product is going to come back across the border. The oil and petrol that is being delivered into the Donegal region is going into cars criss-crossing the border. If there was a hard border and a hard Brexit, it would be catastrophic for the work that we do as it would effectively make us the most isolated UK port”, says Brian. But any threats that Brexit may pose have been offset by the Port’s latest financial results which show a multimillion-pound annual turnover, marking six years of consecutive growth. “It’s the continual reinvestment of all profits that allows the Port to improve the business and upgrade facilities, giving it the ability to undertake a period of significant capital investment, including a recent expansion in the harbour estate across its 160 acres and increased capacity of the marine fleet at the port.” Chief Executive, Brian McGrath is in buoyant mood and praises his team for maximising profitability and says that the potential of the Port to add jobs and lead growth into the future is an exciting prospect. “The outstanding corporate performance of the organisation, year on year, demonstrates the strength of our operational team”, he stated. “The Port’s location at Lisahally underpins our key position as an Atlantic gateway for the United Kingdom and Europe. The Port Economic Zone naturally sits across the wider city region. With multi deep-water terminal locations within the harbour and an extensive port landbank with proximity to industrial power, we are ready to play our part as an industrial platform in support of a City Deal for Derry / Londonderry.” “Our strategy was set out several years ago and since then our performance has outstripped targets and the port business has continued to grow. This model has increased our resilience and put the Port on a strong footing to meet any challenges that lie ahead. We have the flexibility required to adapt to a new commercial context and the innovation needed to capitalise on all new opportunities arising in the future.”

Chief Executive of Foyle Port Brian McGrath

“Our plans for an international cruise terminal are still at an early stage, but we are looking at a multi-million-pound investment which will bring visitors from all around the world to the north-west. Joining the Causeway Coastal Route and the Wild Atlantic Way, we have a strong proposition for tourists and the wider tourism sector. We expect to create hundreds of jobs in the build and operational phase which will have a huge positive economic impact for the local area. It is envisaged that the number of cruise ships that will dock in the North West could potentially treble or quadruple from current numbers. This could be in the region of 50-70 ships per annum once fully operational and marketed internationally”, said Brian. “We are also looking at options around the creation of an Enterprise Zone specific to the Port which would complement the significant landbank we have at our disposal. The connectivity offered by Project Kelvin and a ready source of industrial power on our doorstep means we have all the infrastructure in place to welcome indigenous and international investors of all types”, enthused McGrath. Port Chief McGrath is confident that whatever the Brexit negotiations at the time of writing and the next year brings, the Port has the capabilities to build on recent successful business performance. “We are not ignoring the reality on the ground - 30 per cent of our staff come across the border from Donegal every day and 40 per cent of our imported commodities go back across the Border and we recognise there could be challenges, but we’ve faced others during our 165-year history and we will still be here after Brexit - we are prepared for what’s in front of us. The potential for the wider port economic zone is immense”, Brian concludes.



O’Neills celebrates first year of Waterloo Place store Last July, O’Neills opened a store in the heart of the city at Waterloo Place and a year on, they are getting ready to celebrate the success of the last 12 months. Reflecting on the first anniversary of the opening, Managing Director of O’Neills, Kieran Kennedy, says that there was a desire to open a store for a while. “We were interested in opening a store for some time and wanted to find the right location that would give us the space to offer something special to sportswear fans in the North West. When the Waterloo Place store became available, we knew it would give us the space to think big.” In recent years the retail sector in the North West has gone from strength to strength with the opening of stores like O’Neills and this is in no small part down to the people of the region. “Derry has a global reputation as a friendly, welcoming city with a strong


tradition of sport, music and culture. It is a vibrant, modern and forward-thinking city. This together with the warmth and wit of the people is a winning combination.” This is why O’Neills is also committed to the community and sport and is integral to some of the biggest sporting events in the city, including the O’Neills Foyle Cup, the Ryan McBride Foundation, the O’Neills Walled City Marathon, and the Waterside Half Marathon. The opening of the O’Neills store in the city has significantly added to the retail sector and Kieran observes that it is a shopping hub for people from across the North West. “We believe we have played a part in the revival of Waterloo Place and with more investment, the area looks set to flourish and attract even greater numbers of visitors.” With the continuing development of online shopping, it is often easy to assume that shops and retail on the high street

Managing Director, Kieran Kennedy.

are suffering, but people are still keen to experience the products first-hand. Kieran comments that they have seen significant growth in online sales, but bricks and mortar still have a key role to play. “Customers are increasingly looking for an all-round experience where they can see and demo the products in store and also have the convenience of online. We couldn’t do this without our team who are passionate about sport and offer our customers the best in-store experience and products.” To celebrate the first year in business at Waterloo Place, O’Neills is hosting a Family Sports Weekend from 5th – 7th July. Along with instore promotions, they will have competitions for the whole family to get involved in. Be sure to check out O’Neills social media accounts for further information.


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Time to harness the potential for retail in the North West The Northern Ireland Retail Consortium is the go-to trade association for all Northern Ireland retailers, promoting the story of retail, shaping debates and influencing the issues that matter to the industry. Their mission is to make a positive difference to the retail industry and the customers it serves, today and in the future. We spoke to Aodhán Connolly, the Director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium since 2012, who says that the last year has brought some positives for the retail sector across Northern Ireland. “We have had positive footfall growth for 9 out of the previous 12 months up to May and while we are now in Shop Price index inflationary territory, that inflation is slow moving so shoppers continue to get more for their pound.” The retail sector across the North West has been developing over the last few years with new shops and opportunities opening up. Aodhán comments, “I feel positive about retail in the North West. There are a lot of challenges, but I see huge potential for Derry, especially to be part of the retail reinvention rather than the retail Armageddon that some people are talking about.”

Aodhán Connolly, Director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium.

and Aodhán adds that this is important news for businesses.

Along with the positives for retail in Northern Ireland and the North West, Aodhán says that the absence of an Executive and Brexit are continuing to One of the issues that has been impact, with Brexit being the biggest impacting businesses across Northern challenge facing the whole of the Ireland is businesses rates. In May, the Northern Ireland business community in Permanent Secretary at the Department generations. “The continuing of Finance, Sue Gray, announced that uncertainty of Brexit and lack of a there will be a review of business rates Stormont Executive have made it harder to get the changes our industry needs to get retail reinvention going here in We welcome the review of the same way that it is underway in Great Britain. business rates, but it needs to be

a fundamental change. Our business taxation system here is not fit for purpose and we cannot continue for retail to be 12% of the economy but pay a quarter of business rates.”


“If we leave the EU, even with a deal, there will be a seismic change in how we do business. However, if we leave

without a deal, it will lead to a fundamental disintegration of supply chains that have been built up over forty years. That means customs, tariffs, checks and delays, all of which mean cost rises.” The Northern Ireland Retail Consortium recently produced the ‘Retail in Northern Ireland – In partnership with Councils’ report which seeks to start a conversation between the retail sector and local government, and also seeks to help councils make informed choices about the industry. “My next steps are to engage with council officials, new councillors and committees. I will be in the North West more regularly now and I hope they will take up my offer of support.”


Orla Kelly, Autism N.I. presenting Fergal Rafferty, Foyleside centre manager a plaque to celebrate Foyleside’s Autism Impact Award.

Foyleside Shopping Centre is delighted to announce that, owing to the hard work and effort of its dedicated staff, they are now the proud recipients of an Autism Impact Award from Autism NI. The prestigious Award is presented to organisations who go above and beyond to create an ‘Autism friendly environment’. Foyleside has six Champions dedicated to ensuring autism accessibility within the Centre, making it the largest Shopping Complex with a specially trained staff in Northern Ireland and it is the second Shopping Complex in Northern Ireland, and the first Shopping Complex outside of Belfast, to receive the Award. Wednesday evenings are also now being designated as “Quiet Evenings” in an effort to make retailers and shoppers alike more conscious of the challenges faced by Northern Ireland’s autistic community. The main mall and shop units will turn off any in-store music to help make the shopping experience more enjoyable for customers affected by autism. Foyleside has also constructed a brand-new sensory room as part its initiative to make the Centre more universally accessible. The room is fitted with multiple features designed to calm, including fibre optics, bubble tubes and other devices aimed at destressing. Sound and light levels are adjustable and can be changed to cater to a specific child or adult’s needs. Fergal Rafferty, Centre Manager at Foyleside Shopping Centre said, “We are extremely proud that Foyleside is now accessible to the many individuals and families in Northern Ireland who are affected by autism. We want all shoppers to feel welcome, comfortable, safe, and above all, to have an enjoyable experience at Foyleside.” 47


Choose from seven cosy cafes to relax, or get food to go The Sandwich Co has been serving the community with highquality products since 1991. Our cafes provide a sense of art and culture across different areas that provide a uniqueness coupled with the reliable quality of our food and drinks. Our catering has been the trusted service for thousands of people to help them cater for guests during good times and bad Check out our web site for online ordering and events



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How to Handle the Top Staffing Struggles in the Hospitality & Tourism Sector It is fantastic to see that year on year the visitor numbers to DerryLondonderry and Northern Ireland are on the rise. So it is all too important to make sure that businesses in this sector have their staffing right to reap the benefits. However many businesses in the Hospitality and Tourism sector struggle with issues such as :-ongoing skills shortages …A surplus of Chef’s are as rare as ‘hens teeth’, the continuous rise of staffing costs such as the National Minimum Wage rates and employer pension contributions and the ongoing searches for quality staff who will deliver exceptional customer service to achieve that 5 star visitor experience. Julie Pollock, Owner from Consult HR shares with us her Top Tips on how to effectively manage this:

Struggling with recruitment? – choose the correct recruitment method for your target market. In a recent survey the # 1 recruitment tool to source job seekers was employee referral, followed by the company’s website and social media accounts. In this competitive market, employers now need to be seen attractive to the job applicants. Here are some innovative recruitment ideas to consider: Job fairs: Try showcasing your business by hosting an open day for the public or holding an internal job fair. Non-traditional methods: A written job description on a job search site won’t necessarily make you stand out. A video or podcast, however, will do just that. Using non-traditional recruiting media is also your chance to convey your brand, what it is like to work there. It could be a fun video on YouTube, or a podcast where a current employee describes the position and your company. Look for talent in other industries: Are you receiving great service at a store? Let that person know that there are opportunities at your business. You can teach the skills required, but it is much harder to teach someone the willingness to go the extra mile or

bring passion to the workplace. Use multicultural newspapers or newsletters and community centers to attract newcomers. Add a line to your company email signature indicating that you are hiring to spread the word.

How do you ensure your staff stay?

Julie Pollock, Owner from Consult HR

Staff turnover in the hospitality and tourism industries are set to be around 66%. Why? The key is demographics: 2016 is the first year that millennials outnumber every other demographic group in the workforce. The expectation of the millennials is different from other demographics. These are workers who expect to set their own career path, whose loyalty to an employer is lower and whose demand for feedback is higher than ever. Examples of how to encourage staff to stay in your employment:• Introduce buddy system so staff feel welcomed from day one. • Introduce recognition schemes so that staff feel valued i.e. employee of the month • Introduce a staff suggestion scheme with a reward scheme attached. • Find out what each individual employee wants out of their career and how you can help them achieve that.

Does your staff really know what is expected of them? I have seen it so many times where an employee is recruited, they are given a job title without an explanation of what it is that their manager wants them to do. The employee begins undertaking the tasks that they ‘think’ they are expected to do. The manager gets the impression the employee is not ‘fit’ for the job because they are not undertaking the tasks they wanted/expected them to do, but in actual fact this may have been down to a lack of communication.

So be clear on what their responsibilities are, what you expect them to do on a day to day basis, draw up a job description of their duties and set out what targets you expect them to achieve in their role, this will avoid any confusion and misunderstanding of roles.

What are the benefits of proper employment contracts? It is a legal requirement that all employees, irrelevant of sector, are issued with terms and conditions of employment within 8 weeks of commencing employment. Within the hospitality and tourism sector it is renowned that a significant number of staff are hired for a specific period to cover peak business periods and return to that employer year on year to work. Employers should ensure that they issue their staff with contracts clearly specifying their employment period with start and end dates. This will ensure that staff do not claim continuous service for several years and will protect your business from exposure to claims such as unfair dismissal, redundancy payments etc. We are here to help, if you have a question or need some expert help with an employment issue contact Julie Pollock on 07858089006 or to discuss further. Also connect with us on Linked-In, Twitter or Facebook for regular updates on managing staff.


business advice • More than 50% of hits on retail sites are from mobiles so it pays for even an SME to have a digital presence. • NI consumers are very savvy about price, quality and value. They want a bargain. Not cheap but quality at a price less than they expected to pay.

Aodhán Connolly

Northern Ireland Retail Consortium HOW CAN MY RETAIL BUSINESS DRIVE FOOTFALL? NI has the most volatile footfall in the UK which isn’t great if you are a retailer. The big secret to success is not really a secret. It is simply knowing your customer. And there are a few things that make our consumers different: • We have around half the weekly discretionary income compared to GB households but will spend more per capita on family for Christmas and other occasions.


• NI consumers are more “local” orientated than GB consumers and like to see local produce and goods on the shelves But you need to know your area and your market. Have you recently talked to your costumers and found out what they like and how they want to shop? It is not just about getting people to our high streets but getting them to stay, spending time and money. For further insights visit

Mark Johnston Johnston Financial Solutions Commercial Credit Brokers

HOW CAN BUSINESSES MAINTAIN A STRONG CASHFLOW AND FEEL LESS STRESSED? A strong cash flow is one of the most important areas of any business but is often overlooked. Cash flow can become a big problem if you are spending more than you have coming in. You can hide the fact for a while, but it will ultimately catch up with you. Here are 5 ways to keep cash flow flowing consistently in your business:


1. To fail to plan is to plan to fail Not having a plan in place is an easy, but costly mistake to make. With a plan you will see what you need to do in order to get the financial results you want. 2. Be Pro-Active In order to run your business well, you need good, monthly (or at least quarterly) financial information so that you can foresee potential problems and tackle them head on. Without this, you won’t be in control or achieve your plan. 3. Understand your Business Like the above, you need to understand your finances and grow your financial strength. Measuring growth isn’t just about the number of employees or the amount of turnover you have. 4. Get the right advice for you There are lots of people out there providing advice, but you need to make sure they have the appropriate credentials for the task in hand. Be prepared to take the tough advice rather than just the bits you want to hear. 5. Consistent marketing Knowing your target customer inside out is the key to growing any business. Once you’ve nailed this, base your marketing strategy around your target customer to enjoy consistent sales and business growth. Link your financial goals to your marketing strategy. To get your finances in order contact us for a no obligation, complimentary consultation. For more information, call: 028 7186 7697 or email: info@

Joe Lavery

Paddy O’ Donnell

Co-ordinator EURES Cross Border Partnership Ireland

Peak Physiotherapy Clinic

TAX IN THE CROSS BORDER REGION The issue of tax in the cross border region remains fairly complicated for cross border workers and employers. Where does the tax liability lie? What is a double taxation agreement? What entitlements or reliefs are available? Where do I get pension support? What social insurance should I pay? These are just some of the issues that affect the cross-border market. The good news for employees and companies is that there is a support network out there who can provide advice on what exactly needs to be done. The first port of call in this regard should be the EURES Cross Border Adviser network, and if they cannot answer your query directly will put you in touch with a professional who can. The recent EURES Tax Breakfast Briefing organised by the Cross Border Partnership and the Chamber in An Grianan Hotel had experts giving a clear overview of tax and social security implications. The question and answer session ensured that attendees could have their queries answered directly and at the same time raising issues that affect many people in the cross border market. The EURES Cross Border website provides a wealth of information for those unsure of their taxation, social insurance or pension arrangements including a detailed FAQ section where many of the issues you may have, are already answered.

HOW TO PREVENT LOWER BACK PAIN (LBP) IN THE OFFICE Most jobs now require us to be sedentary or sitting for long periods of the day. But beware the chair. The more we sit, the stiffer, tighter and weaker we become; which increases our risk of developing LBP. Simple habits can be enough to reduce that risk and prevent LBP. The back is designed to move. Getting into a habit of moving the back through its full range is what it wants and needs to do, so move little but often. Park the car further away from the front door. Use the stairs. Use the photocopier /tea room furthest away. Instead of phoning/ emailing why not walk to talk when possible? If you are sitting any longer than 30-60mins then it’s time to move. Setting alarms on your phone might get you jumping out of that chair, or stand during telephone calls. Walk, run, cycle, swim, do something to keep yourself fit and active outside the office. The fitter and stronger you are, the less likely you will develop LBP.  LBP is extremely common and most episodes will resolve themselves after a few weeks, especially if you keep moving. But if you are struggling with ongoing pain then contact us for an expert assessment and professional treatment. 

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Derry and Strabane City Deal a catalyst for change, but now is the time for delivery In May, the Northern Ireland Office announced the details of a £105m investment in the Derry and Strabane region, with £50 million funding for a City Deal and £55 million for an ‘Inclusive Futures’ Fund. Derry City and Strabane District Council has said that the initial £105m investment will rise to over £300m with match-funding from Stormont, investment from project partners and third-party sources. The announcement was the result of a sustained lobbying campaign by Council working closely with a wide range of stakeholders including the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has been calling for this investment for a long time, as the voice of business in the North West, it has advocated for a city deal in the region. A number of strategic partners have been integral to the campaign including

Ulster University, North West Regional College, the Western Health and Social Care Trust, Visit Derry, City Centre Initiative and Foyle Port. Brian McGrath, President of the Londonderry Chamber said, “This funding is hugely welcome and provides a solid platform upon which to grow and enhance the competitiveness of the City and Region and attract further exciting new companies, business prospects and investment.”

What is key now though is delivery and the projects that formed part of the city deal bid. In reality, the real work is only now beginning and it is incumbent upon all of us as key stakeholders, to act on this agreement.” City Deals are agreements between the government and a city that empowers local areas with specific powers and freedoms to help the region

support economic growth, create jobs or invest in local projects. These agreements give cities and local regions the power to decide how public money should be spent, do what they think is best to help businesses grow and create economic growth. A city deal allows a city and the surrounding region to take charge and responsibility for the decisions that affect their area. City deals have so far been introduced in regions across the UK. They have been described as “game-changers” in terms of driving economic growth and investment. Earlier this year, the government agreed to invest in a Belfast region city deal, and it is hoped that the two deals will complement and support each other in driving economic growth across all of Northern Ireland. Vice-Chair of North West Regional College, Gavin Killeen believes that harnessing the skills we have already, is a crucial part of making City Deal a success. “With an incredibly talented workforce, the North West is already attractive to many firms and this will build on that success, bringing in even more investment and creating jobs across the region. “The City Deal is about enabling change. Giving us the tools to bring in jobs and investment, take forward infrastructure projects, and make use of every economic lever at our disposal.”

President of the Chamber Brian McGrath with John Penrose MP, Minister of State for Northern Ireland, on a recent visit to the city.


“The City Deal will enable new projects such as a Centre for Industrial Digitisation, Robotics and Automation and a programme of digital and smart cities interventions. These projects will make Derry one of the most innovative


Members of the Chamber board meet with John Penrose MP, Minister of State for Northern Ireland. Included left to right are George Fleming, Brian McGrath, John Penrose MP, Gavin Killeen and Dawn McLaughlin.

and exciting cities on the entire island of Ireland.” The City Deal will also enable progress on a major innovation complex at the city’s waterfront, including a new medical school that has long been called for. Alongside the £50m investment in the region’s city deal there is a £55m investment in an Inclusive Futures Fund. This aims to bring greater prosperity and social benefits to the whole of the community. The Fund seeks to support local young people by providing jobs and growing their skills base. It will also tackle the causes and consequences of long-term social deprivation, something that has been identified as damaging the economic potential of the North West. The ‘Inclusive Futures Fund’ will also build on the economic potential of the university and make the local area more accessible and attractive. It will help to

combat the unique challenges facing the North West. Commenting on the need for the investment to benefit everyone in the region, President of Chamber Brian McGrath said:

President of the Chamber Brian McGrath with John Penrose MP, Minister of State for Northern Ireland, on a recent visit to the city.

“We also need to look at how we can build on this and how we can maximise the effects for city stakeholders, so that everyone in the community sees the benefit of this investment.”

“This is a challenging but exciting time for business here. With work on the A6 ongoing to improve connectivity between Derry and the rest of Northern Ireland and with this major investment, we are an attractive place to invest, work and live.

“This agreement on a deal from the UK Government is also a demonstration of confidence in the region. It’s an acknowledgement that the best placed people to make decisions for the North West are those who are living and doing business here.” “Securing the City Deal was a fantastic achievement, but now we have to get down to the hard work that makes our aspirations a reality.”



Council linkages with China to benefit investment, tourism and education The linkages being forged between Derry City and Strabane District Council and the City of Dalian in China are hugely significant in helping to expand our business interests, tourism and educational connections, according to newly elected Mayor Cllr Michaela Boyle. Speaking just after hosting a prestigious delegation of London-based Chinese business and media groups on a visit to Derry, the Mayor said the strong working relationship that exists between the City and District and China is important to encourage more trade and investment, and welcome additional international students and tourists to the city and region.

She said a key element of the Council’s Strategic Growth Plan is to bring about tangible positive connections and links between the two cities and regions. The visiting delegation was led by the Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Belfast, Madame Meifang Zhang. Council Chief Executive John Kelpie briefed the group who then took in a tour of the Guildhall and a walk on the historic City Walls, followed by a business networking dinner event that was attended by representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, Visit Derry and other key stakeholders. The visit was part of a three-day programme of engagements in NI coordinated by The Executive Office in

conjunction with NI Chinese Consulate, Councils, Ulster University, Queen’s University Belfast and key government agencies including Invest NI, Tourism NI and DAERA. The delegation included senior representatives from the Ministry of Commerce, the Commercial Office of the Chinese Embassy in London, the CCIC London Company Ltd, the Jiangsu Economic and Trade Office in the UK, the travel industry and senior representatives from Chinese media groups including China Daily. Speaking after the visit the Mayor said it was a huge privilege to meet with the group to develop strong working relationships and showcase the City Region.  She said: “The Council is delighted to be working with the Chamber and Visit Derry to maximise the opportunity for our local businesses to connect with such a significant delegation. Derry City and Strabane District Council has an existing agreement with Dalian, Liaoning Province and this visit provides a fantastic opportunity to further develop and promote the economic benefits and cooperation with China.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Michaela Boyle, Council Chief Executive John Kelpie and Council officials, met with a delegation of Chinese business and media groups led by Madame Zhang – Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Belfast. She was accompanied by Councillor Bin Zhang from the Commercial Office of the Chinese Embassy in London, Tao Liang – Executive Director, China Radio International (UK) and Ping Zhang – Executive Director, China News Service. Also represented were China Daily and senior industry representatives in international trade, finance, insurance, IT and tourism.


“Local companies are exploring potential trading relationships and harnessing the opportunities from the ‘Golden Era’ of UK-China relations. The visit has provided excellent contacts on which to develop trade, investment and visitor connections. “As a region we have many shared interests with China, particularly in


Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Michaela Boyle, pictured with Madame Zhang, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Belfast who led a recent delegation visit to the city.

terms of tourism, business, technology and education, which has resulted in a Friendly Co-operative City Agreement that Council signed last year. “Links with China and the East are hugely important in assisting us expand our business, tourism and education connections, in tandem with the ongoing work to develop partnerships in the US. These international networks will be pivotal in raising the profile of the region in keeping with the ambitions set out in our Strategic Growth Plan and encourage foreign direct investment interest in our vibrant and dynamic region.” The visit is part of ongoing proactive work the Council has been doing with other partners to develop and expand its relationship with the east. Just last year the Council participated in a trade mission in Dalian, as part of the China Regional Leaders Summit. The visit was hugely important in terms of profiling the region and getting a unique insight into

the Chinese tourism, business, technology and education sectors. John Kelpie, Chief Executive with Derry City and Strabane District Council said the summit would assist Council and its partners to expand business, tourism and education connections including the signing of an official MoU between the North West Regional College and Dalian College. He said: “The visit was extremely worthwhile in allowing us to get a real insight into Chinese economy and culture. We are already starting to see the outcomes from the signing of the Friendly Co-operative City Agreement last year and the North West Regional College Memorandum of Understanding that was signed with Dalian College.” “Our links with China is based on a very solid framework and is cohesive to our City Growth Deal and the confirmation by the Secretary of State in May of an

investment package of £105m for the region, is hugely significant for us in bringing to fruition these ambitious and transformational developments for the city region,” he concluded. Echoing those comments, President of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce Brian McGrath said: “The city’s developing connection with China is one that will bring untold benefits. We were thrilled to be able to welcome Madame Zhang and the Chinese delegation to our city because we see this as an important relationship to nurture. Businesses in the city will benefit greatly from enhanced trade relations and that will bring prosperity for both the North West and Dalian.” For more information on Derry City and Strabane District Council’s international work contact


Congressman Richard Neal, US Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi and Vice-Chancellor and President of Ulster University, Professor Paddy Nixon

Congressman Richard Neal receives honorary degree from Ulster University Congressman Richard Neal has been awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws by Ulster University for his outstanding contribution to peace and conflict resolution across the island of Ireland and for profiling Irish concerns throughout his Congressional career. The degree was conferred upon him by Vice-Chancellor and President of Ulster University, Professor Paddy Nixon at a ceremony attended by Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. As a supporter of the University’s John Hume and Thomas P O’Neill Chair in Peace at the Magee


campus and its work since 2015, Congressman Neal addressed students and staff to announce the development of Ulster University’s Hume O’Neill Washington Lecture Series, an annual lecture by an internationally-renowned conflict resolution expert, the first of which will be held during the St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Washington in 2020. Speaking at the conferment, Vice-Chancellor and President of Ulster University, Professor Paddy Nixon said; “Congressman Richard Neal is today recognised and honoured by the university community for his work as a

champion of inclusivity, peace and prosperity across the island of Ireland. Congressman Neal’s maternal grandparents were from Northern Ireland and throughout his political career he has remained a steadfast and unwavering supporter of peace building efforts here. He was an early supporter of the establishment of the John Hume and Thomas P O’Neill Chair in Peace and has today launched the Ulster University Hume O’Neill Washington Lecture Series as he continues to support the university’s expertise in peace and conflict resolution.”


Department of Health Permanent Secretary Richard Pengelly (left) and Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride (extreme right) pictured with Olivia Corbett and Christian Bennison who are among the first tranche of Physician Associate students who are taking up positions with local HSC Trusts. Also included are Professor Paddy Nixon (centre) Vice Chancellor Ulster University and Tara Moore (second right) Professor of Personalised Medicine at Ulster University.

In 2015 Ulster University established the John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace, a fully endowed Professorship, with the support of a range of international donors including substantial support from the International Fund for Ireland. The Professorial Chair, held by Professor Brandon Hamber, honours Nobel Peace Prize winner and Gandhi Prize for Peace winner, John Hume, and former US Speaker of the House of Representatives, Thomas P. O’Neill, for their roles in advancing peace in Northern Ireland. Ulster University’s Tip O’Neill Lecture Series at Magee featured President Bill Clinton, former Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan. Addressing students and staff Congressman Neal said;

Congressman Richard Neal is today recognised and honoured by the university community for his work as a champion of inclusivity, peace and prosperity across the island of Ireland. “With my remarks in the Great Hall today I join a very distinguished group of speakers who have been asked to participate in the Tip O’Neill Lecture Series. It is with no small amount of humility that I accept this honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Ulster University and I accept in honour of my grandmother, Mary Ward who was born in County Down.

The Ulster University Hume O’Neill Washington Lecture Series launched today will connect with local and global peace and conflict experts to further develop expertise in conflict resolution and will be complemented by related activity at the Magee campus.”



Down Memory Lane with Donna Moran Where in the city are you from? I’m from the Culmore area of the city and live there with my husband and three children.

What is your title and how long have you been in post? I’m a director of Moran’s along with my husband John.

Explain what your business does. We run three forecourt retailing outlets. Moran’s Strand Road in Derry, Moran’s Coleraine and Moran’s Ballykelly. We also have an outside catering business that caters for events like weddings and corporate events, to sandwiches and hot food for meetings and social events.

Tell me how your business began. I started out with petrol stations and an exhaust centre which was my family’s business before I met John. John added tyres to the exhaust business and Foyleside Tyre and Exhausts was born. We ran the company together before getting married and there was always a small forecourt and convenience shop. In 1996, we purchased the ESSO site on the other side of the Strand Road. We redeveloped it in 1997 and opened Moran’s Centra Strand Road. This allowed us to transfer our forecourt and convenience store business to the new site, and we built a new Tyre & Exhaust Centre named Breico on the original site. I forgot to mention that I had my three children in the midst of that as well! We added Coleraine to our portfolio in 2002 and Ballykelly in 2004 and sold the tyre business the same year after deciding to focus on the forecourt business.

What was the city like outside your windows in the era you set up your business? Lots has changed in the city and mostly for the better. The Strand Road was a single carriageway and we saw a decline for a long time with lack of investment. The widening and dualling of the road, development of the quay and marina has had a big impact in bringing people back to this part of the town. I think the city is more outward looking now and there is a great buzz about the town that grows every year.

Has the ethos of the business changed over the years? The ethos hasn’t changed too much because we know what works and we stick to that. Simply put, we have good people, providing a good service, in good shops that customers enjoy shopping in. Sticking to a formula as simple as this means everyone is on board with it.


Has the way you do business changed in the city changed much over the years – examples of anything that is now better? Working with Centra has changed some of the ways we do things because there is another company and brand that we need to be mindful of in everything we do. The great thing about Centra is that they like us to stamp our own personality on each of our stores and that’s what makes customers come back. One thing that never changes is the relationships we build and maintain, from our supply partners to our customers.

What is the best business or life advice you have been given? My father always said never ask anyone to do something you wouldn’t be prepared to do yourself. I think of that all

the time and I like to think my team see me getting stuck in as much as the next person.

What can business learn from the past to create a strong future? Professionalism, a commitment to serve the public, and a kind word may seem old-fashioned to some, but these are the principles that carry our business and make it a success. That personal touch with customers is more important in an increasingly digital world where people usually have their heads in their phones. A kind word can make someone’s day.


How does Chamber membership help your business? The benefits of joining Londonderry Chamber of Commerce stretches far beyond the member themselves, as Hazel Eakin, Head of the Business Department at Foyle College can attest. Back in 2013 Hazel and her A’-Level class attended a ‘Doing Business in China’ Seminar at Ulster University Magee which was hosted by the Chamber. So inspired was she by the various speakers, from business leaders, to Mandarin teachers to local school leaders, that she set in motion a plan to open up a whole new world of language to her school’s pupils. “While I was there I found out about the Confucius Institute and the Mandarin teachers working in local schools teaching the Chinese language,” she says. “I got in touch with St Columb’s College, where the teachers were based, and I subsequently got a small Mandarin

Language group set up in Foyle College. “The language class has proved very popular with a small number of Year 13 and Year 14 pupils each year who want to learn Mandarin in their private study periods. “It has really benefited the pupils in Foyle College. I introduced Mandarin to the school and over the years that it has been running, quite a number of our pupils have taken up the opportunity to learn the language. They have been through their HSK Level 1 and 2 examinations. This year a group of our pupils made it to the final of the HSBC Mandarin Speaking Competition at the British Museum in London on 6th February. “Our students competed against 14 other schools in the group final. To participate with other schools at that level at the British Museum was a great opportunity for them, and a challenge for them certainly.”

Pupils and their teacher Xu Honge at the HSBC Mandarin Speaking Competition in Belfast

Although I I haven’t benefited personally from the Chamber, it has definitely helped the school and the pupils who have gone on to take up Mandarin and learn the new language.” Hazel says she would definitely recommend the Chamber of Commerce to others hoping to widen their horizons. “I would certainly recommend the Chamber of Commerce to other,” she said. “I discovered that the Seminar was on offer at Ulster University at Magee and I asked if my class could attend. I was given the opportunity to do so and that is where I learned that some business people from the Limavady and Londonderry area were living and working in China and about the links with Ulster University and the Confucius Hub. Knowing all this I felt that our school was missing out and I thought it would be a great opportunity for Foyle College to get involved. “If Londonderry Chamber of Commerce had not held the event back in 2013, I would not have known about the Confucius teachers in the city and our competition participation would not have happened. “It has enhanced the teaching and learning experience of many pupils in Foyle College over the past six years.”



Apex Housing Association 1. Donna Matthewson


Director of Housing

Donna joins Apex from Glasgow Housing Association where she was an Area Housing Manager and subsequently a Locality Housing Director. She began her housing career in 1998 as a front line Housing Officer with West Lothian Council and gained a wealth of housing experience in the following years both within local government and statutory agencies.


Donna’s main responsibilities at Apex are to ensure the effective and efficient delivery of housing management, including rent arrears, anti-social behaviour, void management, tenant participation and the delivery of community investment initiatives to make a real difference to people’s lives.

budget ni

2. Deirdre Walker

3. Gavin Crawley

Director of Supported Living Deirdre joins Apex from the Western Health and Social Care Trust where she was Assistant Director for Care and Accommodation. Deirdre started in the Trust in 1993 as a care assistant, and following completion of her social work degree, she worked in various roles, including as a dementia unit manager, a social worker in the community with older people, a co-ordinator for the Trust’s reablement team and as Head of Service for Care and Accommodation in Older People. Deirdre’s main responsibilities at Apex are to oversee the provision of supported living including sheltered accommodation, housing with care, homeless hostels and residential and nursing facilities.


Promoted to head of IT development within the group: Gavin worked as a Software developer for almost 10 years building large scale enterprise applications for a number of different companies; he joined Budget Energy Group last year as a senior software developer and has developed a lot of new functionality to support ISEM trading, as well as other internal processes within the business. Gavin is now leading a team of developers using Agile delivery and the latest web technologies to compliment business processes together with customer experience.

4. Rochelle Broderick

Appointed to the senior post of Market Trading Manager, Rochelle will manage Budget Energy NI and BE Energy Ireland’s energy trading floor. Rochelle is an experienced Market Analyst with a demonstrated history of working in the utilities industry. She holds a BBS in Economics and Finance from the University of

Limerick and an MSc in Energy Management from Dublin Institute of Technology. Rochelle joined Market Operations in EirGrid in 2012 where she worked across several functions including; Pricing and Scheduling, Market Settlement, Market Registrations and Fuel Mix Disclosure. In 2015, she progressed to Market Analyst. During her time in EirGid, she was solely responsible for the design and automation of a process for the issue, maintenance and publication of Energy Identification Codes (EIC), in line with relevant EU Regulations and acted as the Local Issuing Office (LIO) representative for Ireland and TSO EirGrid. In January 2017, Rochelle departed EirGrid to embark on a round the world trip and upon her return she joined Budget Energy in October 2017. Rochelle was responsible for leading the ISEM Go-Live Project to ensure a smooth transition to the new market, which commenced in October 2018, and has since led the ISEM trading and analysis team within Budget Energy.







fleming agri 5. Maggy McCartney

Fleming Agri Products are delighted to announce the appointment of Maggy McCartney as Human Resources and Health and Safety Officer. Maggie brings a great deal of experience having worked within her family business, Edel MacBride designer knitwear whilst undertaking her Masters Degree in International Business at the University of Ulster, Magee Campus. Maggy also spent some time abroad working for the Walt Disney Corporation in Florida before returning to Northern Ireland where she then took up a Human Resources role with Grafton Recruitment. Maggy is excited to join the team at Fleming Agri Products and looks forward to utilising her skills and experience within the world of Agricultural Manufacturing.

Visit Derry O’Neills 6. Enda Doherty

O’Neills International Sportswear Ltd has recently appointed Enda Doherty as their Marketing Manager. Enda is a former Global Sports Marketing Manager with adidas and most recently worked in Dublin where he created and developed award winning marketing, sponsorship and PR campaigns for clients that included Energia, Littlewoods Ireland and Volkswagen Ireland.

7. Charlene Lourens Griffiths

Charlene recently joined the Visit Derry team as Business Development Officer and will be responsible for marketing Derry-Londonderry as a premium destination for Business Tourism, Conferencing, Golf, Screen and Cruise Tourism. Charlene will continue to develop the Conference Ambassador programme and is eager to recruit more champions for the city to raise the city’s profile for hosting world class meetings, incentives, conferencing and events (MICE).



Welcome to The Chamber CONNECTED is highlighting some of the Chamber’s newest members. Let us introduce you to the wider range of members that the Londonderry Chamber represents across the North West. Will your business be featured in the next edition?


Braidwater is one of Northern Ireland’s leading house builders. Braidwater is a progressive company with over 40 years experience in the industry. Based in Eglinton, the company’s successful performance is based upon its commitment to quality and delivery. The Braidwater Group consists of two divisions: Braidwater Homes (private housing) and B W Social Affordable Housing. To find out more visit


Station Bed and Breakfast is a luxury boutique family run B&B brought to you from the award-winning hospitality team behind Bridge Bed & Breakfast Derry. Station B&B is just a pleasant five minute walk from Derry’s historic walls and provides a peaceful and luxurious place to retreat to after a busy day enjoying all that Derry has to offer. More info @

Even Keel Financial Ltd are debt advisors and licensed insolvency practitioners. They have an office in Derry and Bournemouth covering Ireland, NI and UK. They work with companies and individuals giving best advice to our clients in a compassionate and confidential manner. To find out more visit


Cavanagh Kelly are one of Northern Ireland’s leading accountancy and business advisory practices with offices in Dungannon, Omagh and Enniskillen. Founded by Sean Cavanagh and Des Kelly, Cavanagh Kelly has a heritage dating back 25 years. Their reputation and expertise are underpinned by our widely respected and trusted practice leaders and by the high quality advice and service provided to our clients. They are a people practice, putting instinct... and progress at the heart of everything we do. They have nurtured a strong blend of cultures and complemented core strengths with new business offerings. It is our people that make things happen. Their core business areas: Accounts & Audit, Advisory and Tax, work together to ensure that our clients are offered a comprehensive and all round approach to meeting the challenges they currently face and the opportunities they encounter. They provide advice to companies, directors, individuals and organisations across a wide range of sectors. Visit

Joule Group are a boutique fire safety engineering consultancy and digital solutions business delivering practical fire strategy solutions in design, construction and operation. To find out more visit

Brendan Kearney & Co. Solicitors, established in 1978, is one of Northern Ireland’s leading law firms. With a wealth of experience in many key legal services, the company specialises in personal injury with a particular focus on catastrophic injury cases and medical negligence law.

Loganair as the only Scottish regional airline, Loganair is proud to serve over 40 destinations across the UK, Republic of Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Denmark and Norway, with over 900 flights each week. For more info visit:

Inishowen Gateway Hotel, Buncrana, County Donegal.has eighty bedrooms, a leisure centre, conference room, two function rooms, plus a bar and restaurant. To find out more visit

Studio 2 Creatvie Enterprises CIC is home to and a significant supporter of CCÉ Baile na gCailleach, the Derry City Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann craobh, hosting Fleadh Cheoil Dhoire 2019, the County Derry Fleadh (May 23 to 27). Studio 2 Creative Enterprises CIC is an innovative, creative industries, community interest company, which seeks to support the growth and development of Arts, Culture and Creative Industries opportunities and initiatives across the north west.

Peninsula Business Services are a 24/7 professional support for businesses across employment law, HR, and health and safety. They can provide support in ROI, NI and UK via their offices in Belfast, Dublin and Manchester. For more info visit:

Shandon Hotel & Spa a luxury 4 star resort set amidst spectacular scenery on Donegal’s Wild Atlantic Way. To find out more visit

Store & Go is a new state of the art self-storage business located at 14a Balliniska Road, Derry. It’s fully equipped with Noke smart entry technology, the most advanced security technology available in the market today. Store & Go is the first self-storage business of its kind in Ireland. Noke is a Bluetooth electronic lock and total access control system that allows our customers to easily access their self-storage facility and unit directly from their smart device. Personal, Business, Student and Document storage options available. To find out more visit

To find out more visit


Employers, Do you need workers? Employers, searching for staff from across the border? Let us help - the EURES Cross Border Partnership.

Advice and support for the cross border jobseeker, worker and employer. This publication has received financial support from the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation “EaSI� (2014 - 2020). For further information please consult: 64


The Importance of an Active Workforce Aidan Doherty Proprietor of Aidan Doherty Fitness

Our perception of how happy we are differs when we evaluate it in the present versus when we evaluate it retrospectively. For example, when asked in real time, people say they feel happy as they scroll mindlessly through social media. However, when asked at the end of the day how happy they are with how they spent their time, they say they regret time spent on social media and view it as time wasted. Danny Kahneman, the father of behavioural economics, calls these two perceptions separate parts of our consciousness “The Current/ Experienced-Self” and “The Reflective-Self.” Both have their place, but one is anchored in foresight while the other in decadence, pleasure, and indulgence. Most people have a fair idea of what a happy life means to them. It generally involves monetary and reputational success, raising a family, and being healthy. These things are long term goals requiring us to obey the reflective self. We know from cognitive psychology, that people tend to live hour by hour and are more likely to let the current self take the reins. Recognising that you give too much power to the current self is a good start to fixing this problem. To be truly happy, the reflective self needs to be the driver. An acknowledgement is required, that not living hour to hour is burdensome, it involves controlling urges, abstaining from pleasures, and taking responsibility. Here is where exercise comes in. Exercise trains this part of your cognitive apparatus. When exercising you are subjecting yourself to pain and

discomfort because you recognise the long-term results are worth the short-term suffering. You are not just training your muscles; you are sharpening your cognitive abilities to combat urges towards indulgence. A competent trainer knows that structure is vital to an effective exercise regime. In resistance training we structure movements into sets which further breakdown into reps. There is something about pushing oneself into the rep range one previously thought impossible. This, almost spiritual, phenomena has been coined “The Transcendent Rep” by Elliot Hulse. There is a rep, in every set, which one’s mind believes cannot be reached. Reaching it has the ability to disillusion one of a negative outlook. It can change how a person looks at tasks going forward and can impact how confidently they rate their abilities. It builds an ethos of persistence, discipline, and perseverance. In social sciences, one of the soundest pieces of literature is called the big five personality model. This model is a taxonomy of personality traits and it allows social scientists to measure group differences. One of the findings, based on the big five personality model, is that intelligence and

conscientiousness are the two biggest predictors of a person’s success in fact, these two traits are shared by 30% of successful people. Compliance to a well-structured exercise regime requires an individual become more conscientious, demanding them to be more organised, prepared, and focused. Fostering this attitude overspills into an individual’s work life and results in a more productive workforce. What I am hoping to convince you of is the importance of an active workforce. That, whether you are an employee or an employer, exercise conducted properly can help inject meaning into your life and the workforce. This will help enforce everyone’s sense of purpose and create a motivation to achieve goals, serve a purpose, and live a happier life. My hope is that both employees and employers begin to understand that the benefits of an active workforce go beyond an individual’s health. An active workforce can result in improved productivity and efficiency of the team.



The Final Word by Colin Neill, Chief Executive, Hospitality Ulster

Time to fulfil the potential of the North West hospitality sector The North West plays a vital role in the vibrancy of the hospitality and tourism offer for this part of the island. The city region and its hinterland is the connector of the North Coast and the Wild Atlantic Way. It is a place to be proud of and must be celebrated internationally. Much attention is heaped on other parts of Northern Ireland as leading the way in terms of their offer, but nothing beats the Derry / Londonderry welcome, craic and charm. It is obvious that there is ambition in the hospitality sector here. I can see it in my members who are always striving to make their offer unique or develop their business by reinvesting their profits. However, one main barrier that stands in the way of many fulfilling their potential is the lack of modern liquor licensing. The North West, like many places, has to compete with other destinations in Europe and other parts of the island of Ireland. The proximity to the border also adds another level of complexity with hospitality VAT around 6.5% lower in the Republic of Ireland, never mind continuous fluctuations in Sterling against the Euro.


In recent weeks, we received written confirmation from all the main political parties that on the return of the Assembly, liquor licensing legislation will be prioritised. We are still operating off decades old laws that are restrictive and, in effect, holding us all back. We are hopeful that change is on the horizon and our focus remains on encouraging the parties to come together to restore Stormont. At Hospitality Ulster we have been working hard to ensure that the sector in the North West has the support it needs and the tools to do the job. That’s why at the end of June we have kicked off a ‘Hospitality 2030 - Why to Buy’ special events series in the city looking at

the future trends, practices, and potential of the sector in the next decade. We will bring together some of the leading lights of the industry to impart their knowledge and expertise for the benefit of the business owners and managers of the bars, restaurants and hotels in this region. We really do hope you can join us at future events. Further information can be found at



Profile for Londonderry Chamber of Commerce

CONNECTED Magazine Issue 10  

The official magazine of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce.

CONNECTED Magazine Issue 10  

The official magazine of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce.

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