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MONTHLY NEWSLETTER OF LONDONDERRY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

NWRC hosts FREE Women in STEM conference NWRC hosts FREE Women in STEM conference North West Regional College (NWRC) is inviting local people interested in forging a career in the STEM industries, to a FREE event at their Strand Road Campus on Friday March 22, at 10.30 a.m. The ‘Women in STEM and Digital Technologies’ Conference, presented by TV personality Sarah Travers features an exciting line up of speakers currently working in the fields of Digital, Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. They are Jennifer Neff from Elemental; Mary McKenna, Technology entrepreneur, Angel investor and co-founder of Learning Pool; and Irene McAleese, Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at See.Sense (Safer Cycling), and winner of the 2018 Spectator’s Economic Disruptor Award (the only woman among 12 finalists). The event will culminate with a panel discussion chaired by NWRC lecturer and broadcaster Freya McClements when the key speakers will be joined by Roisin Crawford, STEM Aware, and Nuala Murphy from Moment Health, Top Start-ups UK 100 and Lean-In Ireland. Suzanne Rodgers, Curriculum Manager of Media and Journalism at NWRC, and co-ordinator of the conference encouraged women of all ages interested in STEM careers to register for the event. She said: “STEM Occupations continue to be among the fastest growing careers as Technology continues to grow at a rapid pace. “The Women in STEM conference is a great opportunity to hear first-hand from women forging successful careers in a male-dominated area. There will be plenty of ‘how to’ advice and a chance to reach out to a possible mentor/advisor/investor. “We’d particularly extend a warm welcome to students across the North West currently in post primary education, who are in the midst of making vital decisions about their futures, to come along and find out what a career in STEM could look like for them.” NWRC offers a range of full and part time courses in a number of STEM disciplines. For more information log on to www.nwrc.ac.uk/apply To register for this event at the College’s Student Zone in the Foyle Building, which includes free lunch at 1 p.m. log on to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/women-in-stem-and-digital-technologiestickets-58634193451


LegenDerry Food Experience event hosts Food Strategy launch The Walled City Brewery’s “LegenDerry Food Experience” showcase event on 27th February was the perfect setting for Derry City and Strabane District Council to announce details of its ambitious plans to build on the city and district’s unique food offering in order to position Derry~Londonderry as the number one food destination on the island of Ireland by 2025. The Local Food and Drink Strategy Action Plan for 2019-2025 was officially launched at a local food showcase event that saw over 70 guests including food stakeholders from across the island of Ireland gather to celebrate and promote the city’s food offering. The ambition is to grow the existing LegenDerry Food brand, establish a food and drink network with local businesses and further develop a strong food culture where local produce is prioritised by hospitality, retail and consumers. Key actions include plans to develop up to 50 new food and drink products, 20 new food and drink experiences as well as develop a full calendar of food events throughout the year. Launching the Strategy, the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Cllr John Boyle outlined details of its ambitious targets for growth that include doubling food and drink related visitor spend to £33m by 2025 in line with the Council’s Tourism Strategy. He said: “The strategy highlights the unique selling points for development which include the Lough Foyle Irish Flat Oyster, Unique Food Heritage, A Cultural and Vibrant Food Scene and further positioning the Walled City as the gateway to the wider food experience.” In addition to the Strategy being launched, guests were encouraged to sign up to be part of the newly established LegenDerry Food and Drink Network. This is an informal network of businesses and organisations within the sector who will work in close collaboration to represent, promote and develop the local food & drink offering within the Derry City and Strabane District Council area. They will work in partnership with Council and the Strategic Food Group to support with the delivery of the Local Food and Drink Strategy. It will also afford local businesses a range of opportunities to be part of best practice trips, gain access to tradeshows, and networking events as well as taking an active role in shaping the activity that will grow the city and region as the leading food destination on the island. James and Louise Huey, owners of the Walled City Brewery said they were delighted to host ‘A LegenDerry Food Experience’ saying the event highlighted why uniquely positioning the city and region’s authentic food and drink products and interacting with customers can create an experience that will leave a lasting impression. James said: “This event was the perfect opportunity to launch the strategy and provided us with a fantastic forum to showcase our produce. I am really excited to play a part in the newly formed Food and drink network and look forward to working with Council and all those in the food sector to really drive the City forward as the number one Food Destination on the island of Ireland.” Jennifer O’Donnell Tourism Manager with Derry City and Strabane District Council explained that in devising the Strategy officers looked at other locations that are benefiting from food tourism including San Sebastian in Spain and Melbourne in Australia. She said, “Food Tourism is a significant area of growth, with visitors increasingly seeking out unique and memorable eating and drinking experiences. Food really connects people to a place and we want to continue to grow this element of our tourism offer. This strategy now provides a roadmap to do this. We have a number of key propositions that include our Lough Foyle Irish flat oyster, a unique food heritage and a truly vibrant food scene which set us apart from other destinations. We believe this Strategy is ambitious, but achievable and the vision clearly sets out where we want to be positioned in the market place,” she concluded. Concluding the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council said he was confident the Strategy would create a flourishing food and drink sector that will be successful in driving tourism growth both in visitor numbers and spend. “This Food Strategy has the potential to showcase our wider destination offer that reflects our local heritage and unique culture.” The Food and Drink Strategy is a Niche EU funded INTERREG project.


New Year Resolution 2019 - Positive Action in Employing People with Disabilities A new five step recruitment guide has been launched by Disability Action and the Northern Ireland Union of Supported Employment. The resource ‘Employing People with Disabilities: A Positive Action Guide for Employers’ has been designed to help employers to match the right people with the right jobs, achieving positive outcomes for everyone. The Positive Action Guide outlines the experiences from local Northern Ireland employers who already recruit disabled staff. The five step guide is easy to follow and Disability Action is happy to talk with any employer who wishes to explore positive action. Dylan Glenholmes was successful in getting a job at Oranmore Guest House and Tea rooms with the support of Disability Action. Speaking about his job Dylan said, “I’ve now really settled in here and feel part of the team”. Fiona and Gerard McLarnon who own the business added, “having Dylan in the workplace has also helped other staff and given us knowledge, understanding and confidence about employing someone with a disability and has helped us all encourage and support each other.” Karen Smith, Disability Action encourages employers to take the steps towards positive action recruitment, “We want 2019 to be the year that many more employers across Northern Ireland take positive action to recruit people with disabilities. Please talk to Disability Action or the Northern Ireland Union of Supported Employment or your local disability organisation; we are here to support employers at each step.” The Positive Action guide is available online at www.disabilityaction.org/5stepguide or by contacting Karen Smith at Disability Action on 028 9029 7800/karensmith@disabilityaction.org or Edyth Dunlop at the Northern Ireland Union of Supported Employment on 028 7137 7709. This project is part funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014-2020 and the Department for the Economy. It is also part funded by the Department for Communities. Job Match is delivered by Disability Action in partnership with the Department for Communities and the Northern Ireland Union of Supported Employment.’ Alchemy Technology Services officially started its second Academy at North West Regional College this Monday. The Academy is a 5 week pre employment training program funded by the Department for the Economy. Welcoming the new recruits on to the course, Founder and CEO John Harkin said “Our first Academy here was a big success. All 20 recruits were offered and accepted jobs with us and are now working on client projects across the UK, Ireland and Europe. We have high hopes that in a few months time, you’ll be in the same position.” Over the next 5 weeks, the recruits will undergo training in technical skills, soft skills and industry knowledge to equip them for a role as a Technical Analyst at Alchemy. They will then go on to work with leading insurance companies and software providers to lead digital transformation in the insurance industry.


2019 is the 25th anniversary of First Choice Selection Services. This year they also celebrate the opening of their Foyle office which is open for anyone wanting to register. First Choice Recruitment provide recruitment solutions across the Professional, Commercial, Industrial and Healthcare sectors. They have a dedicated team of consultants placing over 5000 staff every single week in a wide range of permanent and temporary positions across Northern Ireland. If you are an employer looking to recruit new staff get in touch and First Choice Selection Services will be happy to help you.

Innovative Foyle Crossing Shortlisted for Engineering Project of the Year firmus energy is delighted to announce that the River Foyle Project has been shortlisted for a prestigious Network Award. The multimillion pound project, which took two full years of planning commenced in September 2018 is the biggest drill project to be undertaken on the island of Ireland. Together with local contractor Kier and McCormack and Son’s, a specialist directional drilling sub-contractor, the project is now completed and natural gas is flowing to the Cityside of Derry/L’Derry. Commenting on the announcement, construction manager Jonathan Strain said: “The Cityside natural gas network has grown considerably since 2007 and now comprises 190km of gas mains and over 10,000 customers. Because of increasing demand and ambitious plans to grow the network further, it was imperative to complete an additional crossing.” “To be shortlisted for such a prestigious award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the firmus energy team and contractors to successfully complete the River Foyle Project and ensure network capacity for the next twenty years.” firmus energy plans to lay a further 21,003m of pipeline this year to deliver natural gas for local residents and the Foyle crossing will help facilitate increased supply in the Cityside and allow the network to expand further for the next 20 years. A 355mm diameter, 660m, 2” thick wall polyethylene (PE) pipe was used in the installation of the gas main. Using a 50 tonne drilling machine, Kier Utilities and firmus energy worked closely with specialist drilling contractor, McCormack Drilling to drill through rock 25m under the river bed below the Derry~Londonderry to Coleraine railway line. The project has also been used to highlight STEM career opportunities with local schools. The winner will be announced at an award ceremony at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole on 26 March 2019.


Ex-Airporter site in Bay Road is now available to rent Offices are now available to rent on the former site of the Airporter offices on Bay Road, Derry after their successful move to Foyleside Coach Park. The site has been instrumental in Airporter’s growth over the past 5 years, with 75,000 passengers being carried in 2012 to 155,000 passengers being carried in 2018. The site is incredibly prominent and visible from one of the busy roads in Derry and ideal for a variety of purposes. Full description and specifications can be downloaded at http://bit.ly/2EfwJeY

AAA is an exciting new charity, housed in the Millennium Forum and working with the Millennium Forum to provide equal access to theatre and arts for all. Through fundraising and liaising with customer groups who are affected by physical, sensory and cognitive disabilities, we hope that small changes will make big differences to the experiences of our audiences. Some of our projects include, relaxed performances for customers and their families affected by autism, audio described performances for customers who have limited sight, monthly Dementia Friendly Tea Dances, monthly Energy of Light Discos for disabled young people at 15 plus. A members group who meet regularly to inform the Millennium Forum of issues affecting people with disabilities. For events and bookings visit Millennium Forum online at www.millenniumforum.com


Sole Purpose Wins Award In New York! A powerful Northern Ireland play which explores mental health and suicide has returned from Origin’s 1st Irish Theatre Festival in New York having won the prestigious Special Jury Prize. Blinkered, by Patricia Byrne of Sole Purpose Productions based in Derry, performed at the 1st Irish Festival in New York in January, a festival showcasing high quality new work from Ireland. The play is directed by Shauna Kelpie, and performed by a stellar cast including Patrick McBrearty (Colleen Bawn, Lyric), Cathy Brennan Bradley (Peni’s From Heaven, Supanova Productions), Gemma Walker-Farren (The Makeyuppers) and Marty Maguire (Ardnaglass on the Air, C21 Theatre Company). The play received amazing audience responses in New York and was nominated for four awards including Best Actor (Patrick McBrearty), Best Actress (Gemma Walker-Farren), Best Design, and Best Production. Other winners included Fionnula Flanagan, currently on Broadway in The Ferryman, who was honoured with a Special Lifetime Achievement Award. Origins 1st Irish is the world’s only theatre festival dedicated to showcasing the work of contemporary Irish playwrights with a mix of new and acclaimed productions from both sides of the Atlantic. Started in 2007 the festival has expanded each year. With this being Sole Purpose Productions first appearance at the festival. Sole Purpose worked in partnership with the New York Irish Center and its Arts and Cultural Director, Jane McCarter, to take the play to New York, and it was co-produced with Kat Kavanagh, Professor at City University of New York. Kat Kavanagh remarked, “Blinkered is one of the most powerful shows I’ve seen. I wish every college student could have seen this production. The story had a profound impact on the entire audience. While this is an Irish play, this family is recognizable and relatable to all people — no matter where you are from or where you live. The story speaks to our humanity and is universal”. Patricia Byrne commented, “This is an outstanding achievement and we are all very proud of the production we have brought to the festival. I am forever grateful to the funders who have made this possible, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Culture Ireland” Gilly Campbell, Head of Community Arts & Education, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said, “Congratulations to Sole Purpose on winning the Special Jury Prize at Origin’s 1st Irish Theatre Festival. Sadly we live in a time where issues of depression and suicide amongst our young people are increasing. This play is a great example of using the arts to educate and understand these difficult issues that young people can face and we are hugely proud of Sole Purpose for showcasing the immense talent of Northern Ireland on an international stage.” Sole Purpose Productions mission has always been to bring difficult social topics in to non – traditional theatre settings. With Blinkered receiving this award it can only help get the message across about this powerful piece of work. For more information about Sole Purpose Productions visit www.solepurpose.org Information about the Origin Theatre 1st Irish Theatre Festival is on https://www.origintheatre.org/whats-on/1st-irish-festival.


O’Neills lead sponsor for gala event to honour former Derry captain O’Neills – The Choice of Champions – have been announced as lead sponsor of the Ryan McBride Soccer Sixes which will take place in the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium on 5th May 2019, followed by the annual Gala Ball in the fantastic setting of the City Hotel. Fans are in for a real treat when a host of former domestic and international stars line out on in honour of the much loved former Derry FC captain and the Foundation set up in his name, with some well-known faces to be announced in the coming weeks. Sportswear giant O’Neills, who have a long-standing partnership with the Ryan McBride Foundation, are kindly lead sponsors for the events. Kieran Kennedy, Managing Director of O’Neills which opened its Derry superstore in Waterloo Place last year, said the locally based international sports company was proud to be associated with the Ryan McBride Soccer Sixes.

Pictured at the launch of the Ryan McBride Soccer Sixes sponsored by O’Neills are front left to right, Daire Doyle (PFAI), Gareth McGlynn (Derry City), Paddy McCourt (Celtic). Back left to right, Annie McCay (Ryan’s niece), Aisling Hutton (Ryan McBride Foundation), Rory Cooper (General Manager City Hotel), Kieran Kennedy (Managing Director O’Neills), Mairead McKenna (Ryan’s girlfriend).

He said: “Once again a host of former football stars will be out in force to honour the Derry City captain who was held in such high esteem not just throughout the city but by the wider Irish footballing community, and to support the Foundation set up in Ryan’s memory.”

“ONeills are literally part of the fabric of the sporting community not just in the North West but across the world and it is a privilege to support the Ryan McBride Soccer Sixes and Gala Ball 2019 which will without doubt follow the success of last year’s poignant event.” Caitlin McBride, Ryan’s sister, added: “Having O’Neills as our lead sponsor also adds prestige to the event and Kieran and his team have been brilliant supporters of the Foundation from the outset, stocking our merchandise in their Waterloo Place store. It is fantastic to work with a company that is both a local success story and a leading brand in Irish sport.” The Soccer Sixes will kick off in the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium at 1pm on 5 May, featuring Glasgow Celtic, Republic of Ireland, Derry City and PFA Ireland Select. A limited number of early-bird tickets for the Soccer Sixes are priced at £25 adult, £10 child, £60 family of 4. Tickets for the Gala Ball at the City Hotel are priced at £60/table £600. Please contact the Ryan McBride Foundation on Facebook or Twitter for further details.


Enterprise North West leading Young People join special Youth 19 Think Tank Local young people are being invited to come up with some creative new ideas to motivate teenagers across the City and District, as part of the Youth 19 programme for Derry and Strabane. The Design Thinking programme will be delivered by Enterprise North West in conjunction with Derry City and Strabane District Council as part of the wider Peace IV Disrupt Programme, a project supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). The programme aims to address the common complaint of young people having “nothing to do” and during the project young people will analyse, assess and decide what needs to happen for young people across Derry and Strabane to get active and get involved. Enterprise NW will now deliver a series of workshops with the support of the North West Regional College’s Strabane Campus over the next four months. Welcoming the initiative Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor John Boyle, said it provided a great opportunity for young people to enhance youth culture here. “The Design Thinking programme hands control back to our young people and will enable them to come up with some creative solutions to an age old problem. By getting involved in the project there will be a real incentive for young people to make it work and come up with some really relevant ideas to appeal to their peers. “We have so many talented and innovative young people here in Derry and Strabane and I look forward to seeing the development of the project and the range of ideas that emerge over the coming months.” In the next four months the group of young people will work together with specialist mentoring assistance from Enterprise NW. The group will then be allocated £10,000 to implement their solution. Programme Lead with Enterprise NW Brian O’Neill, said: “Through working with the young people, Enterprise North West will ensure that the group will develop their skills in leadership and critical analysis. They will then be supported through the specialist mentoring to implement their ideas and solutions through accessing the additional financial support on offer from Council.”

Last week FinTru North West office warmly welcomed the second Financial Services Academy. Read more here about their Academy success, https://www.fintru.com/north-west-academy-ii


We are delighted to announce that Frances Lundy will be speaking at the 3rd Annual Female Entrepreneurs conference in association with Causeway Enterprise Agency and Women In Business NI. Hosted by Sarah Travers, the theme of this year’s conference is Be Bold for progress and success, and is designed to inspire people by providing them with world class speakers & role models who will share their views on Northern Ireland entrepreneurship and plans for the future. Frances will be sharing the stage alongside many other inspirational guests such as fellow entrepreneurs Jennifer McKeever, Caroline O’Neill, Kate Burns and Linzi Rooney. Frances is excited to share her inspiring story, exploring how she has made bold and brave decisions with the help and support of long term colleagues and clients throughout her successful career in order to establish Riada Resourcing as one of the leading independent recruitment agencies in Northern Ireland for over 18 years now. The Conference and Gala Lunch will be a day of networking, learning and thought provoking insights, with honest advice from industry experts to help businesses grow and thrive. Keep up to date on all the latest news and pictures from the event on our Riada Resourcing Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin Pages in the lead up to and during the event on Friday 8th March 2019.

RiverRidge Continues to Invest in New Fleet RIVERRIDGE, Northern Ireland’s leading waste management specialist, has recently taken delivery of seven new Mercedes-Benz Boughton Hook Loaders from MBNI Truck & Van. The deal was facilitated through Mercedes-Benz Financial Services and is part of an ongoing multimillion-pound deal to develop the RiverRidge fleet. With a fleet of 150 vehicles and trailers across four sites in Derry-Londonderry, Belfast, Coleraine and Portadown, RiverRidge will use the latest arrivals to replace some of the older fleet which was acquired during previous acquisitions. The seven Mercedes-Benz Arocs 3240k have been fitted with Boughton Hook Loader equipment through Stewart Commercials.Tony Kirkpatrick, Transport and Logistics Director of RiverRidge comments, “This latest delivery of vehicles from MBNI Truck & Van and Stewart Commercials adds real value to our current fleet, ensuring that our excellent operational ability continues to be sustained. “Having been awarded the Export and Freight’s Excellence in Compliance award for a second year running shows that we know exactly what is required to ensure RiverRidge maintains a high quality, compliant service. These new vehicles offer reduced downtime, improved safety features, improved fuel consumption, reduced engine emissions and importantly increased driver comfort, helping us keep quality at the centre of our business.” Julian Brown Sales Director at MBNI Truck and Van adds “The Arocs is fitted with our new 320mm tunnel cab, offering one less step into the cab whilst keeping excellent overall visibility. High functionality and lots of new and practical details help make a difficult job much easier. With the additional benefit of an all-inclusive vehicle maintenance package from MBNI Truck & Van, these RiverRidge vehicles have as little down time as possible.”


Mercedes-Benz Invests £3 Million In New Boucher Crescent, Belfast Premises Due to sustained growth in the Northern Ireland market, Mercedes-Benz has invested £3 million in a new 10,000 square foot Approved Used car showroom on Boucher Crescent, Belfast. The site, which is the first of its kind in the Mercedes UK network, houses over 100 Mercedes-Benz Approved Used vehicles at any given time. A team of 12 Mercedes’ Executives are also on hand in the showroom to respond to customer enquiries and deliver the exceptional service Mercedes-Benz clients expect. Discussing the investment and how it represents a commitment to the future of Mercedes-Benz in Northern Ireland, Managing Director Thomas Taggart says: The building comes in response to the phenomenal demand for Approved Used Mercedes-Benz vehicles in Northern Ireland. Situated just across from Mercedes’ existing showroom on Boucher Crescent, it is a hi-tech space with a minimalist, sleek design that is synonymous with Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes-Benz Belfast Approved Used Sales Manager Simon Gregg adds: “Our Approved Used showroom is a great example of how we respond to and cater for our customers’ needs. The site offers all the luxuries that customers deserve including sumptuous surroundings, helpful sales executives, on site WIFI, refreshment facilities, barista trained staff and a comfortable waiting area. As a result of the brands investment, four new roles have been created at the site, which is also a sign of our commitment to our expanding customer base in Northern Ireland.” “We’re extremely proud of our new premises which will enable customers to fully explore the quality used stock that Mercedes-Benz Northern Ireland has to offer.” To view the Approved Used showroom log onto https://www.agnewcars.com/news/mercedes-benzapproved-used-new-showroom/17946/newsdetail.aspx or visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ DJ3Opm0TCU The site is situated across from the existing showroom on Boucher Crescent and compliments the existing new car showroom offering.


Loganair’s NEW City of Derry Airport to London Stansted service takes flight! On 27th February 2019, Loganair’s new service between City of Derry Airport, (CoDA), and London Stansted commenced operations. Passengers departing on the inaugural flight were treated to light refreshments and entertainment. Loganair’s Managing Director Jonathan Hinkles welcomed passengers on board their inaugural flight, which departed from City of Derry Airport at 07:05am. Mr. Hinkles stated: “We are very pleased to be able to continue the vital airlink between Derry and London Stansted. Bookings have been extremely positive which only re-enforces how important this route is to the region. We look forward to building on a successful start with the new Derry to Manchester schedule starting the 24th May. Both Stansted and Manchester will operate on our Embraer 145 jet aircraft, and with our existing Glasgow service brings the total routes served by Loganair from City of Derry Airport to three.” Regional & City Airport’s Contracts Director, and representative of the management company at the Airport, Mr. Clive Coleman, outlined that the double daily service enables travellers within the local area to depart CoDA early morning and return the same evening as well as acting as a catalyst for in-bound tourism to the region. Clive stated: “We are absolutely thrilled to have Loganair commence operations of our London Stansted public obligation service. This is great news for the airport and the wider North West region. A direct air link with a London airport is imperative for this region - and our business community.” The route runs twice daily on a 49-seater jet aircraft with an early morning departure each day that is particularly suited to business travellers and commuters from the region to arrive in central London early in the morning and complete a full day’s business before returning back on an early evening flight. Maintaining frequent, convenient and competitively priced air services to and from London is vitally important and this route is vital for the economic development of the North West region. Airport Manager at City of Derry Airport, Charlene Shongo, outlined: “The double daily service between City of Derry Airport and London Stansted, (exception Saturday when there is one service) has already proven very popular with business and leisure travellers throughout the North West with Loganair indicating strong sales to date. “The new service offers customers a convenient, all-inclusive service where 20kg hold baggage and 6kg hand luggage fly for free and passengers can enjoy complimentary in-flight refreshments on board, with prices starting from just £39.99pp one way. Loganair also offer discounted child fares and a frequent flyers loyalty programme. Flights to London Stansted can be booked via www.loganair.co.uk and Stansted Express train tickets can be purchased at City of Derry Airport prior to departure. Mrs Shongo concluded: “City of Derry Airport is a vital piece of transport infrastructure and is the airport of choice for the North West of Ireland, offering both convenience and excellent customer service. I would encourage all travellers to ‘Fly Local and Choose CoDA’ when making future travel arrangements. We have fantastic facilities on our doorstep, and it is essential everyone takes advantage of their local airport for future air travel where possible.” For more information on Loganair’s new daily service from City of Derry Airport to London Stansted, visit www.cityofderryairport.com.


The Derry office of leading international third-party mortgage servicing provider Computershare Loan Services, has donated toys and treats for local children who have experienced the death or loss of a parent. Employees handed over food, toys, and toiletries to Kinship Care NI’s Northern Ireland Christmas Appeal. The charity helps and supports children who are being brought up by grandparents and other extended family members. The gifts, paid for by employees themselves, were distributed between local youngsters and teenagers in the run up to Christmas Day. Steve Jennings, Operations Director at Computershare Loan Services, Derry, said: “We are delighted to be able to make a difference to the lives of children and their families in our own community at such an important time of year.” Jacqueline Williamson MBE, Chief Executive of Kinship Care, said: “Christmas is an especially difficult time of the year for children in kinship care. We were overwhelmed by the sight of the gifts, especially when we learned they had been provided by staff themselves. “Our youngsters and their carers enjoyed a Christmas knowing that everything from food to little surprise presents had been taken care of.”


A judge has rejected a challenge to proposals to build a controversial gold mine in the Sperrin Mountains Canadian firm Dalradian has applied for permission to develop the mine near Greencastle in County Tyrone. But the development was opposed by some residents, who challenged aspects of the planning process in the courts. The Department for Infrastructure has welcomed Friday’s judicial review judgement. Residents from Greencastle, Rouskey and Gortin had challenged the department’s decision to consider a planning application for the gold mine. They claimed a mandatory community consultation ahead of the submission of the planning application for the mine was deeply flawed. The residents’ lawyers argued that Dalradian’s proposals for operating a mine in the Sperrin Mountains were not “oven ready” when presented to the public. But a judge dismissed their bid for a judicial review and held that planning laws did not require the developer to publish and consult on a finalised scheme at that stage. He said: “Neither a completed project concept nor a highly advanced one is required by the statute or the associated common law principles.” The court was told this month that there had been 10,000 objections to the mine plans but that 3,000 letters of support had also been received. Dalradian has claimed the mine could tap into £3bn in gold and provide a £750m boost to the Northern Ireland economy. The judge held that the planning applicant was only required to conduct a public engagement exercise, which gives the community “a fair and reasonable opportunity to express its views relating to the general terms of the project then in contemplation”. After the ruling, Dalradian said it was looking forward to “our planning application proceeding through to the public inquiry stage”. “We will continue to work constructively with the local community and to further develop our relationships with our near neighbours.” Martin Conway from the Greencastle, Rouskey, Gortin Concerned Community Group said its members were “disappointed yet not deterred” by the ruling. “One thing is clear - we are determined to protect this area and its people, its future generations and its future conservation,” he added. “We will leave no stone unturned until we achieve this objective.” The Department for Infrastructure said the judgement confirmed that it “was correct” in accepting that the consultation carried out by Dalradian was “adequate and satisfied all relevant legal and procedural steps”. “As a result of the judgement the department will continue to process the minerals planning application,” it added.


BEECH HILL COUNTRY HOUSE HOTEL LAUNCH NEW AFTERNOON TEA SERVICE The Beech Hill Country House have just launched a new and creative Afternoon tea led by Pastry Chef, Monto Mansour. With over twenty years’ experience Monto Mansour was born to work in the delicacies and intricacies of pastry. With an eye for detail and abundant creativity and passion, this is the start of a new & innovative afternoon tea chapter at The Beech Hill and the North west region. Involving delicious savoury wraps, finger sandwiches accompanied by a delightful espresso of soup, and warm rustic scones which are full of light texture and served with whipped cream and homemade jam proudly made from produce grown in our own Walled Garden. For all those with a sweet tooth we have them most glorious array of pastries, balanced to perfection and with the combination of texture, flavour and sweetness that are everything an afternoon tea lover would desire! Afternoon Tea is served daily from 12 – 5 and you can reserve a table in the lounge or conservatory – whether celebrating (or not) there is also the option to add bubbles to your afternoon tea experience! Visit www.beech-hill.com for more information

DERRY GIRLS SPECIAL OFFER EVERGLADES HOTEL Enjoy a Derry Girls themed break at the Everglades Hotel! Have you fallen in love with the hit comedy series, Derry Girls? The Channel 4 comedy has put the city firmly on the map as millions of viewers across the UK & Ireland have enjoyed the antics of the girls and their family set in 1990’s Derry-Londonderry. To celebrate the success of the show and with the second season on the horizon, we have put together a very special experience, offering you the chance to become a Derry Girl for the day. Don’t worry male fans, you can also avail of the offer - we’ll not tell anyone! Enjoy overnight accommodation, a full Irish breakfast, guided walking tour and welcome cocktail. Available from £55 pps. To find out more visit www.hastingshotels.com/everglades-hotel/Derry-Girls


Bishop’s Gate Hotel Features in TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards Bishop’s Gate Hotel has once again featured in the annual TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards. In the UK’s Top Hotels Overall category, the exquisite Grade B1 hotel was second, while in the Europe category it was 15th. The hotel was also ranked 12th in the UK Best Service award category. Commenting on the achievement Ciaran O’Neill, Managing Director of Bishop’s Gate Hotel, says: “We’re absolutely thrilled to feature in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards for the third year running. Last year, Bishop’s Gate Hotel took the No.3 spot in the UK category, so it is great to be second on this coveted list. “The fact that the UK list is compiled on the basis of reviews from individuals who have stayed and shared in the Bishop’s Gate experience is really encouraging. Bishop’s Gate has a commitment to excellence at its core, and our amazing team strive to exceed customer expectations at every occasion. This accolade shows that their dedication, enthusiasm and expertise is recognised and appreciated by visitors. “We are committed to delivering a genuine welcome to all of our guests and we aim to ensure every visit is special, whether it is a formal occasion such as a wedding or simply friends enjoying lunch or afternoon tea in The Gown Restaurant.” Bishop’s Gate has won a host of other local awards since it officially opened in 2016. The hotel has recently been listed in the 45th Anniversary Edition of the prestigious Ireland’s Blue Book, a guide to an impeccable collection of 56 country house hotels, manor houses, castles and restaurants located throughout the island of Ireland. The hotel also featured in The Irish Times – ‘100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland’, and was voted ‘Hideaway of the Year’ in the Georgina Campbell hospitality guide. Georgina is one of Ireland’s leading food and hospitality writers. The exquisite Grade B1 listed Bishop’s Gate Hotel is perfectly positioned within the historic city walls in the heart of Derry City’s Cathedral Quarter. Built in 1899, this hotel blends stunning Edwardian architecture, stylish appointments and luxurious facilities which have been sensitively restored to pay homage to the rich heritage of the building, whilst exceeding the contemporary needs and desires of its guests. Visit www.bishopsgatehotelderry.com for more details or to make a booking.


CityMan Takes Top Groomswear Supplier of the Year Award CityMan has been named the Groomswear Supplier of the Year Award Winner in the 4th Annual Northern Ireland Wedding Awards competition for their talent and dedication to the wedding industry. The Northern Ireland Wedding Awards acknowledge those businesses nationwide that work towards making brides & grooms big day as perfect as possible. CityMan, located at 18 Waterloo Place is owned and operated by father & son David & Bryan McCandless. David said; “We were pleased just to have been shortlisted for the finals along with the cream of the crop from all over Northern Ireland and delighted to have been chosen as the overall winner at Sunday’s black-tie event’. CityMan is already a popular destination for engaged couples but is likely to get much busier after collecting this prestigious award. With an experienced staff and a hands-on approach, Bryan feels it is this that has set them apart from the competition; ‘Our customers seem to like the fact that we are always available to offer help and advice, both in selecting the right outfit to fit a couples style and budget and also to make any alterations to ensure the perfect fit’. Setting CityMan apart from their competition is their innovative “Why hire when you can buy?” approach to groomswear that has since been adopted by others but is still synonymous with CityMan. “We sell wedding suit packages from only £140 per person including 3 piece suit, shirt, tie & shoes. This is comparable, and in many cases cheaper, than renting and means the men own their suits and can make use of them again after the day is over”, explained Bryan. The Northern Ireland Wedding Awards winner was chosen by an independent selection panel. Bryan added; “We would like to thank the awards panel for selecting us as the best groomswear supplier of the year but also all of our loyal customers and previous bridal parties whose reviews I’m sure were a big part of our success”. These reviews would include this from bride Ciara Bamford, posted on facebook on September 25th 2018; ‘These guys are amazing! My husband got his and the groomsmen suits here for our wedding last week. Most of the Groomsmen didn’t live in the country and weren’t arriving until the day before the wedding-so the boys here were great-we sent measurements and they had a few of the suits in stock to make sure they fitted! Sean was particularly helpful. Best bargain for suits-as worked out better to buy than rent and they covered everything! Absolute stars! Thanks’. Bryan was keen to acknowledge the hard work of his staff in earning this recognition; “It is our staff, as much as our competitive pricing and exclusive ranges that help us stand out in a crowded market place. We have a vastly experienced staff force, Paul Cooley, Sean McGlinchey, Martin Smith & Liam McGarrigle each have decades of experience in the men’s clothing industry. I can confidently say you are in safe hands, regardless of who you meet when you call in to the store to browse our collection or get a suit fitted.” “We have no intention of resting our laurels” added David, “The very next morning after the awards we were boarding a plane to Birmingham at 7am to meet with potential suppliers and view further brands & styles to add to our wedding collections in 2019 and beyond.” Any prospective brides or grooms looking to work with the No1. groomswear supplier in Northern Ireland can make an appointment to visit CityMan by calling 028 71263951.


BTYSTE Competition from Wednesday 9th January to Saturday 12th January 2019 Once again a delegation of St Mary’s pupils set off at 6:00am on Wednesday 9th January to travel to Dublin to take part in the 55th BTYSTE Competition accompanied by teacher, Mrs Ann Blanking. The girls ranged in age from thirteen to sixteen years old and represented years 10, 11 and 12. Twelve girls were involved in a total of seven projects. Six projects competed in the Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Sciences category and one competed in the Biological and Environmental Category. The projects were: Investigating the effect of activated charcoal on the absorbance of a range of medicines Maeve Stillman, Year 12 Investigating various plastic bottled drinks for the presence of microplastics Cora Nicholl, Grace Canning, Victoria Fitzpatrick, Year 11 Investigating a method that can be used to determine the active ingredients in medications using two homemade spectrophotometers Ava Canney, Year 11 Investigating ways of removing from water nanoparticles originating from sunscreens Ines McCaul Prazeres, Amy Hutcheon, Year 11 Measuring the effectiveness of blue light screen guards in mobile phones Jennifer Doherty, Aimee Hegarty, Year 12 Investigating the health risks of wearing contact lenses Analise McNicholl, Year 10 Investigating the Effect of Vaping on Live Cells Hollie Harkin, Caitlin McFadden, Year 12 Maeve was awarded third place in her category of Intermediate Individual, Chemical, Physical and Mathematical sciences. Ava was awarded Highly Commended in the same category. Unfortunately, they were competing against each other.

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CONNECTED Extra Vol. 2  

CONNECTED Extra Vol. 2