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Magazine of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce



Gerard Doherty, Director, FTZ


Message from new Chamber CEO New Visit Derry Visitor Centre Focus on Professional Services Chamber Member News




contents 4 Message from the new CEO 6 President’s Message 16 Cover Story


Local mobile communications experts FTZ on getting businesses connected during lockdown

22 Chamber life 36 Chamber Vision, Values and Mission 40 fleming agri

The North West agricultural experts open a new state-of-the-art factory

64 ulster university

Ulster University reflects on an exciting but challenging year

71 welcome to the chamber 78 the final word


By Chamber Vice President, Dawn McLaughlin

4 64


Message from the CEO Welcome to the 12th edition of CONNECTED, the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce magazine. 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 Mairead Reid Production & Design Big Moo Design Advertising Mairead Reid Email Address Front Cover Image Stephen Latimer Photography

Londonderry Chamber of Commerce President Redmond McFadden Chief Executive Paul Clancy Business Development Executive Mairead Reid Events Manager Anna Doherty Events & Communications Assistant Padraig Mallett Accounts Assistant Caroline Murphy t: 028 7126 2379 w:

This is my first edition as Chief Executive of the Chamber as I took on my new role in March of this year – and what a year it has been already. Taking the helm in the middle of a global pandemic and economic crisis has, of course, had its challenges and the last six months or so have been a real baptism of fire. But I quickly saw first-hand the talent, ingenuity, and innovation within our local business community in the North West. This edition of CONNECTED features a special focus on how companies have been getting back to business since early summer and explores some of the innovative ways local firms have been operating in a new world. We hear from the likes of Learning Pool, North West Regional College, Ulster University, and TerraMar about how they have adapted their work to get back to business while keeping their staff, customers, and students safe. This edition also focuses on the growing and flourishing professional services sector in the North West. And finally, we hear from one of the North West’s leading mobile communications providers on the importance of connection and strong telecommunications in the age of remote and home working. We spoke to Gerard and Dermot from FTZ on how they adapted swiftly to Covid-19, getting other businesses up to speed in just a matter of hours and days, and the future for office working post-pandemic. It’s been an exceptionally challenging period for everyone in the North West. But I have been impressed by the spirit of collegiality and togetherness expressed by our business community. Key stakeholders from across the region have collaborated and combined to support the most vulnerable and the worst affected, small businesses have stepped up to provide for their community, and several businesses helped us run informative and useful webinars which allowed business owners to skill up and learn new ways of growing their business in a time of significant upheaval. The Chamber has a clear vision for the future of our region, with a even clearer mission for our members and businesses – we want to help your business succeed in a successful North West. The prosperity of our entire region means the prosperity of our businesses, workers, families, households, and future generations. We will be working tirelessly over the coming years to continue promoting the North West as an attractive place to live, work, and do business, pushing for greater investment from both the public and private sectors, and working closely with partners and stakeholders on both sides of the border to unlock the full potential of the North West. I hope you enjoy this issue of CONNECTED and read about the innovation and resilience of our local businesses. I want to thank everyone again for welcoming me to my new role over the last few months. While I have met as many businesses as I can through our new Can Do initiative and we’ve highlighted the local positive stories in our Good News Fridays series, I look forward to meeting the rest of you in person in due course. I wish you a healthy and happy Christmas and here’s to a more prosperous 2021. Paul Clancy Chief Executive

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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 our members and thank you to those who have contributed to this edition of CONNECTED magazine. Given the strange circumstances of 2020, this edition of CONNECTED is, uniquely, both my first and last edition as President of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce. This year has been one of the most challenging and difficult periods in living memory for our regional economy and business community. Covid-19 has presented an economic and social crisis for business owners the likes of which we have never seen before, and the effects will be here to stay with us for a number of years. The North West has developed a burgeoning and growing economy in recent years. We have a growing retail sector, a world-class tourism and hospitality sector which hosts thousands of visitors every year, and a growing cluster of foreign companies and some of Northern Ireland’s most innovative enterprises which now proudly call the North West their home. Covid-19 presents a serious challenge for our economy, but I have been heartened by the resilience and agility shown by our local companies since March. It is easy to forget that this year started rather more positively with the return of a functioning Assembly and Executive ministers on the Hill, brought about by the New Decade, New Approach agreement. Having political decision-making and decisions made by local ministers, with local communities at the heart of these decisions, is something to be celebrated and I was very pleased to see the return of MLAs to the blue benches of Stormont. Even with energies being understandably focused on the response to the pandemic, I am very pleased that the new Executive has already made significant progress regarding our region. The approval of the long-awaited Graduate Entry Medical School represented the culmination of decades of lobbying from partners across the city and we look forward to welcoming its first students next September. On his first visit here in early March, the Finance Minister also announced that the Executive would provide match funding for the City Deal for Derry and Strabane. And, more recently, a further £15m has been allocated for the A6 Belfast-Derry road, a vital infrastructure project for the region. Further commitments of financial support for the North West recently made by An Taoiseach Micheál Martin are also greatly welcomed.


I won’t deny that the pandemic is a serious threat to our regional economy. Businesses and workers will be affected long beyond this year. The end of the Brexit transition period adds another level of uncertainty and upheaval and businesses desperately need more clarity about what the future will hold for them. But there are reasons to be optimistic for the future. Business owners here are resilient and have reacted superbly to Covid-19. They have taken the necessary steps to protect their workers, serve their customers, and protect their businesses. Chamber will continue to press Stormont, Westminster, and Dublin for vital financial support as the pandemic continues, while also

pushing hard for investment which will level up our region and unlock our potential. Despite the upheaval of this year, it has been both an incredible professional and personal privilege to be President of the Londonderry Chamber. To represent the business community of this region has been humbling and I hope that I have I done it to the best of my ability. I wish my successor every success in carrying on our hard work from this year and I will continue to advocate for the North West as an attractive place to live, work, and do business.

Redmond McFadden Outgoing President of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce


BISHOP’S GATE HOTEL NAMED IN UK’S TOP 10 LIST BY TRIPADVISOR USERS The exquisite Grade B1 listed Bishop’s Gate Hotel, which is perfectly positioned within the historic city walls in the heart of Derry, is living up to its reputation of being the best of the best, with a TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Award. Commenting on this latest accolade, which is judged by industry experts, Managing Director Ciaran O’Neill says: “We’re absolutely thrilled to feature in the annual TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2020. With over 40,000 hotel properties listed on TripAdvisor across the UK, to be named in the top ten again is simply phenomenal. The Bishop’s

Gate Hotel was ranked sixth in the ‘Top 10 Hotels – United Kingdom and Channel Islands’ category, which is a fantastic achievement. This award will provide a real boost to the international image of the region and a boost to tourism. Derry-Londonderry is a confident, vibrant, forward looking city and district that provides the best of all worlds, offering city, coastal and countryside experiences. “We believe in delivering a genuine welcome to all of our guests and we aim to ensure every visit is special, so

it is extremely encouraging to have this recognised and reflected in visitor feedback”. Bishop’s Gate has won a host of other local awards since it officially opened in 2016. Last year, at the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards, the hotel won the prestigious ‘NI’s Best Hotel Stay’ category which is a real indication of the premium standard visitors can expect.



Kearney Law Group Celebrates First Year in Business For many businesses in the North West, 2020 has been tumultuous and none more so than the start-up companies trying to pave their own road to success. This is especially true for Derry-based solicitor and former barrister, Paul Kearney, following the opening of his legal firm, Kearney Law Group on Bishop Street, back in September 2019. After 20 years working throughout the island of Ireland, Paul decided to set up his own law firm. The innovative and forward-thinking practices he used in doing this were contrary to what many before him had followed, but in doing so he has established a successful, reputable, and growing law firm in KLG. Paul made the decision to invest heavily in the latest state-of-the-art technology, digitising processes that enabled him and his team to work fully online and remotely, as well as offering his clients more convenience. This forward-thinking decision ensured that KLG weathered the global pandemic, with the firm practically unaffected.

As the firm celebrated its first year in business earlier in September, it also celebrated the opening of a further six offices - five throughout Ireland, as well as one in London. A fantastic achievement for any company in the current climate. Speaking about his successful first year, Paul said, “I made the decision to install the most up-to-date technology to ensure KLG was at the forefront of the industry and as a consequence, we experienced a huge upshot in productivity, as well as more timely results for clients. The installation and application of this equipment subsequently worked in our favour throughout the pandemic – where many firms had to adjust to using and even engaging in technological processes, our team was already proficient.” Paul continued, “Whilst at times it has been very demanding, as is the nature of our work, it has been a great first year for KLG. I’m very proud of what we have achieved and the first-class service that our clients receive from the KLG team. We have introduced exclusive new products that will ensure we continue to be

Paul Kearney, Managing Director, Kearney Law Group

revolutionary and at the forefront of the legal sector in the years ahead.” For more information on Kearney Law Group, visit

Paragon Health and Children in Crossfire launch new partnership

is an innovative fundraising idea, and we are confident it will be well supported.

we wanted to turn the negative of COVID-19 into a positive – both in the effort to control the spread of the virus and for the local economy.

“COVID-19 has reminded us all of the importance of water, sanitation, and hygiene. Children in Crossfire has recently extended our preschool education programme into Tanzania’s Dodoma region. This includes a commitment to provide hand washing facilities for 700 schools in the region over the next three years.

Children in Crossfire Executive Director Richard Moore and Paragon Director Martin Tierney

Limavady company Paragon Health, which began mass-producing disposable face masks to protect public health during the coronavirus pandemic, have launched a new fundraising partnership with Derry international development charity Children in Crossfire. Proceeds from specially produced PPE mask packs will be donated to the charity, which provides healthcare and education projects for vulnerable children and communities in Ethiopia and Tanzania. Paragon Director Martin Tierney said, “Paragon Health was established earlier this year because


“I have long admired the work Children in Crossfire does under Richard Moore’s leadership. They have been making a direct impact on children’s lives for nearly 25 years, and we are very pleased to be partnering with them now. “Anyone who buys our bespokebranded disposable masks from the Children in Crossfire website will know the proceeds are going directly to the charity, with Paragon Health covering all production and postage costs. We hope there will be strong uptake for this great cause.” Children in Crossfire Executive Director Richard Moore added, “We are delighted that Paragon Health has chosen Children in Crossfire as its charity partner. This

“Most recently we constructed a deep well at St Luke’s Hospital in Wolisso, Ethiopia which guarantees a year-round supply of safe, clean water. We know very well the impact relatively simple interventions can make, which is why we appreciate what Martin Tierney and the team at Paragon Health are doing for us.” For more information on Paragon Health, visit www.paragonhealth. eu. To buy face masks or for more on Children in Crossfire, go to facemasks


Marble Hill develops new natural handwash

John Healy OBE, Vice President and Managing Director, Allstate NI pictured receiving the first Silver Diversity Mark Award with Christine White, Head of Business, Diversity Mark NI

Allstate Northern Ireland are on a winning streak! Following a successful transition to remote working in March, Allstate NI has gone on to receive widespread acclaim for its responsible and innovative workplace culture. When disruptive restrictions were looming back in March, Allstate NI reacted quickly to the changing environment and sparked into action. They ensured that all their employees were able to work from home, sourcing and providing laptops so that their Service Desk team could continue to work outside of their Strabane office. Allstate NI has also been the driving force behind the Cross-Border Workers Coalition, a newly established campaign group set up to tackle remote working laws for cross border workers. The group is applying pressure on the Irish Government to change tax liability regulations so that employees who live in the Republic of Ireland but work in Northern Ireland are not double taxed when they work from home. Central involvement in the campaign highlights Allstate’s support for its workforce and commitment

to ‘new normal’ working practices. In September, Allstate’s Information Security team picked up the Cyber Business of the Year award at the National Cyber Awards, seeingoff competition from large companies across the UK. Their focus on employee health and wellbeing hasn’t gone unnoticed either as they were recently awarded with Digital DNA’s Workplace of the Year award and were also named Responsible Business Champions by Business In The Community for Wellbeing at Work, Responsible Digital Innovation and School Engagement. Allstate also became the first company in Northern Ireland to be awarded Silver Status from Diversity Mark NI in recognition of the respect and inclusion sewn into the company’s workplace culture. This culture of inclusivity flows all the way to the top at Allstate NI with Managing Director John Healy OBE awarded Director of the Year in the Inclusivity category by the Institute of Directors.

Derry-based natural skincare experts Marble Hill have reacted to the challenges posed by Covid-19 by producing a new natural liquid soap and handwash. Based at the Skeoge Industrial Estate, the company was established by natural skin care and wellness expert Dr Maria McGee to provide natural, locally sourced, and effective skin care treatments. All of their 100% natural skin care products trace their source back to a natural spring located in County Donegal. What began as a hobby for Dr McGee making soaps using the water from the natural spring located at her husband’s family farm has turned into a hugely beneficial and successful enterprise. By modifying the oil levels, Dr McGee discovered she could produce soaps and skin care products to treat a range of different skincare ailments including, dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, athletes’ foot, acne, dry skin, and dandruff. The only other ingredients incorporated into Marble Hill products are organic, including argan oil, jojoba oil, shea butter, palm kernel and many others. All Marble Hill products are therefore not only natural – they have no trace of chemical or synthetic products – they are suitable for all skin types. Marble Hill has not only mastered the art of natural exfoliation but also provide products with proven medicinal and therapeutic benefits. Whether through their motivating essential oil which stimulates alertness and concentration, their Q24 oil which minimises scars and stretch marks, their massage oil which targets arthritic and muscular pain, or their daily moisturising Neem Oil for Eczema or Psoriasis prone skin. The company has duly received widespread recognition for its quality, including numerous product recommendations from Vogue and countless 5-star reviews on Amazon. Marble Hill has also received recognition for the quality of products at the Small Business Awards and the North West Business Awards. From treating nappy rash to achy muscles to dry, itchy skin and even anti-ageing relief, Marble Hill covers all bases when it comes to dermatology so invest in your skin and wellness today! For more information, visit



The team at Foyleside recently celebrated the centre’s 25th birthday

Foyleside celebrates its 25th birthday Whilst the hit TV show ‘Derry Girls’ brought living in the city in the 1990s to a global audience, it was the opening of the North West’s landmark retail destination Foyleside Shopping Centre in 1995 which stole the decade. In that same year, US President Bill Clinton even came to the historic walled city known worldwide for its LegenDerry welcome and flair for fashion! Foyleside forged the way for retail therapy by attracting some of the biggest high street names, with main anchor tenants such as M&S, Dunnes, and Debenhams offering an exciting new range of products and services.


Fast forward 25 years and Foyleside is still the premier shopping location in the North West. Reflecting on the milestone, centre manager Fergal Rafferty said, “It is such an achievement for Foyleside to still be as popular as ever. That is testament to the dedicated management team and staff working within the centre itself as well as all of the tenants who have identified this city as a great destination to do business, and of course all of our valued customers. “We have fully embraced diversifications in shopping trends over the years with all of our shops now combining an online service with a fabulous personal in-centre experience.

“At Foyleside Shopping Centre, we have gladly welcomed these changes and made available free WI-FI throughout the centre, contactless car parking payments, electronic gift cards and a click and collect service for online shopping which can be accessed free of charge. We have had a successful 25 years and are delighted to reach this milestone. We look forward to another successful 25 years and to beyond!” For updated store opening times or to purchase a Foyleside Gift Card visit or Facebook @ FoylesideSC


New ‘Urban Village’ to be built at Buncrana Road creating 3,000 new homes Plans to develop up to 3,000 new homes in Derry have been announced by Derry-based developers The Braidwater Group. Located west of the Buncrana Road between the Whitehouse Road and Benview Estate, the site covers around 250 acres upon which an ‘urban village’ of social, affordable, and private homes is expected to be built. The project, which is to be called ‘The Cashel’, is one of the most significant developments to happen in the north-west in recent years, representing a £450 million investment as well increasing the total number of houses in Derry by 8% over the course of construction. The initial phase of the project will see investment of over £100 million to deliver a mix of 800 private and affordable homes.

Approximately 250 construction jobs and apprenticeships will work on the development at any given time, with the supply and resource costs expected to feed back to local suppliers. Sustainability has been a key consideration throughout the development of the project, with a planned high street and central park to provide residents a social hub at its heart. In addition, new community buildings, schools, retail, and convenience facilities will add to the community and commercial infrastructure to make The Cashel a wellfurnished, developed, and attractive new area to live. Vincent Bradley, development director of The Braidwater Group, said, “We are excited to announce our plans for the largest housing development to be built in Northern Ireland in the last ten years. This will bring

From left to right Patrick McGinnis, Chief Executive of Braidwater; Joe McGinnis, Managing Director of Braidwater; Vincent Bradley, Development Director at Braidwater; and Cllr. Brian Tierney, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council ; and Dermot Mullan, Finance Director at Braidwater

a significant economic impact to the North West and address high housing demand.” Connectivity has also been considered throughout the development with Mr Bradley adding, “We will be making a contribution of £1.5 million to build in public transport linkages. We will also be contributing over £7 million into the wider roads network and realigning the Coshquin and Whitehouse Road in a sensitive way.” Making use of the nearby North West Greenway, cycle lanes are hoped to be incorporated into the project to promote the area’s cycle connectivity. The community consultation is expected to open in the coming weeks to give the local community an opportunity to give their feedback on the plans, with detailed plans hoped to be submitted to Derry City and Strabane District Council before the end of 2020.

Leading North West Training Services Providers Merge

Strabane businessman Kieran Kennedy has been named Chairman of a major new North West training services provider

Two of the leading training organisations in the North West have announced that they are to join forces to create a new training and employment partnership. Customized Training Services and Strabane Training Services Ltd. will merge to maximise the training opportunities offered for young people and the unemployed across the region. With

locations in Strabane, Derry, Coleraine, Omagh and Enniskillen, the new partnership is set to boost its reach and availability across Northern Ireland. The strategic merger of the two training organisations comes as good news for those in need of the latest training, expertise, and access to fantastic vocational and personal development programmes. With the shared goal of bettering the employment and career opportunities, this merger could not have come at a better time as we enter a very uncertain period economically. Mia Coyle, the current General Manager of Strabane Training Services, will join the board and assume the role of Managing Director of the newly formed organisation. Mia has over twenty years in the education and training

sector, delivering a wide range of vocational support to young adults and apprentices. Well-known businessman Kieran Kennedy will also join as Chairman. Kieran is well known in business circles and is the Managing Director of O’Neills Irish International Sports Company Ltd. Kieran was also recently appointed to the board of Invest NI. Commenting on the announcement Kieran stated, “I have been on the board of Strabane Training Services for over 30 years and our strategy has been to enhance the programmes available to young people and grow geographically. Customised Training Services has had many years of success working with the unemployed and young people. They cover a much wider area across the North West and therefore this is a perfect fit for both organisations. We have held very constructive discussions with the Board of Customised Training Services who shared our vision of upskilling our young people and unemployed to create jobs both here in Strabane, the North West and further afield. I look forward to enhancing the reach and capabilities of this new organisation”.



a day in the life Name Gareth McCay

Age 37

Hometown Derry

Company McCay Law Limited

Job Title Managing Director

Describe what your job involves As in many small businesses, my job involves almost every aspect of the daily running of the firm. I also have my own caseload of mainly employment law and commercial law matters so it is a full-on role. One of the biggest challenges is assisting clients to run their business whilst finding time to run my own business, particularly since the onset of Covid-19.

Describe in detail a day in your work We have offices in Derry and Strabane, and I split my time between the two offices so I usually get in around 9.15am as I enjoy having an hour at home in the morning before going to work. I spend the first hour replying to emails, going through the post and forwarding tasks onto other members of the team. After that it is usually working through the caseload, holding Zoom meetings and dealing with any number of calls that come in. Because of the nature of my work I very rarely be in court, so my role is very much office based. I have three kids and two are toddlers, so I finish around 6pm and spend a couple of hours with them then the laptop usually goes back on around 8.30pm and I do another couple of hours. It is a 10-12-hour day but that is the nature of the


industry and the service levels that we have promised our clients.

What has been your most memorable day in work?

Professionally, I think it has been the growth of the business in such a short period of time culminating in the opening of our second office in February this year.

I would say that first day of opening the doors as it was a leap of faith at the time and the culmination of months of planning. I literally began with a desk, a chair, a laptop, and a phone with my sister in law giving me a hand. I had just left a firm in Belfast and had never practised in Derry before so there were no guarantees that there was a market for a commercial practice in the North West. Thankfully, we got it right and have gone from strength to strength ever since.

What’s the best advice you have ever been given in work?

What is your greatest achievement?

What qualities do you think make good entrepreneurs in your experience?

On a personal level it was probably my recovery from a spinal injury I suffered in 2010. I spent 12 months in hospital but eventually made a good recovery and managed to walk again with crutches.

I can’t recall specific advice as such but the training that I received during my training contract with JMW in Manchester was exceptional and a fantastic experience. This gave me a good grounding in employment law and commercial law which has served me well throughout my career. I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today had it not been for the lucky break I had in landing that training contract.

I come across a lot of entrepreneurs in my line of work and I always find that the most successful have great resilience and a positive outlook.


Surprise someone with a Foyleside Gift Card A Foyleside Gift Card is the gift that keeps on giving all year round. It really is the perfect gift for your friends and family, letting them choose exactly what they want, whether it’s a Birthday or Christmas present, a special anniversary or just to say Thanks! With Christmas now around the corner there has also never been a better time to purchase a Foyleside Gift Card for business colleagues or a corporate gift. There is always so much shopping to be done and despite the best intentions to be better organised many of us tend to leave things a little last minute. Start writing a list today and get your Foyleside Gift Cards at the ready to put a smile on a special someone’s face to celebrate those all-important occasions.

Fergal Rafferty, Centre Manager, explains, “A Foyleside Gift Card is very flexible where lucky recipients have a huge selection of top brand stores to make their purchases, from styles for all seasons to jewellery, cosmetics, giftware, food and drink and much, much more with a 12 month expiry which can be extended if all funds have not been used within the expiry period. “There has never been a better time to surprise someone whatever the occasion; our customers tell us they also love receiving a Foyleside Gift Card topped up ready to treat themselves as well!” Foyleside Gift Cards are available to purchase from £5.00 to £500 and

Fergal Rafferty, Centre Manager

come in a variety of designs with their own wallet. Visit the Customer Service kiosk on Level 3 or

The Perfect Gift A Foyleside Gift Card is the ideal gift for colleagues and clients. Accepted in over 50 Foyleside stores and restaurants. Available to purchase online or at Customer Service on Level 3. For details visit



CRASH Services celebrates one LEGENDERRY year! Jonathan continued, “There is no fee for the accident management service as CRASH recovers all costs from insurers involved. You can be reassured that we will keep you informed of all your entitlements.” CRASH also provides a full repair estimating package which includes a comprehensive computerised estimate, information on manufacturer repair, and negotiations with an insurer’s appointed engineer if required. Vehicle valuation data can also be provided. This all ensures that the customer can be assured that their vehicle will be repaired properly after an accident. CRASH Services last year added to their in-house repair estimating team with the appointment of Sean McLaughlin who has a long and successful history in the vehicle repair sector stretching over three decades.

The team at CRASH Services celebrates their first birthday in the North West

NI’s leading accident management company CRASH Services is celebrating its first year in Derry~Londonderry.

CRASH Services assist any motorist regardless of the type of vehicle or who the vehicle is insured with.

In the last 24 years, CRASH Services has helped over 100,000 motorists get quickly and safely back on the road following an accident.

Jonathan McKeown, Chief Executive Officer at CRASH, commented, “We are delighted to celebrate our first year in the city. Our expansion to the North West has been very successful, despite the obvious disruption in the last six months, and we were delighted to secure premises in such a prime location close to the city centre.”

CRASH Services offers a complete onestop service including vehicle recovery, collision investigation, arranging repairs, supplying replacement vehicles, claims management and access to legal and medical assistance.

Jonathan said their all-inclusive service is there for all motorists who require it. “If you are involved in a road traffic accident, we take care of everything and remove the hassle to get you back on the road as quickly as possible.”

The prominent site on the Culmore Road opened in September 2019, creating five new local jobs.


Paul Cooney, Fleet and Repair Director at CRASH, said working with Sean to support independent car body repair shops is a key aim. “Repairers need to get properly paid for each job so they can continue to invest in staff and equipment, so that their local customers can be sure of getting a high level of service”, he explained. “This estimating service aims to ensure that repairers receive the right labour hours, rate, paint and materials, plus all specialist charges and obtain the correct prices for parts from the customer’s insurer to put the vehicle back in its pre-accident condition. Sean has been a real asset to our new branch in the North West, he carries out desk-based estimating and on-site inspection at the request of the repairer, usually within 24 hours”, Paul concluded. Call in to the CRASH Services Office on the Culmore Road, open Monday – Friday, or call 028 7136 0281.

Now Available at McDonald’s Subject to availability. © 2020 McDonald’s



Keeping businesses connected during lockdown CONNECTED recently caught up with Gerard Doherty and Dermot Devine from FTZ to find out more about the company’s transition during Covid-19, the increased importance of reliable and secure connectivity for businesses, and the future of the office post-pandemic. “Within 24 hours, we had set up over 20 licences for Microsoft Teams for the entire team. For another client, we activated 15 sim cards for new mobile phones within two hours. Businesses were thrown into this situation essentially overnight and, for many, it was totally alien to them.” Dermot Devine, Operations Manager at Fone Trading Zone (FTZ), sums up the changes businesses have experienced this year pretty well. In a matter of hours and days, companies of all shapes and sizes were forced to adapt and pivot to a model of remote and home working. Meetings were forced online, staff had to get used to working from their bedrooms and kitchen tables, and there was an immediate demand – and need – for reliable, secure telecommunications. Before March of this year, few people would have used on a regular basis (or were even aware of) Microsoft Teams, Zoom or a whole host of other online meeting platforms. Now, there is hardly a day goes by that we all aren’t on several conference calls, virtual meetings, or online conferences. The team at FTZ, based on the Spencer Road in the city, was crucial in connecting several businesses across Northern Ireland at a time of serious upheaval and uncertainty – all at a time when they


Gerard Doherty, Director, FTZ

themselves were trying to get used to the new way of working. “I think we suited where other providers maybe didn’t. Our customers knew we were reliable, we had the skills and expertise for what they needed urgently, and that we would ensure a rapid turnaround. Demand for our business services skyrocketed in the middle of March, from old and new clients alike, but our team was brilliant and ensured we delivered everything that was asked of us”, explains Gerard Doherty, Director at FTZ. Gerard set up FTZ with his wife Clayre Doherty in 2002 with their first mobile phone store in Claudy. Since its humble beginnings as an independent mobile phone store, the company has blossomed into an

all-Ireland business, becoming the first O2 franchise in Northern Ireland in 2006 with two stores in Derry and Larne, and running eight ‘3’ stores across the Republic of Ireland. “It really was all hands on deck for a couple of weeks. After the government announced that people were to work from home, businesses from all over got in touch. They needed staff set up to work from home the next morning essentially in a whole range of services. Everything from online calls and meetings, setting up new mobile phones, sorting out business tariffs”, says Gerard. “These are businesses which had their own clients to serve and their own responsibilities to carry out, so there was an onus on the team to make sure everything was done quickly, correctly, and with minimal disruption.”


FTZ Business Centre team

“Customers recognised our high-quality service and delivery. They could see we were quick, reliable, and there was little to no hassle in getting them and their staff set up in a matter of hours”, adds Dermot. “Word of mouth and testimonials from happy customers were key as well. Business owners in the town speak to each other and, when they had a good experience with us, they were more than happy to recommend us to others. For a business like ours, this is really important and it’s a very big part of why we strive to make sure everything we do and every service we provide is of the highest quality.”

FTZ has a team of dedicated Business Development Managers

Both Gerard and Dermot agree that there’s no substitute for teams and staff working in an office environment together and, while they acknowledge that the world of work has likely changed forever now, they think reports of the death of the office are premature. “Working from home definitely has its benefits and we would encourage our colleagues to continue doing so going forward now. However, while I don’t see office working coming back as normal until FTZ provides personal as well as business tariffs we have an effective vaccine, I think people miss the social side of being in an office with everyone else”, says Dermot. nature of their business, but “I’d agree. I think once a vaccine is rolled out, they admit they are worried people will be keen to get back into their about the impact of ongoing workplace more often. I think a hybrid model of restrictions on other businesses office and home working is the way forward now in the North West. for sure, and I think a lot of employers will now be more flexible about working remotely. We’ve “We’ve really missed the noticed that our staff have definitely missed seeing contact with other businesses each other more often, being able to bounce ideas in the city and our neighbours. or questions off each other, stuff like that that you It’s noticeably quieter now can’t do at home as easily”, adds Gerard. and there’s less of a buzz about the place sadly. You Both men say they are relieved that FTZ managed don’t realise how important to avoid the worst impacts of lockdown, given the that interaction is until it’s

gone, and we’ve missed popping in next door and chatting with other business owners”, says Dermot. “It’s a seriously difficult period for businesses of all kinds at the minute but we’re here to help with keeping your team in touch and making sure you have a reliable and secure communications service.” Close-contact pictures taken pre-pandemic



‘Jets Go’ Summer 2021! NEW Majorca Summer Sun Breaks Available from City of Derry Airport City of Derry Airport is pleased to announce the launch of summer sun services to Majorca with JetsGo Holidays from June - August 2021. This will be a weekly service on Fridays between City of Derry Airport and Palma de Mallorca Airport and the holiday packages offer a wide range of 3, 4 and 5 star hotel options, from self-catering to all-inclusive, to suit all tastes and budgets. Prices include flights, luggage, and transfers, with a deposit of only £75pp. Managing Director at City of Derry Airport, Mr. Steve Frazer, expressed his delight. “We have been working hard to expand on our destination offerings at City of Derry Airport and I am absolutely thrilled that we are working with JetsGo Holidays to offer this new Majorca holiday service. “Our customer feedback is hugely important to us and there has been a clear demand for a summer sun service in recent years. This year the majority of people opting for a staycation have expressed a real desire to get something planned for summer 2021 to look forward to.


“As well as the friendly and convenient travel experience at your local airport, anyone that books a JetsGo break from City of Derry Airport to Majorca will also benefit from exclusive discount on airport parking, with one week’s parking available for just £20 and two week’s parking available for £30, as well as receiving 20% discount on fast-track security, lounge and retail so they can really start their holiday in style!” Mr. Frazer added, “JetsGo have been serving the needs of the Northern Ireland market for three years now and are well placed to cater for every need. Majorca, the largest of the Balearic islands with its fabulous coastline, beaches and steeped in history, is the perfect destination to relax, unwind and put 2020 firmly behind us.” JetsGo Holidays Managing Director, Daniel Reilly, commented, “We are extremely pleased to be able to announce this new service from City of Derry Airport to Majorca for summer 2021, we have had such strong demand from the Northern Ireland market over the past few years for holidays to Spain that it made sense for us to offer a direct flight from this region to complement our Belfast service and truly have Northern Ireland covered. “City of Derry offers an easy and convenient start to a holiday for everyone living in this part of the country, we have a

fantastic range of competitively priced package deals available with family friendly flight times, all bookable with just a low deposit, giving our customers something to look forward to in 2021 without having to break the bank!” JetsGo Holidays from City of Derry Airport to Majorca are available to book now at or by calling 0800 368 9078. Full details are also available on the City of Derry Airport website: Speaking on the current travel climate, Mr. Frazer stated, “The last number of months have been a hugely challenging time for the travel and tourism industry across Northern Ireland and we are very hopeful that this news signifies brighter times ahead.” For more information on the NEW Majorca package breaks available from City of Derry Airport with JetsGo Holidays, visit



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A Chamber delegation welcomed NI Minister Robin Walker MP to the city in August

chamber life While 2020 has curtailed business events, breakfasts, large-scale conferences, and networking opportunities of all kinds, Chamber has been busy with a series of virtual events and some inperson ones with members, politicians, and other stakeholders alike. 2020 has been a year to remember for all the challenges we’ve had to face but it hasn’t stopped Chamber and the local business community from continuing its programme of events, workshops, training opportunities, and engagement with elected representatives. Before the pandemic changed the world as we know it, we celebrated our Annual President’s Lunch on 6 March. With over 200 business leaders and guests in attendance at the City Hotel, Chamber President Redmond McFadden called on newly appointed Executive Ministers to follow through on key pledges made to the North West. Speaking at the lunch, Redmond also urged the UK and the EU to work together to find a post-Brexit


Aaron Ennis, Danske Bank; Angela McGowan, CBI NI; Sarah Travers, host; and Redmond McFadden, Chamber President, at the Annual President’s Lunch in March


Colum Eastwood, MP for Foyle; Redmond McFadden, Chamber President; Sinead McLaughlin, MLA for Foyle; and Andrew Fleming, Fleming Steel, at the Annual President’s Lunch in March

agreement, saying, “Last year was a challenging one for businesses in the North West. Brexit uncertainty and the absence of the Executive put serious pressure on companies across Northern Ireland and our members experienced increased strain over the past year. “While the UK left the EU at the end of January, the UK Government’s announcement last week that it is prepared to walk away from trade talks by June is hugely concerning for businesses across the North West, especially those who trade and travel across the border. Over the next nine months, Chamber will be working hard to ensure businesses in the North West have access to unfettered trade across Great Britain, the EU, and beyond.” Hosted by former journalist and broadcaster Sarah Travers with afterlunch entertainment provided by comedian Colin Murphy, the CBI’s Northern Ireland Director Angela McGowan was this year’s keynote speaker and spoke of the North West’s unlocked potential which could be unleashed through committed investment in infrastructure and jobs. The arrival of Covid-19 put a stop to face-to-face events, but we reacted quickly to create a series of useful and informative webinars and virtual events to help businesses at the start of the pandemic. On 9 April, we facilitated a cross-party webinar with local Foyle MLAs from the SDLP, DUP, and Sinn Féin. This was

a fantastic Londonderry and Letterkenny Chambers held a joint virtual meeting opportunity with Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney for members who were concerned about the impact of Launching the series of online training coronavirus on their business to engage and skills sessions, Chief Executive Paul directly with elected representatives, Clancy said, “We are very excited to who were able to provide guidance be launching our Learning Centre. We and advice to worried business owners, have partnered with leading media while also feeding back to the Executive training and leadership development specific concerns and issues to help experts Bespoke Communications develop support measures. to deliver a programme of webinars, videoconferences, and face to face We launched our Covid-19 Business training events for our members, on Support series in April, providing everything from how to successfully members with the most up to date negotiate and win new business, selling information and guidance. Running online, and developing your own during April and May, these webinars leadership. heard from a range of specialists and sectoral experts and focused on “This is a wonderful opportunity for everything from how to innovate and local businesses in the North West to adapt to the ‘new normal’, the available develop their skills, learn from best financial support packages like the practice and fellow business leaders, furlough scheme and grant schemes, and gain the skills and competencies and navigating the roadmap to safely to grow their businesses, especially at a and securely reopening. particularly difficult time for our regional economy.” On 9 June, in partnership with Ulster Bank, we hosted a cyber fraud The Learning Centre series even awareness webinar to make business included a socially distanced faceowners and members aware of cyber to-face workshop on how to craft fraud attacks and how to protect their appealing and attractive social media businesses. During the summer, we videos in the Bishop’s Gate Hotel also launched our Chamber Learning by Bespoke Communications’ Sarah Centre initiative in partnership with Travers on 25 August. Also, as part of Bespoke Communications. Running the Learning Centre series, IndigoLife every Tuesday at 11am from July Coaching ran a six-week programme on until November, the hour-long authentic leadership through practical sessions focused on topics as varied mindfulness, teaching members how to as leadership, mindfulness, creating build trust and compassion within their social media videos, online selling, and workforce. negotiation.



Away from the Chamber Learning Centre, we ran a number of standalone events including two webinars focused on the tech sector. On 28 July, Gary Davidson from Tech Nation hosted a panel discussion with Scott Wylie from PayHere and Jonathan Black from Blockception on how to scale a tech business online, sharing their insights and experiences of startups and scaleups as well as the supports available out there. A month later on 27 August, our Innovation in the FinTech Learning Landscape webinar taught participants about Chamber, in collaboration with Letterkenny Chamber, launched a major State of the North West survey in the FinTech Learning Labs October talent development initiative, driven by leading companies Pramerica, Optum, and Allstate NI, in close collaboration with Letterkenny Institute of Technology. Members learned more about the FTLL, the potential of FinTech in transforming the North West economic region, the development of a digital corridor between Letterkenny and Derry, and collaboration with local business in the development of programmes such as the MSc in Innovation in FinTech. Throughout the summer and into autumn, we have kept up frequent engagement and meetings with politicians from all jurisdictions to keep the North West and interests of our members at the top of the political agenda. On 27 August, we welcomed Northern Ireland Minister of State Robin Walker Chamber President Redmond McFadden and Chief Executive Paul Clancy MP to Derry. In Minister Walker’s first visit to the North West, a Chamber delegation discussed key challenges and months … This was a positive and MLA and Declan Kearney MLA opportunities facing the North West business useful engagement with Minister on 9 September to discuss Brexit community including Covid-19, Brexit, and the Walker, and we hope to have issues and gain further clarity and City Deal. ongoing engagements with the certainty for businesses as the NIO going forward. Government Brexit transition period ends on Speaking after the meeting, Chief Executive support will be crucial as we protect 31 December of this year. A week Paul Clancy said, “We welcomed the local businesses from the impact later on 17 September, Chamber opportunity to host Minister Walker as he of Coronavirus and any possible President and Vice President visited the North West for the first time this upheaval brought about by Brexit.” Redmond McFadden and Dawn afternoon. This was a timely and crucial McLaughlin welcomed the EU meeting with the Minister as the local business Chamber met with NI Executive Ambassador to the United Kingdom community begins to find its feet again after Junior Ministers Gordon Lyons to the city, João Vale de Almeida. the impact of Covid-19 over the past number of



Coming at a critical time in the negotiations between the UK and the EU, Redmond said, “Ambassador Vale de Almeida’s visit to the North West is indicative of the importance of Brexit to our region. As a border economy and community, Brexit presents a particular challenge to our businesses, workers, and families. Ambassador Vale de Almeida’s visit to Derry highlights the very real concerns local people and firms have about what Brexit could bring to our region.” A meeting with the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Irish Government’s lead on Brexit issues Simon Coveney TD followed on 25 September. As part of wider and more sustained collaboration between our two organisations, this meeting was held in conjunction with Letterkenny Chamber, an indication of the importance and potential threat of Brexit to the entire North West region. This was a useful and positive engagement with Minister Coveney, who was quietly optimistic about the likelihood of the two sides reaching a deal. Speaking after the meeting, Chief Executive Paul Clancy said, “As the Minister said today, while Covid-19 is a temporary disruptor for our economy, a damaging Brexit will be a permanent one. The future prosperity of our region is therefore reliant on a successful outcome to these negotiations and a productive relationship between the EU and the UK … With less than 100 days until the new year, all sides must now focus minds on getting the best possible outcome for our businesses and communities.” A Chamber delegation also virtually met with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis MP on 14 October and urged him and the UK Government to release the necessary funds to protect jobs and livelihoods as the Executive imposed stricter lockdown measures. Chamber President Redmond McFadden said, “We pressed upon the Secretary of State the need for Westminster to properly fund any UK-wide or stricter local lockdown measures in order to save jobs and small businesses. The reimposition of new measures in Derry and Strabane recently, while necessary,

Chamber representatives visiting the newly opened Visit Derry visitor centre

has had a serious and damaging impact on local businesses.” Finally, to keep our members up to date with the latest Brexit twists and turns, Chamber recently launched our Countdown to Brexit webinar series, which kicked off on 22 September, 100 days out from the end of the transition period. With panels of expert speakers on logistics, supply chains, and exports and trade, members have found the sessions incredibly useful for cutting through the noise and bluster. These sessions will run right up until the end of the year and local businesses can be sure Chamber will provide the most up to date advice and guidance as soon as it’s available.

Look Forward Our AGM and Christmas drinks will be held on 10 December. Our first event of 2021 will be Meet the President on 13 January, while the first flagship event of the year will take place on 11 March with the Annual President’s Lunch.

Close-contact pictures taken pre-pandemic



O’Neills leads the charge to protect health workers in pandemic Like most businesses, sportswear giant O’Neills has had a turbulent year. The onset of the pandemic in March and the subsequent enforced lockdown meant the company lost 90% of its order book immediately and was forced to shut the doors of its shops and factories – including its brand new £1 million superstore at Castle Court in Belfast, which had opened just weeks before. At the same time, it became clear that the health service had inadequate stocks of personal protective equipment to see it through the pandemic’s first wave. A global race was underway to get PPE to those fighting Covid-19 on the front line with the health service in Northern Ireland under extreme pressure to find and procure enough of it for its own staff. Spotting a gap that needed filled immediately, manufacturing businesses in Northern Ireland, including O’Neills, mobilised within a couple of short weeks to make PPE and get it to frontline healthcare workers. At first, O’Neills believed they would have to lose 730 members of staff. However, with the pivot towards the production of PPE, O’Neills Healthcare was born, and the company secured its first order of 55,000 sets of scrubs for Northern Ireland’s healthcare staff. It has been equipping thousands of healthcare workers in our health service with PPE since April. “This year has been the most challenging year I’ve faced in business without a doubt”, says Managing Director Kieran Kennedy. “When it became clear in March that we had to close the doors of all our shops and send most of our factory staff home, it was a very dark


O’Neills Derry Production Unit manufactures reusable isolation gowns for the healthcare market

time for our company. To me that represented not only hundreds of skilled workers, but their families too. The textile manufacturing business in the North West is full of highly skilled people – many of them women – and we rely upon them hugely. The prospect of losing them was very difficult to think about. “However, our ability to spin in a whole new direction, at a time of great pressure is one of those things that many people in business will be familiar with. The obstacle became the opportunity, and we were able to chart a way forward from that initial panic. It was evident there was a huge gap in PPE that needed addressed immediately and we were fortunate enough to have both the workforce and the equipment to enable us to step

forward and become part of the solution. “If there has been one positive thing to come from this crisis, I believe it has demonstrated that we need to become more self-sufficient and less reliant on other markets for essential items like PPE. Research and development into large-scale production of PPE continues and we are talking to healthcare providers north and south to develop those relationships further. “The textile industry in the North West was once a word leader and if we do this right, we have the potential to become a global leader again. This will require the right mix of ambition, skills, investment, and most crucially, support from government. Rather than look at this as a short-term solution, we need to take all the positives we can from this experience and build on them so that we are creating new industries as well as new, prosperous career opportunities for future generations.”

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Rethinking Office Design. Here at Dawson Hinds, we are all about new, exciting and contemporary furniture so it was only logical that we expanded our product ranges to include home furnishings. With 2020 forcing the home to double as an office for many, our new arrivals have proven very popular. Integrating an office space into your home should look and feel comfortable, this is our priority. Every detail counts when it comes to making our customers love their space so we ensure that we find exactly what they need.


We have recently refurbished our showroom to highlight a selection of the new products available. The contemporary look of the showroom shows how the furnishings can be subtly integrated into spaces to enhance both the aesthetics and function of the area. Our home furniture is incorporated into our displays to allow customers to visualise the potential of their spaces. In order to make the refurbishment as effective as possible, we collaborated with Shauna Stewart at Velvet Interiors and Velvet Office. Her experience and ethos of “a positive, approachable energy for all things interior� was perfect for us. Working together, we have created a conceptual showroom that shows the many different options when it comes to both home furnishings and office spaces.

Visit our showroom at 101 Spencer Road to see our new ranges. 29




Ulster University Business School here to help rebuild effort Businesses and workers in the North West are being encouraged to use the skills and expertise of local academics, students, and Ulster University to help weather the storm of Covid-19. Headed up by Dr Sandra Moffett, the Ulster University Business School at the Magee campus has been running a number of online courses, funded by the Department for the Economy, which will upskill and retrain people whose jobs have been impacted by the pandemic. Skills development courses and postgraduate certificates in Professional Development, Business Recovery and Understanding International Business have been running from July for up to 500 people looking to upskill, a direct response to the pandemic’s impact

on the NI economy and workers. “The last six months have been incredibly difficult and challenging for local businesses of all shapes and sizes, and unfortunately it looks like the next year will be as well. The Ulster University Business School at Magee has the expertise and specialities to support businesses as they handle these challenges”, says Dr Moffett. “We want to deepen our links with the North West business community, create opportunities for our students and graduates, but also ensure that local businesses can benefit from the skills they have learned and apply them practically in the workplace. “While businesses here are mainly still in rescue mode, firms should start to have an eye on how they rebuild and recover. Those businesses which innovate, evolve, and react

Dr Malachy Ó Néill, Provost, Magee; Dr Sandra Moffett, UU Business School; Stephen Kelly, Manufacturing NI; Jennifer McKeever, Airporter; and Chris McLean, UU Business School. Stephen and Jennifer have recently been appointed Visiting Professors at Ulster University Business School

by doing something different from what has always been done will be among those firms which bounce back the best. Our graduates and team of academics, with leading edge research experience, can drive this recovery and innovation, applying their skills and knowledge in the world of business and work.” For more information, visit or get in touch at

Ulster University Business School at Magee is Open for Business. • Upskill with us - our courses support managers and leaders to reimagine their business in times of change. • One to one business support sessions - get free expert advice in a range of areas. • Funding opportunities for projects and research - Improve your business’s competitiveness, productivity and profitability by tapping into the knowledge and technology generated at Ulster University. • Have you been economically affected by COVID-19? We are offering 50 FREE places for our PG Certificate in Professional Development (Understanding International Business).



Terramar Networks keeping businesses connected throughout Covid-19 By Tony Connolly, Commercial Manager, TerraMar Networks A year ago, TerraMar celebrated 10 years in business, had just-about settled into our modern new office in the City, and made a key appointment by recruiting our first Project Manager. In the first quarter of 2020, to solidify a commitment to develop and grow, we recruited additional developers, and embarked on an inclusive programme of workshops to refine TerraMar’s mission statement, core strengths and values. Our team was solid, motivation was high, and we had got ourselves pointing in a very positive direction for the years to follow. Then came Covid! Despite the obvious challenges we’ve all had to face, we’ll look back on 2020 as a bit of a game-changer for TerraMar, in a good way. Our whole operation is about connecting businesses and people with important fleet and operational information. We collect data from remote assets, vehicles mostly, transform it into useful information, and deliver it to those who’ll utilise it via our functional and secure online software, tracpoint. In the year that it seemed that the whole world began to work from home, we came into our own in 2020 in making sure that the right information was always readily available to our customers, regardless of where their desk now was. Working from home, at least for a few days each week, was something most TerraMar staff had already adopted. Our infrastructure means that our team can work at full pace as long as they have a decent internet connection. This

Tony Connolly, Commercial Manager, TerraMar Networks

meant that there was no culture shock or loss of momentum for us in mid-March when lockdown arrived. Local sales have definitely slowed, but on top of the many customers that we currently support in UK/ Ireland, we’re fortunate to now have a very widespread and diverse client base, across a range of sectors, for whom we’re helping track and manage fleets in around 100 countries. Servicing this type of client base is challenging and demanding, but this year it has also provided protection from the local dip. Though the pandemic is affecting businesses everywhere, we’ve been busy in many other countries, particularly across the African nations and the Middle East. Looking back on 2020 we’ll remember the deployments we’ve done for our customers and celebrate how far we’ve travelled on our journey of improvement. Our team is stronger, in numbers, skillset, and experience. Our software technology stack has


been transformed, allowing us to increase the pace of delivery. And our product features have been extended. In the last quarter alone we’re adding brand new modules and Apps to tracpoint; an Incident Module to improve the management of crashes; an Allocations Module to allow better tagging of all asset costs to budgets and programmes; a new tracpoint App to make it even easier to access the key tracking data whilst on the move; and our Transport Booking System, which helps our NGO clients focus on satisfying mobility needs as opposed to vehicle ownership. It’s thanks to our competent and dedicated staff, and to those customers who continue to put their faith in our ability to deliver, that we’re exiting 2020, a year like no other, in a stronger position than we entered it. If you think there’s something we can do for you, then please get in touch by calling me on 028 7181 3954, or emailing tony.connolly@


A workable & positive experience Workable NI programme supports disabled people in the workplace. Denis Nurse has worked for his current employer the Northern Ireland Civil Service for 29 years. He has had a long and varied career and has worked through and experienced many changes and developments. When Denis was a child he had a serious accident which resulted in him developing epilepsy. Denis’ epilepsy was something which he learned to live with and had to accept the challenges that it presented. He had to accept that certain life skills like learning to drive would not be an option for him. He had to manage taking lifelong medication and the risks associated with taking uncontrolled seizures. Going out independently was one of those risks as Denis could have a seizure at any time of day in any place. But Denis accepted these risks and learned to navigate his life around his epilepsy.

The workplace is always an area of challenge and progression especially if, like Denis, you have worked for the same employer over several decades. Time and modernity ensure that change is inevitable. There were some changes that became difficult for Denis to manage around systems and procedures. This caused him high anxiety and an increased incidence of seizures which left Denis concerned about his ability to cope in work. Denis was referred for support through the Workable NI Programme with the aim of increasing his resilience and confidence and agreeing adjustments to help him manage his work tasks. Lisa Blackery-Prince is the Employment and Training Officer in the area and Lisa then arranged to meet with both Denis and his employer to agree a way forward. An Action Plan with a menu of supports was drawn up to include 1-1 mentoring, capacity building and reasonable adjustments in addition to an agreed schedule of support visits. Through engagement with Workable NI, Denis had the benefit of a designated Employment and Training Officer that he met with regularly. Lisa was able to liaise with his line manager to offer an insight into the particular difficulties that Denis was experiencing until he felt reassured and confident with the new changes at work. Denis’ stress levels reduced, his fear of seizures reduced and, most importantly, the incidence of seizures reduced.

Lisa Blackery-Prince, Workable NI, Disability Action

The Workable NI Programme is funded by the Department for Communities and aims to help disabled people who are experiencing difficulties secure or maintain employment. The Programme is person centered

Denis Nurse

and offers the employer an insight into disability that can often be lost or misunderstood. It also offers an employer advice and guidance on disability related issues. Working with individuals with disabilities is the best disability awareness training that an employer can experience and in this way we progress and change attitudes. Denis’ line manager welcomed the individual tailored approach that was able to tackle and resolve issues as they arose.

To obtain further information on Workable NI, please contact Lisa Blackery-Prince, Employment Support Officer at: Disability Action Gortfoyle House, Spencer Road, Derry/Londonderry, BT47 6AE. Telephone: 028 7136 0811. Mob: 07944 361393 lisablackeryprince@disabilityaction. org



PROFESSOR MALACHY Ó NÉILL, PROVOST OF ULSTER UNIVERISTY’S MAGEE CAMPUS Supporting Students 2020 marks the 1500th Anniversary of St Colmcille’s birth in Donegal. This visionary left a scholastic legacy in Doire Cholm Cille (‘the oak-grove of St Columba’) that we at Ulster University take inspiration from as we collaborate with partners to imagine a bright future for the entire North West city region. As students return or start out on their learning journey in these times, my objective as Provost of the Magee campus is to build a resilient community for our students. COVID-19 has changed the landscape of how we teach and how we conduct our research on campus. Alongside online delivery, some on-campus activities will take place, based on a robust risk assessment, with priority given to using campus spaces for practice-based learning activities, including lab and studio work.

Contribution to societal goals I have proudly held the role of Provost of the Magee campus since October 2016. My vision has remained steadfast. I am committed to doing all that I can to harness the advancement of the following agendas; creating skills and employment, developing a healthy community, celebrating our rich heritage and culture, and embracing innovation for a brave vision for the future of the North West region. Education is truly a transformative agenda and leads to skills development, employment, entrepreneurship and

innovation. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with our valued partners North West Regional College and Letterkenny IT on shared projects and the provision of education in the North West. Together with LYIT, we have developed and delivered a joint MSc Innovation Management in the Public Sector (now in its fifteenth year). We are delighted to have partnered with North West Regional College and FinTru on the sixth FinTru North West Financial Services Professor Malachy Ó Néill, Provost at Ulster University’s Academy which offers 20 Magee campus training places for people with degrees.

Sustained Growth through a Regional Mission As acknowledged by our Vice Chancellor Professor Paul Bartholomew recently, growth at Magee is very much a priority as part of our unique regional mission across Northern Ireland. Placing a focus on sustainable regional and campus balance will lead to continued growth at Magee. Building on recent investments at the Magee campus, we are continuing with our work to establish the School of Medicine with our first intake of students in August 2021. I would like to thank Derry City and Strabane District Council and all the regional partners for helping us make this much needed provision happen for the good of the North West.

Developing skills & supporting local business

Magee College at night by Derry based photographer Patryk Sadowski


In terms of the skills agenda, this is a key focus for the region, now more than ever of course considering the impact of COVID-19 and Brexit. The Department for the Economy recently funded 400 places on the online courses which will upskill people whose jobs have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Like our neighbours in the North West Regional College, we recently launched new free online courses in Computing, Engineering, and Energy

to offer pathways to careers in sectors which require highly skilled, well-paid employees to fill gaps in the job market.

The Derry and Strabane City Deal In terms of the longer-term horizon, colleagues are working on detailed business case proposals for three exciting projects as part of the Derry and Strabane City Deal. The City Deal now standing at a £250m investment in the city and region is a key step in the delivery of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Inclusive Strategic Growth Plan 2017 – 2032 which sets out a vision for a thriving, prosperous, and sustainable city and district with equality of opportunity for all. The City Deal is another important agenda in terms of our vision for the future and as a catalyst for growth not just at Ulster University’s Magee campus but right across the sectors. It will position Derry and the North West as a high-tech hub for data-driven innovation and health and social care. Ulster University is proud to be part of this transformative agenda which will achieve a prosperous future for the people of this city and region.

Supporting NI towards a net zero carbon future

For more information on how we can help your business:



A new vision for the North West

By Paul Clancy, Chief Executive, Londonderry Chamber

As we enter the new decade, the North West business community is facing challenges like never before. As we get to grips with the Covid crisis, living and trading in a post-EU landscape, and rebuilding our regional economy, fresh and innovative thinking will be required. The Londonderry Chamber, under refreshed and revitalised leadership, is ready to drive this recovery effort. To this end, we have committed ourselves to a clear mission – helping your business succeed in a successful North West – and to developing a fresh strategy for the North West which will be presented to and shaped by our members. Our vision is that our region becomes globally renowned for its quality of life and its economic vibrancy. These are clear, straightforward, and simple aims, but ones which are equally ambitious and attainable. They will require significant buy-in from our partners and friends across Derry and Strabane and stretching across the border into Donegal. By bringing together stakeholders and regional champions from across the North West – local government, further and higher education institutions, other business organisations, the health service, the charity and voluntary sector, elected representatives – we can make it a more attractive place to live, work, and do business. Our region is filled with talented and passionate people, working hard in their communities, doing innovative and world-leading work. Alongside a cluster of recognisable foreign companies which proudly call the North West their home, our region has a growing pool of indigenous start-


ups, delivering world-beating services and products. While towns like Derry and Strabane have a rich history of industrial excellence, famed for leading the world in industries like textiles and linens, cuttingedge jobs in areas like artificial intelligence, machine learning, fintech, and cyber security are becoming much more common. Jobs and sectors like these are creating a new North West economy fit for the 21st century, making us an island leader in new and emerging industries and technologies. Employers who set up their base in this corner of the island often speak about how much they value the people, the talent pool, the community of business leaders here. By improving our regional connectivity and infrastructure, harnessing the full potential of our education and research institutions on both sides of the border to mould the leaders of the future, supporting innovative and disruptive thinking to create the technologies of tomorrow, and creating attractive jobs, we can properly support our entrepreneurs and business owners.

are two serious and difficult challenges for businesses of all kinds, challenges which are particularly amplified given our location as a border region.

The return of Executive ministers earlier this year, and the Taoiseach’s more recent announcement of a €500m fund for Northern Ireland projects over the next five years, gives the North West a real and immediate opportunity to bring investment into our area and get real, substantial, transformative work done. It is undeniable that Covid-19 and Brexit

But it is time to use this position to our advantage. Ideally situated within the UK, Ireland, and Europe, the North West can become one of the most desirable places to do business across these islands. Post-Brexit, we have a chance to position ourselves as the ideal location for firms looking to do business in both the EU and the UK. Through sustained

Chamber testimonials

investment, and a commitment to partnership working between the region’s key stakeholders and organisations, we can make the North West a more vibrant place to live, work, study, and do business. Chamber is ready to lead this effort, for the benefit of the entire North West region. Our vision, mission, and values are clear - Let’s build a successful North West together.

Helen McDonnell, Principal Coach, IndigoLife Life Coaching The Chamber does stellar work for the North West business community. We partnered with the Chamber during the summer to run a six-week course for business owners and senior managers on Authentic Leadership through Practical Mindfulness. At a time of such upheaval and uncertainty for pretty much every local business, the Chamber reacted quickly to provide key learning opportunities and chances to develop new skills. You can tell they really care about their members and it is clear the whole team works really hard for local businesses. Mark Houston, Owner, Houston’s Footwear Chamber membership has proved really useful for us over the past number of years. Prior to the pandemic, Derry and the North West had a growing retail sector, which was in part down to the Chamber’s support for local retailers and advocating the area as the ideal location for new businesses. While

Covid has set this back, we have found the Chamber’s information about things like government support schemes and financial help really useful. Annette McIvor, Director, North West Restaurants Ltd t/a McDonald’s We have worked with and supported the Chamber over many years and have found their support and partnership over time to be an asset to our business. Their work in advocating for our region ensures that we businesses in the North West have a voice which speaks out for and lobbies for the economic development of our region. The Chamber has been especially helpful most recently during these challenging times as we all struggle to survive this current pandemic. With Brexit looming in the not so distant future, it is vital that we support the Chamber to ensure that we here in the North West can emerge from both the Covid pandemic and Brexit with confidence for our future. I would encourage any business considering joining to just do it. To become a member of the Chamber or for more information, get in touch at



NWRC unveils £500k Covid Skills Interventions Programme North West Regional College (NWRC) has unveiled a £500k package of fully-funded courses to support local people whose employment has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Supported by the Department for the Economy’s (DfE) Covid Skills Interventions Programme, the courses have been specifically planned to offer people who have been affected by Covid-19, the opportunity to upskill or retrain. Sinead Hawkins, Business Development Manager at NWRC, said the initiative is a continuance of work by the college’s Business Support Team, to support local workers and companies since the lockdown in March. She commented,“Our focus is to develop the skills of people, both those in employment and those affected by Covid, as we attempt to support the rebuilding of the North-West economy.

We are delighted that DfE is supporting the Covid Skills Interventions Programme and we encourage anyone who is eligible to apply for a course. “Covid-19 has been an uninvited guest that has affected the lives of everyone, in employment, childcare, mental health, education and healthcare. Our dayto-day lives have changed dramatically. We hope these courses will support people to develop new skills in sectors that we feel will be important to move forward positively.


“As part of the Covid Skills Interventions Programme, courses at NWRC will be offered in areas that include: Green Technologies, Engineering, Manufacturing, Digital Technologies and Healthcare, which will be delivered through online, blended, and face-to-face learning where there is a technical aspect. They will provide an opportunity to re-skill and upskill into areas where job opportunities are expected to be as we emerge from the impact of coronavirus. All courses include an accredited qualification and will finish by 31 March 2021.” The College has also secured DfE funding for 2 graduate programmes as part of the Covid Skills funding that will provide learning and employment opportunities for graduates, with a programme in Software Fundamentals and another in Leadership and Management. Mrs Hawkins said, “The Software Fundamentals programme is an evolution of the Kick Start IT programme that we have successfully delivered in partnership with Derry City and Strabane District Council and will provide 24 participants with industry-ready skills in software which will conclude with an industry placement.” She continued, “The Future Leaders Graduate Management Programme is a 22-week programme which will match graduates with a NI employer to complete a Level 5 Leadership & Management qualification. The programme is open to those who have graduated with a HND, Foundation

Sinead Hawkins, Business Development Manager, NWRC

Degree or Degree. Each participant will receive placement with an employer, a training allowance, real life industrial experience and the chance of further employment. Mrs Hawkins continued, “These new opportunities are in addition to innovation and skills support that we have been delivering for a number of years at the NWRC. In March, like all organisations, we had to adapt and deliver our training and mentoring programmes online. Through our curriculum departments we developed and delivered a range of over 20 fullyfunded online training programmes for businesses and their employees via the DfE ‘Skills Focus’ Programme. To date 123 businesses and 224 employees have benefitted from these courses, including more than 40 businesses in the Tourism and Hospitality Sector, assisting them in a safe return to work.” The NWRC has also continued to support businesses such as FinTrU and Alchemy as part of the DfE Assured Skills programme. These provide industryrelevant pre-employment training for participants and have continued to operate on a remote basis during lockdown. On completion of these skills academies,

which are funded by the DfE, participants are guaranteed a job interview and the opportunity of long-term employment. Mrs Hawkins said, “The FinTrU Academy launched on September 14th with participants receiving training online and Alchemy’s most recent Academy began on November 2nd. These are providing high-quality wellpaid jobs in the North-West and underpin our ambition to enhance the economy of the North-West region. “Our priority now is doing what we do best, equipping local people and businesses with the skills they need to excel in their future and we would encourage people who are interested in availing of the graduate, upskilling or re-training programmes or indeed businesses who are looking to train their staff or host a fully-funded internship as part of the Software Fundamentals or the Future Leaders Graduate Management Programme to contact us to register your interest. In the current challenging times now is the time to invest in your skills.” For more information please email businesssupport@ or connect with the NWRC BSC via social media.


Learning Pool delivers strong growth as the COVID-19 crisis drives businesses online Home-grown global online learning provider, Learning Pool, announced impressive financial results, with the financial year to May 2020 proving to be its strongest year ever. The results capture four months of operating through the COVID-19 crisis and Learning Pool’s Head of People and Performance, Louise McElvaney explains how the team adapted well to a rapidly changing working environment and continued to deliver an exceptional service to customers. “I’m tremendously proud of the effort our team has made to stay safe and productive throughout the crisis”, she said. “We have not used the government furlough scheme, and, in fact, we have onboarded 20 new members of staff since we moved to a completely distributed operating model. We’re well placed to maintain this and grow the team even more in the coming months.” During lockdown and beyond, Learning Pool’s 200-strong team, based across the UK, Europe and the US has continued to serve its 800 customers on a fulltime basis. The company’s strong growth throughout the pandemic is evidence of the online surge that has affected many industries. In workplace learning the acceleration of this move online has played to Learning Pool’s strengths and gives the company reason for optimism about its continued growth prospects. Learning Pool has been able to deliver tangible and business critical results for its customers through the crisis. Customers such as Center Parcs and Louise McElvaney DFS needed to reboard staff following the furlough scheme and broadcasting giant Sky needed to ensure a safe and informed the company is now more engaged return for all staff and partners – much to with its customers and their the delight of the nation! Learning Pool’s requirements on a global scale. services became essential to making this happen for customers who have come to ”Large companies across the rely on the company, often to transform world are adapting to a changed face-to-face training to an online model in environment and learning to record time. find new ways to engage their workforces and keep them safe Learning Pool expects to continue its and productive. Our team in Derry growth trajectory in the coming months and elsewhere is working hard as customers accelerate their search for in partnership with some of the online solutions to keep their workforce world’s leading brands to make this safe and well informed. Louise notes how

change happen and position these companies for the challenges ahead.” Alongside this, Learning Pool continues to build the team to keep pace with its growth. The company currently has 15 open roles and expects to recruit an additional 30 people by the middle of next year, regardless of the progress of the pandemic.



Fleming Agri opens new factory extension for 2020

Agricultural machinery specialists Fleming Agri recently opened its new 22,000 sq. ft. factory

Due to continued sales growth in new and existing markets, Newbuildings-based Fleming Agri has built upon its success by developing a new 22,000 sq. ft. factory for the manufacture of its range of newly developed larger capacity trailers and vacuum tankers. The new 22,000 sq. ft. factory, which hosts a new welding shop, state-of-the-art spray booth and finishing room, will now allow for the manufacture, painting, and finishing of the company’s most recent new product lines in a more spacious environment, while also allowing the existing factory to focus on the smaller, higher volume equipment. Established by Robert John Fleming in 1860 in Donegal, Fleming Agri has remained in the Fleming family for 160 years, making it one of the oldest agricultural machinery companies in the UK and Ireland. Today, Fleming Agri uses this 160 years’ experience to provide a product and service to their customers bearing the Fleming brand which is synonymous with quality and strength. The new factory allows for increased efficiency and output, growing Fleming Agri’s presence in not only the agricultural sector but also allowing the company to develop further into other markets such as compact, equestrian, and municipal sectors. The


The new factory is home to a new state-of-the-art welding shop

increase in facilities will also lead to an increase in staffing levels. The company currently employs 110 staff but this will increase by 25% in the coming months as new markets and products develop and come online. “We are delighted to have opened our new factory and we are excited about the current growth we are experiencing. It’s been a tough year for businesses of all types, so it is especially pleasing to be

announcing such a good news story at this time”, says Managing Director Jonathan Lecky. “Creating new jobs, innovating our product line, and expanding our facilities is a significant achievement in the face of serious upheaval this year and I’m very proud of the entire team here at Fleming Agri for their hard work over the past 12 months.” Fleming Agri made several key appointments at the start of


we continued delivering for our customers.” “It’s testament to the work ethic and resilience of the entire team that we have been able to plough ahead with the new factory and it’s a fantastic achievement for everyone at Fleming Agri that it is now operational.” The timely opening of the new facilities has also allowed for safer working conditions, with more space for staff to observe social distancing, keeping the health and wellbeing of the staff as a key concern in these challenging times. Fleming Agri has also recently invested in new communications software to allow for effective video calling, creating a specialised conference suite to allow for remote sales training with our UK area managers and regular virtual face-to-face meetings with our distributors across the globe including Australia, New Zealand, the US and France.

Fleming Agri plans to expand its workforce by 25% in the coming months as new markets and products develop and come online

making great strides to help Fleming Agri grow, despite the pandemic giving a different work environment than the ‘norm’.

The Newbuildings-based firm exports across the world to the US, Australia, New Zealand and the rest of Europe

the year with the appointment of a dedicated export manager, an additional UK sales rep and also a new marketing manager. The new staff are now well settled into their roles and

“We made great strides at the start of the year and 2020 was looking like it would be a very successful year for us, growing our leadership and management team, hiring specialised staff, and looking outward to new markets”, explains Jonathan.

“Covid put a pause on many of our forward-looking plans like all companies but we reacted and adapted swiftly to protect our staff, our revenue streams, and to ensure

“We recognise that Covid-19 is likely to be with us for quite a long time and its impacts on the ‘normal’ workplace will also probably outlast the pandemic. We have to be ready for all eventualities and acknowledge that things like remote working and virtual meetings will be here to stay. That’s why it was so important that we invested properly in new telecommunications systems and ensure our staff are up to speed to suit the needs of our clients.” As company Chairman George Fleming explains, Fleming Agri has seen a lot of turbulence in its 160-year history and he says this is just the next challenge for the firm to deal with. “The company dates back to pre-partition and has overcome many global concerns such as the First World War, the Second World War, the TB crisis and now the twin challenges of Brexit and Covid-19. “We’ve survived – and thrived - this long and we’re now in a strong position as one of the leading agricultural machinery brands in Europe, supplying to customers across the globe in the US, Australia, New Zealand, France, and beyond.”



EURES here to help ahead of end of transition period With the current Brexit negotiations still continuing, businesses are understandably concerned and anxious about what they can do to prepare for any incoming changes. However, a local body based along the border is here to help businesses, workers, and jobseekers in border regions. The EURES (European Employment Services) Cross Border Partnership is one of eight cross-border alliances across the European Union which exist to support employers, workers, and jobseekers in cross border regions. “Employers in border regions like the North West should make sure they have access to the skilled workers they need in their businesses while workers should take the necessary precautions now to ensure they are eligible to work cross-border”, said Joe Lavery, EURES Cross Border Partnership Ireland – N Ireland Coordinator. The EURES Cross Border Partnership is made up of representatives from government in both jurisdictions, trade unions, employer organisations, and chambers of commerce from both sides of the border. The EURES Cross Border Partnership primarily exists to address skills bottlenecks and imbalances through supporting employers in finding the required skillsets; providing cross border workers with clear, factual information and advice; and assisting jobseekers in cross-border regions to find employment on both sides of the border.


“We would encourage any employers or workers worried about potential changes brought about in the next few months to get in touch with us. EURES has the expertise and capability to support employers and workers alike to target skill shortages, help find secure employment in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and provide guidance on issues like tax, social security, education, and medical care”, said Joe. The EURES Cross Border Partnership in Ireland – N Ireland is a key contributor to the lives of the cross-border worker, jobseeker and employer and aims to address imbalances for their target groups. To this end they undertake a number of activities and events throughout the year to support their users. Within the current climate, they have recently moved a lot of their events online and put a larger emphasis on our social media accounts to ensure they can continue to interact with you and support you in whatever way possible. Check out their website or Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram accounts for full details and more information. If you think the EURES Cross Border Partnership can help you in anyway, please contact them and one of their expert EURES Advisers will provide all the assistance you need. Get in touch at joe. or Alternatively get in touch via the website or social media channels.

Employers in border regions like the North West should make sure they have access to the skilled workers they need in their businesses while workers should take the necessary precautions now to ensure they are eligible to work cross-border

Joe Lavery, EURES Cross Border Partnership Ireland – N Ireland Coordinator



This publication has received financial support from the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation “EaSI” (2014 - 2020). For further information please consult: 43


‘New’ Name, Same Great Team - AIB ni Meadowbank celebrates rebrand Fresh from its recent rebrand, AIB NI - formerly First Trust Bank - has had an eventful start to 2020. Ringing in the new year with a new name and new storefront signage, the team at Meadowbank held a special celebration in branch for its customers and the local community to mark the rebrand. With live entertainment from Q Radio who broadcasted straight from inside the branch, guests enjoyed the party atmosphere which included giveaways and refreshments, while getting to meet the AIB NI Meadowbank team.

Pictured at AIB NI Meadowbank’s rebrand celebration is Chloe Higgins and Noah with Siobhan McElhinney, AIB NI Meadowbank Branch Manager

“We were delighted to welcome so many local customers and businesses into branch as part of the rebrand celebrations,” says Siobhan McElhinney, AIB NI Meadowbank Branch Manager. “It was a great way to thank them for their continued support and to talk about how we can support their needs moving forward.” Speaking about the purpose of the rebrand, Siobhan explains that it made sense for AIB NI to align closer to its parent group. “Operating as one brand allows us to enhance our offering to customers such as improved digital channels and services like the AIB NI Rewards Programme. By tapping even more into the AIB NI Group’s wider expertise and specialisms – particularly across various business sectors - we will be able to bring our business customers even greater insight and tailored support.” While AIB NI Meadowbank might have a new name above the door, it’s still the same great team says Siobhan. “At Meadowbank we have an experienced team in place with business, personal finance and sectoral experts. The City and North West businesses as a whole are ambitious and creative and we have a banking team that matches up.”

Pictured at AIB NI Meadowbank’s rebrand celebration is AIB NI customer Martin Bradley and Mariesa Donnelly, AIB NI Business Acquisitions Manager


One such team member is Stephen Comer, North and West Regional Business Centre Manager. With over 30 years’ experience in the financial sector, Stephen has led AIB teams across Northern Ireland, supporting a diverse range of companies including large commercial clients, agri businesses and SMEs as well as personal


Pictured at AIB NI Meadowbank’s rebrand celebration with Q Radio presenter Yazz is AIB NI’s Jennifer Doherty, Stephen Comer, Siobhan McElhinney, Craig Service and Mariesa Donnelly

customers. Having been based in Derry~Lononderry throughout the 1990s, Stephen is proud to now be leading the North and West Business Centre. “We work with such a diverse range of business in the North West and Derry itself. While Northern Ireland is famed for its hospitality as a whole, I think it’s an attribute the North West has in spades. We work with a lot of local hotels and restaurants and they really are leaders in the industry.” says Stephen. Talking about the current economic climate, Stephen points to the unique position the North West holds. “Despite uncertainties from headwinds such as Brexit, recent research carried out by the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre for the local Council’s Strategic Growth Partnership, tells us that the North West is well placed to address challenges.” “The city and region face a number of issues relating to population growth, skills shortages and salary levels, but these are tackled within the City Deal core projects proposals. The resident employment rate

is still forecast to grow from 56% to 63% and economic performance has been much better than what was forecast five years ago - employment is stronger and GVA higher than anticipated, particularly in the ICT and health sectors.” To capitalise on the opportunities and foster economic growth, Stephen says collaboration is more important than ever. “We want to work together with all our customers – personal and business – to deliver the tailored support they need in the current climate. At an industry level, we keenly support the work of Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, local councils and their strategic growth plans and contribute to the culture and spirit of collaboration here in Derry.” Successful collaboration also hinges on close cooperation with colleagues according to Stephen. “The rebrand programme marks a continuation of the bank’s strategy of closer integration across its three main markets – Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Great Britain – and this includes us as team members. AIB NI Meadowbank

Siobhan McElhinney AIB NI Meadowbank Branch Manager and Stephen Comer, North and West Regional Business Centre Manager

and the North & West Business Centre are closely aligned with Siobhan, the branch manager, Jennifer Doherty, our Senior Relationship Manager, Mariesa Donnelly, the New Business Acquisitions Manager and Craig Service,

our Mortgage Adviser each truly committed to delivering excellent customer service, building on their years of experience and successful projects.” Close-contact pictures taken pre-pandemic

To find out how AIB NI can support you, contact: Stephen Comer Business Centre Leader 07917133260 Siobhan McElhinney Branch Manager 07920101881 Jennifer Doherty Senior Relationship Manager 07760171754 Mariesa Donnelly New Business Acquisitions Manager 079393761233 Craig Service Mortgage Adviser 07827553151



Independent audit describes CRASH Services as ‘best in class’ CRASH Services, Northern Ireland’s leading accident management company, has spoken of its delight after an independent external audit described the Belfast, Newry and Derry~Londonderry based company as ‘best in class’. Independent auditors from Fusion Management Support Limited carried out the review of the claims handling processes, focusing on the company’s hire and repair services. The onsite section of the examination was carried out over three days in July with two additional days of desk analysis in August 2020. Fusion Management Support Limited has been providing industry-specific auditing for the last decade and has experience of dozens of companies competing with CRASH. In the report, CRASH Services were described as “without doubt, one of the most efficient credit hire and repair service providers we have encountered.” CRASH Services provides a ‘best in class’ service which includes arranging vehicle recovery, collision investigation, organising repairs, providing a replacement vehicle, liaising with insurance companies and offering legal and medical assistance. The independent consultant also found that CRASH Services’ average hire duration period in repair cases was an impressive 43% shorter than those assessed in other similar businesses. Speaking about the efficiency of the CRASH Services claims process, the auditor noted “a very high level of


energy by the claims handlers and other actors when seeking to progress claims.” The independent report pointed to a “comprehensive control of the claims processes supported by an unerring commitment towards efficiency through procedures, systems, documentation and staff development, all embraced within an inclusive working culture.” A delighted Jonathan McKeown, Chief Executive Officer at CRASH, described the results as “fantastic”. “This result was made possible by our vast network of partners; repairers, insurance brokers and legal advisors and the motor engineer assessors they work with, who together help CRASH Services be a one-stopshop for collision victims.”

CRASH Services Managing Director Jonathan McKeown

Michelle McGahan, Quality and Compliance Manager at CRASH Services commented, “We’re committed to following a robust and efficient claims management process.

“Being described as ‘best in class’ is a real boost; we knew our service was one of a kind but reading the auditor’s report really confirms it.”

“We want to ensure our customers and partner network get the best possible outcome after being involved in an incident.”

Paul continued, “As the auditor noted, we only enlist the help of repairers that we’re familiar with, so we know that work is always carried out to the highest of standards and in the quickest time.”

Paul Cooney, Fleet & Repair Director at CRASH Services, spoke of his pride at the findings of the audit.

“Whether you or one of your customers has been involved in a collision, by appointing CRASH Services you’ll reap the rewards of our vast experience and ultimately take the stress out of the process for all involved”, he added.

“We’re so proud of the team who have worked tirelessly to ensure repairs are carried out as promptly as possible.

For more information, visit:



Managing absence in the age of Covid-19

Julie Pollock, Company Owner, Consult HR

When are employees entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) due to Covid? Employees self-isolating, those with suspected symptoms of Covid, or who have received a pre-surgery isolation letter are entitled to SSP. SSP payment will commence from day one of the employees’ absence. Employees must be off sick for at least four consecutive days to be eligible for SSP. For non-Covid absences, normal SSP provisions apply. Companies which have enhanced company sick pay schemes should consider whether they are going to regard self-isolating as a sickness under their enhanced SSP policy or whether this sits outside of this policy. Employers can recoup up to two weeks SSP for each employee if they have been off work due to Covid.

One of the biggest challenges for employers throughout the pandemic has been managing staff absence and ensuring there is enough staff in work every day. As more and more people are forced to self-isolate after contracting Covid-19 or identified as a close contact with someone else who did, business owners are struggling to handle daily disruptions to their workforce. Consult HR has prepared an FAQ and Top Tip Guide on managing staff absence during the pandemic.

What options do I have if I am struggling with staffing levels at work? Prevention is better than cure as they say so these top tips have proved successful in minimising the spread: • Educate your staff on what they should do if they suspect they have symptoms. • Where possible, arrange for staff to work from home to reduce


the amount of contact between employees. • Implement appropriate cleaning regimes or schedules. • Adapt your systems where possible to reduce or eliminate the touch points within the business. • Consider your staff working in ‘bubbles’ or ‘pods’ to reduce the spread of the virus across various areas of the workplace. • Assign staff their own work areas or minimise the amount of travel of people within the workplace where possible. • Where staff levels decreased, due to absences, consider restricting your opening hours to suit the staffing levels you have to still ensure your business remains open. • Consider the wearing of face masks, even if it is not mandatory. • Ask employees to avoid travelling to work together. • Remind staff of the importance of complying with guidelines outside of working hours as this may impact on the business and their colleagues.

What happens if an employee’s child is sent home from school as they have been a ‘close contact’ and they have to self-isolate and the employee can’t come to work? Your employee does not have to isolate if their child is deemed to be a ‘close contact’. However, this may cause childcare issues for the parent. If the employee cannot attend work, there are a number of options – Dependants leave, which is unpaid; an agreement to take holidays; or, in light of the recent extension of the furlough scheme, there may be the option of furlough. Advice should be sought before making a final decision. If you require any HR assistance during this pandemic please get in touch via email or phone 07858089006. Visit resources/ for more information also.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to provide you with general information about how to minimise the impact of coronavirus on your business and to handle staff absence. As the situation is changing regularly, employers should always follow official advice and guidance for employers from Northern Ireland’s Public Health Agency which can be found on its website


Find Insurance still on track despite turbulent 2020 Insurance brokers generally have a better feel for the economy than most businesses, having a practical insight into how local companies are faring. It goes without saying that 2020 has been an exceptionally challenging year for nearly every business. Commercial insurance specialists, Find Insurance, have been busy helping their clients with queries relating to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, while also helping firms prepare for Brexit. “If you look at pubs and restaurants, for example, they were forced to close their doors to prevent the spread of the virus. This would usually have an impact on insurance policies as these premises were unoccupied for an extended period of time”, explains Colin Mullan, Managing Director, Find Insurance. “As a local insurance broker, we had to work very hard with insurance providers to get pragmatic solutions for our clients who were really at the brink. These small businesses are vital to our local economy and we continue to do all we can to be flexible and support them where possible.” Colin says the team at Find Insurance has transitioned seamlessly to home working while still delivering the high standard of service that our clients expect. “In the weeks before lockdown was announced, we prepared for the worst case scenario by sourcing over 30 laptops for our staff, we got everyone access to homeworking, and we provided phones to ensure that business continued as normal for our clients and staff. As we expect homeworking to become a new flexible offering, we have since made an investment into cloud telephony and upgraded IT equipment to provide a virtual office for all staff regardless of where they are. “I cannot speak highly enough of our staff. They juggled family commitments while working from their bedrooms and kitchen tables to provide the usual top levels of service for our clients. It was a real challenge, but thankfully with quick decision making and a great team effort, our office has remained open throughout.”

Karen McQuillan, Finance Director

However, as Finance Director Karen McQuillan explains, the company has weathered the Covid storm successfully so far. “Our growth over the last year has continued despite the disruption. Gross Written Product is just under £15 million for the current year, an increase of 78% since 2015. We are proud of what we have achieved in a short period of time and in an uncertain trading environment. The next year or so will be critical in reaching our target of £17 million GWP by 2022 but we are confident that we can achieve it with the great team we have and the great service we provide.” While Covid-19 will continue to be the number one challenge for firms in 2021, Colin says companies also need to focus their energies on preparing for the end

Colin Mullan, Managing Director, Find Insurance

of the Brexit transition period. “Understandably, Covid-19 has been a distraction from Brexit this year, but we’re encouraging our clients to ensure they are ready for any possible changes that Brexit may bring for their businesses. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of uncertainty but we’re advising businesses to get ready where they can.” “From an insurance perspective, businesses which expect to increase their exposure in the Republic of Ireland from 2021 should seek advice from their broker on any implications on their insurance cover. They should also be aware that in the event there is no agreement on the future relationship between the UK and EU, it is likely there will be a legal requirement to carry a physical document known as a Green Card when driving in Europe. We would encourage any business owners concerned to get in touch with us to explore what action they may need to take to minimise any risks to their business.” Close-contact photos taken pre-pandemic



Natural Progression for Pioneering Firm Doherty Pension and Investment Consultancy has had a long history with Small Self-Administrated Schemes (SSAS). They have been key participants in designing, installing, and running pension schemes for over 30 years in Northern Ireland. Small Self-Administered Pension Schemes are established by small and medium sized employers to provide retirement benefits for the Directors / Partners and the business, as well as family members. The members are appointed as trustees to have control and flexibility over the scheme’s assets and investment choices. If all members are trustees, a SSAS benefits from many exemptions from pension legislation applicable to other pension schemes and so permits a greater range of investments and fewer administrative requirements than other occupational schemes. As SSAS Specialist Carol Hendry explains, “Because the SSAS can lend funds to the sponsoring employer or purchase a commercial property for use in the business, we are seeing more conversations around how the SSAS can benefit the members business which is great to see.”


Over the last few years there has been a trend for SSAS clients to switch trustees to save on charges and improve service, a trend which has accelerated this year. More businesses and individuals have turned their attention to their pensions to check whether they are competitive for the service being provided, especially in light of the current economic climate where pensions can be important tools that can assist the business. The result of this additional attention has been an increase in enquiries for new SSASs and the takeover of existing SSASs. A key reason for this activity is the lack of flexibility from legacy providers, bureaucratic administration, and charging structures that lack transparency. Doherty Pensions and Investments decided to tackle these problems head on and invest in their own SSAS Trust Deed, which enables them to set up new SSAS schemes and take over existing ones. Managing Director Terry Lappin said, “We wanted to create a cost-effective proposition that

centred around the member, their business, and their financial plans. We’re always looking to innovate and invest to get the best outcomes for our clients so the natural progression was to establish our own SSAS deed and use the knowledge and experience gained over the past 30 years to offer something truly unique. We can provide all your financial advice requirements and implementation of that advice all under the same roof, providing a flexible, streamlined process without third parties being involved with the running of the scheme.” The existing SSAS department has been instrumental in designing the new proposition, using the combined experience of working in one of Northern Ireland’s largest SSAS client banks.

If you would like to know more about Small Self-Administered Schemes and how they can benefit you or your business, please contact Doherty Pension and Investment Consultancy Limited on 02890 533350 or email

For what’s next in sustainability Together, we’ll help your business succeed in a low carbon world.

Your Partner For What’s Next 51

business advice Gavin Killeen

Managing Director, Nuprint HOW CAN YOU UNLOCK YOUR EMPLOYEES’ POTENTIAL? Your employees are always your most important asset, above anything else. Without your staff, you just have an empty factory, so it makes logical sense to develop your workforce to the fullest of their potential. At Nuprint, we invest a lot of time and effort into developing every member of our staff by creating a bespoke and individual personal development plan, regardless of position or role.


We think that development is for everyone, not just the management or leadership team. Each year, we enrol between ten and twelve of our employees on the Level 3 Leadership and Management qualification run by the Institute of Managers and Leaders at the North West Regional College. This is an excellent, officially recognised qualification which challenges our employees and improves their leadership skills. Any employee at Nuprint can progress through the company with the right attitude and work ethic. We firmly believe in equality of opportunity and we strive to give each member of staff every opportunity they need to succeed professionally.


Joe Lavery

EURES Cross Border Partnership Ireland – N Ireland Coordinator EURES CROSS BORDER ADVICE ALWAYS AVAILABLE In these strange and unnatural times it is very difficult for employers and workers to keep a sense of understanding of all that is happening. The COVID-19 Pandemic as well as the UK decision to leave the EU has placed a lot of uncertainty and anxiety into many people’s livelihoods and businesses. Whilst there are supports available to assist employers and employees sometimes not knowing how to access these or what exactly is available, can be a barrier in itself. Supports are available from government agencies, local councils as well as organisations such as Intertrade Ireland, the Federation of Small Businesses and NI Business Info to mention but a few. The EURES Cross Border Partnership also offers a network of EURES Advisers who will be able to assist and guide you in this regard. Should this be recruitment or information on what supports or available, this free service is open to all employers, workers and jobseekers in the border region. We can provide information on cross border working and trade and we provide a signposting service whereby we can advise of where the best supports are and how these can be accessed. Take a look at our website to see what is available and how we can help.

Martina McAuley Director, HR Team

WHAT STEPS CAN EMPLOYERS TAKE TO DEAL WITH COVID-19 FALLOUT? The coronavirus outbreak has sparked a wave of concern around what rights employees have regarding sick leave and how to handle a situation should a staff member become infected. The spread of the virus is posing a significant threat to operations within NI organisations, with some businesses facing redundancy situations. It’s important that employers have a robust Covid contingency plan in place – one that is in line with employment legislation and is communicated clearly to all employees. As a first step, it’s advised that the legality of all precautions and policies in place are revised to ensure employers are protected. Factors to be considered include the following: • Policy on absence and payment during absence • Business travel • The use of annual leave • Staff refusing to come to work • Employees who have returned from affected areas • Potential closure of a business/organisation and/or redundancy • Hygiene rules in the workplace There should be clarity on how each factor will be managed. HR Team hosts regular free webinars covering fundamental advice on how employers can manage Covid-19 related situations. To join our free webinars, please visit or call 028 71271882.



State-of-the-Art Visitor Information Centre opens in city centre

Derry City and Strabane District Mayor Cllr Brian Tierney officially opens the new Visitor Information Centre in Derry city centre

Today marked the opening of Derry’s new state-of-the-art Visitor Information Centre at Waterloo Place. The new centre, located in the heart of the city centre and adjacent to the historic City Walls, will be the new hub for tourists visiting the historical city and surrounding area looking for advice and information on the top attractions to visit and events happening across the city and district. The refurbishment works commenced in December of last year following the decision by Derry City and Strabane District Council to relocate the Visit Derry Information Centre from Foyle Street into the city centre. Thanks to funding from the Council, the Department


for Communities, the Department for the Economy, and Tourism NI, work commenced on the project to put in place a world-class tourist facility for the city and region. Welcoming the completion of the works and the opening of the new facility, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Cllr Brian Tierney said the opening of the new visitor information office was a significant milestone for Derry and the wider region. He said, “This is a fantastic facility and I am hugely impressed with the work that has been done to create this world-class centre in the heart of our city. This is a

very important tourism capital project for the Council and all our partners. We believe that it will greatly benefit our tourism sector, welcome domestic and overseas visitors, and allow us to showcase and promote our tourism product in a much more animated way and to a much wider audience. “This facility will enhance the entire Waterloo Place area of the city and bring new life and activity into a key retail area in the city centre. We believe this location, right in the heart of the city centre and adjacent to the historic city walls, will be popular with tourists as Guildhall Square and Waterloo Place is a central hub for visitors to the city and that it will also greatly help retailers and local businesses in that area of the city centre.” The Chief Executive of Tourism NI, John McGrillen commented, “This is a significant project for tourism in Derry~Londonderry and we are delighted to support it. The new visitor centre will provide an interactive experience with enhanced digital offering combined with the new central location; it will allow visitors to easily access information on everything the city has to offer. This new interactive visitor centre also compliments Tourism NI’s new experience brand, Embrace a Giant Spirit, and sends a clear message to the people here that they should stay home, support

Derry City and Strabane District Mayor Cllr Brian Tierney officially opened the new Visitor Information Centre in Derry city centre

staycationing this year, I hope as many people as possible will use the new centre to find something fun to do in the local area, and take advantage of the many wonderful tourism experiences and visitor destinations right on their doorstep.”

Derry City and Strabane District Mayor Cllr Brian Tierney welcomes tourists to Visit Derry’s new Visitor Information Centre

local and explore what is on our doorstep.” Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín MLA said, “I am delighted that my Department has been able to support this project to relocate the Visit Derry Visitor Information Centre to a more central location. The new state of the art facility offers a unique and inspirational visitor experience in an attractive and accessible setting and will provide a much-needed boost to the city’s tourism offering. This investment is timely as we work to support the economic

recovery of our town and city centres from the impacts of Covid-19. The completion of this project will breathe much needed new life into the city centre at a difficult time for traders.” Economy Minister Diane Dodds added, Northern Ireland is world-

renowned for its tourism and hospitality offering and this new centre showcases the many visitor attractions here in Londonderry and the surrounding areas. With so many people

Since 2016 Visit Derry has been operating its marketing and administrative functions from the Waterloo Place building. As part of the relocation, the remaining front of house tourist staff will relocate from Foyle Street to the newly refurbished Waterloo Place location. Funding for the project has been provided by Tourism NI, the Department for Communities, the Department for the Economy and Derry City and Strabane District Council. Construction work commenced in December 2019 and was suspended temporarily as a result of COVID-19 but recommenced in recent weeks to facilitate the official opening.


Innovation at the heart of new hygiene venture 4 Ur Protection recently installed a Walk-Through Cleansing Pod at The Rabbit Bar & Restaurant

It has often been said that the firms and business owners which innovate and adapt strongest to the coronavirus crisis will fare the best as the pandemic continues to have a significant impact on our daily lives. For one North West business in particular, Covid-19 has forced them to pivot in a totally new direction.

“The pandemic obviously put a total and immediate stop to the events and exhibitions industry. So, instead of doing nothing for a number of months, we explored our options and had a think about what we could do in the meantime”, explains Greg Kennedy from 4 Leaf Exhibitions. “While we are normally specialists in designing and crafting exhibitions for events, museums, and trade shows, we knew the demand for these types of products would be down over the next few months.” 4 Leaf Exhibitions is an experienced and trusted design and build solutions provider, fitting out cutting edge design agencies, being the preferred supplier of well-known names like Invest NI and government departments, and providing for sectors from food and beverage and construction to agriculture and technology.

The MistPal Walk-Through Cleansing Pod at the Galgorm’s new boutique hotel The Rabbit


Out of the pandemic has come Greg’s newest venture, 4 Ur Protection, an innovative enterprise leading the way in new and emerging hygiene technologies. This collaboration between 4 Leaf Exhibitions and Lamont Cleaning and Support Services utilises the latest and most state-of-the-art products to reduce the spread of the virus in workplaces and businesses. 4 Ur Protection offers Northern Irish companies the solutions which allow them to welcome back customers and workers with confidence.

The Cleansing Pod sprays visitors with a cleansing mist before they enter the premises

“Thankfully, these are skills which are easily transferable, and we quickly realised that there was going to be a huge spike in demand for things like sanitiser stations and workplace hygiene stations. We did a bit of research and we’ve now launched a range of new products for workplaces, companies, and businesses of all kinds looking to safely and securely welcome back customers.” 4 Ur Protection has launched a range of pioneering products for offices, workplaces, and businesses, including wall mounted sanitiser stations, desktop stations for office workers, sleek fins, high capacity cabinets which can store extra disinfectant, and multi-consumable


The MistPal Walk-Through Cleansing Pod disinfects visitors within five seconds

4 Ur Protection has also launched a range of sanitising stations which wash hands and monitor temperature

pods which can also accommodate and store other things like gloves, wipes, and other PPE items. However, 4 Ur Protection’s most innovative and potentially game changing product is its MistPal WalkThrough Cleansing Pod. A revolutionary invention, the MistPal can be used in a range of different settings including hospitals, hotels, hospitality businesses, and educational institutions. “MistPal is a real game changer when it comes to minimising the spread of the virus in settings like hotels, bars, restaurants, and for hospital staff. People step into the disinfecting pod as they enter and exit the building, the MistPal sprays them with a safe disinfectant called Aktivora, disinfects their clothes, and in less than five seconds, you can safely enter and leave the premises.” “This has been a pretty simple solution to a problem which is facing hundreds of small businesses across Northern Ireland. Business owners may be reluctant to welcome back customers without the proper safeguards, while customers may not yet have the confidence to go out and about, shopping and socialising. The MistPal aims to build this consumer confidence, it’s visible proof that businesses are serious about looking after their workers and customers, and the enhanced safety measures minimise the spread of the virus.”

The MistPal uses face recognition, temperature measurement, and auto-sensing spraying to disinfect customers and visitors and is totally touch-free. The disinfectant used, Aktivora, has been independently proven and accredited to be safe for use. It is also environmentally friendly, non-toxic, non-irritant, provides 24-hour protection after one use, and kills a wide range of germs, viruses, and bacteria. Some of the worst affected industries - retailers, exhibition and conferences, shops, hotels, airlines and airports, supermarkets, building sites, factories - are all already making use of the MistPal to get people back through their doors and supporting their local businesses again. One of Northern Ireland’s best-known hospitality establishments has installed cleansing pods and is glowing about the impact it has had already. “We recently installed the MistPal at the Galgorm Spa and Golf Resort, probably the country’s leading hotel resort. This was a great boost to our confidence, and it is testament to the overall quality and strength of the product. They have been really pleased with the impact it has already had and they have told us it has been key in building visitor confidence back up.”

“We have a manufacturing sector to be extremely proud of in Northern Ireland, full of innovative and world-leading firms. Unfortunately, it has been one of the worst affected industries this year due to Covid. Social distancing with large workforces is very hard in factories and for businesses like ours, which provide to industries which have been forced to shut down this year, we either had our operations halted or orders totally dried up.” “We miss the exhibitions and events industry a lot and it’s nearly impossible to predict when it will bounce back fully. That’s why we had to act quickly, pivot to another line of products and services, and I’m proud that we are filling a bespoke need for businesses which have been dealt a heavy blow. If anyone thinks that 4 Ur Protection could help them get back to business, I would encourage them to get in touch with me. We’re only too happy to help local businesses find their feet again.” To find out how 4 Ur Protection can help get your business back up and running, or for more information, please get in touch at or visit



Full Circle Completes a Century NORTHERN Ireland’s only large-scale waste to energy facility, Full Circle Generation (FCG), announced it recovered over 100,000mt of waste since operations began last August. The organisation is also looking to build on this impressive start by increasing throughput to over 140,000mt over the next 12 months. The gasification plant uses a fuel produced from household waste to create electricity which is then supplied to Bombardier. The construction of the £109m facility completed in February 2018 and since then the operators, Bouygues Energy Services, have been optimising the plant in preparation for its first year of full operation. Using cutting edge Pictured with the Environment Minister Poots MLA is Brett Ross, Full Circle Generation Director and technology, the plant extracts Managing Director of RiverRidge at the Full Circle Generation Facility gasses from treated waste and then combusts them before passing the steam through a traditional thermal process. “This allows Northern Ireland’s The treatment process initially black bin household waste to extracts recyclable products from Full Circle Generation Director and Managing the household waste streams be processed through the use Director of RiverRidge Brett Ross commented, and then shreds the residual of gasification technology, with “This is a very important milestone for the waste fractions so that they can be the end result being a source of sector in Northern Ireland. Full Circle Generation, energy for businesses in Northern easily recovered at the FCG Northern Ireland’s only large-scale Energy from Ireland. It is reassuring to know facility. The company is one Waste facility, has changed how the waste sector of Northern Ireland’s leading that residual waste is being has traditionally operated. waste treatment operators and dealt with in an environmentally manages the waste for several sensitive way.” “With the processing of its first 100,000mt of fuel of Northern Ireland’s largest completed, we have demonstrated the robustness The fuel required for the facility, councils including Belfast, Derry of the design of this plant and shown that this is an City and Strabane, Causeway known as Refuse Derived Fuel effective solution and a proven alternative to the Coast and Glens and Armagh (RDF), is manufactured using landfilling of waste, or the need to export Refused Banbridge and Craigavon. Northern Ireland’s household Derived Fuel (RDF) to mainland Europe.” waste arisings. Local company and initial developer of the facility, With FCG expecting to operate Environment Minister Edwin Poots MLA, who RiverRidge Holdings Limited, is at full capacity next year, recently visited the facility in Belfast’s Harbour RiverRidge has estimated that it responsible for the manufacture Estate, spoke about the achievement, saying, “This will require close to 400,000mt of the fuel at two of its state-ofEnergy from Waste facility is an exceptional piece of waste before treatment to the-art waste treatment facilities in of infrastructure, adding real value to the waste meet this requirement. Garvagh and Portadown. sector and showcases how we can recover energy from waste effectively.



Pictured are Nathan Wakefield of Equitix, Environment Minister Poots MLA and Brett Ross, Full Circle Generation Director and Managing Director of RiverRidge at the Full Circle Generation Facility, which is situated in Belfast’s Harbour Estate

Managing Director of RiverRidge, Brett Ross, explained how the facility can deal with over 80% of Northern Ireland’s household waste residual arisings while still ensuring recycling levels are maintained. In fact, he went further to state that current research and development into the treatment of waste being carried out by RiverRidge, is expected to increase the level of recycling of household waste significantly by 2023. He said, “We are an innovative company and see waste as a heavily commingled collection of valuable resources. Our role is to build infrastructure that can separate the various fractions into homogenous resources that can be used efficiently to either create a product or generate energy.” The FCG facility represents a key piece of infrastructure for Northern Ireland and was funded via the private equity firms, Equitix and P3P Partners. Equitix is a long-term investor, developer and fund manager of core infrastructure assets in the UK and Europe and has invested over £500 million into the Northern Ireland economy to date. Following on from their investment into FCG, the manager acquired Granville Eco Park, the first Anaerobic Digestion plant in the UK to achieve certification under the AD Certification Scheme, and Firmus Energy, a growing gas distribution network on the outskirts of Belfast. P3P is also focused on infrastructure projects and focus more specifically on energy, waste and vertical farming.

Environment Minister Poots MLA visited Northern Ireland’s only large-scale waste to energy facility, Full Circle Generation

The incoming Circular Economy Package requirements will require a range of additional recycling and recovery infrastructure in order to meet future 2035 recycling and diversion targets and contribute to a low carbon circular economy in Northern Ireland. The FCG facility contributes significantly to Northern Ireland meeting its current landfill diversion needs, as well as

supporting Bombardier, one of Northern Ireland’s largest employers. Together with RiverRidge the facility will play a significant role in assisting Northern Ireland environmental policy direction including the drive towards a national recycling rate of 65%. T: +44 (0) 28 95 313 313 W:



Foyle Port well positioned to drive North West recovery effort Fresh from publishing its latest financial results, Foyle Port acknowledges that the next year could prove very challenging for the North West. We speak to Chief Executive, Brian McGrath, about how the Port can play its part in economic recovery. “The current environment is complex, and the future is difficult to predict”, says Foyle Port Chief Executive, Brian McGrath. “Just when we got used to the turmoil thrown up by Brexit, I don’t think anyone could have predicted the size and scale the impact that Covid19 would have on us all”, he added.

Foyle Port’s recent financial figures showed a strong year despite pandemic challenges

Regardless of what might be coming down the track, the Port posted over £10million in the financial year ending in March. The figures captured a strong year for the Port and highlighted reinvestment of £4.4million prior to the major economic upset presented by the pandemic and lockdown. “This set of financial results represents the completion of our five-year strategy which has seen a year on year growth on our turnover. It’s been a challenging 18 months, but we have expanded the harbour estate, purchased a new harbour crane, and helped secure planning permission for a new international data centre to be located on the Port’s lands”, says McGrath. Continued diversification at the Port saw success in the Marine Services Division which made a particularly impressive contribution to the overall figures. Foyle Consulting Engineers and the internal Engineering Divisions also provided support to the Foyle Port operation and to external customers across the UK and Ireland.

The Port has reinvested £15m over the past five years and diversified its services


“We’re looking at the strength of the diversified offer at the Port and how we can bring forward further innovation. Our decarbonisation

Northern Ireland Office Minister Robin Walker MP with the senior leadership team at Foyle Port during a recent trip

strategy, diversified services, and the potential to support a vital renewable energy sector in this part of the island of Ireland are just a few of the ways that we are shaping and adapting the Port and its wider offer to meet demand.” “We have the landbank, the power source, and the vision to do more with what we have. We have the physical capabilities to develop any way we see fit. Now, we are looking at the post Brexit trading situation to see how we can shape conversations with leaders in Belfast, Dublin, and London about delivering policy that is aligned and conducive to the future Port strategic approach and the North West in terms of innovation and enterprise.” “If the British government is serious about its levelling up agenda, it needs to provide the opportunity for allowing organisations like us to attract custom and be able to reinvest it back into the Port and the local community. The Freeports initiative which has been

advocated by the Chancellor is one possible economic lever that could be put in place, not just here, but for the whole of Northern Ireland. We need to spark economic revival now so that we are in good Foyle Port CEO Brian McGrath with the Chair and Deputy Chair of the shape when things Economy Committee at Stormont Caoimhe Archibald MLA and Sinead get back to relative McLaughlin MLA in February normality. We cannot afford as a asset base of £44million. “This year marks the 166th region to be continually under As new Commissioners year of operation of Foyle served and underinvested in, Port which was established come on board there is so it is time that we spoke up in 1854 so it has witnessed fragility in the economy, to make it work.” and weathered its fair but we are live to that and acknowledge that share of upheaval. We are Chief Executive Brian McGrath we will need to work to the current custodians of says that the hard work by his the Port at this time in its maintain strong ongoing colleagues in such a turbulent extensive history and are performance”, he said. period has allowed the Port to fully aware of how difficult ensure strong performance. challenges will be in the “Throughout the year “The growth in activity at the we have maintained near future. We’ll not be Port is to be commended, sitting on our hands when it our commitment to which has been down to the comes to making decisions our corporate social hard work and determination and offering up economic responsibility, supporting of the entire team. Taking and policy solutions for the local charities and the last five years into community groups and benefit of North West”, consideration, the Port has continue to do so in this concluded Brian. now reinvested over £15 unsettling period.” million and developed a fixed



Down Memory Lane Seamus Mullan Founder and Director, Find Insurance What age are you? I was born on the 20th September 1948, making me 72.

Where in the city are you from? I was born in County Derry, not the city, but worked in the city as a young lad for a couple of years around 1963 and 1964.

Explain what your business does Find Insurance provides insurance advice, solutions and coverage to business and individuals for their insurance risks and needs.

What is your title and how long have you been in post? I stepped down in 2017 from the Managing Director’s position. My son Colin Mullan became MD and I moved to director level. I had been the MD from the inception of the company.

Tell me how your business began My wife, Elizabeth Mullan, and I purchased a small Dungiven based insurance brokerage in September 1977, employing one other person. The turnover back then was approximately £200,000. My remit was to grow the insurance account while Elizabeth managed the office and finances, eventually becoming the Financial Director. We continued to grow the business, opening a branch office in Magherafelt in 1987 and, in 1989, we purchased a Derry City based broker, JP McFeely, giving us our first City based office. We then acquired Derry-based D Gallagher Insurance Brokers in 1997. Gallagher’s was a well-known and respected firm, who had a good solid base including church, school and local commercial clients. By this stage we were outgrowing our premises on Clarendon Street and subsequently moved to our present office on Spencer Road.

What was the city like outside your windows in that era? How has it changed? The city is unrecognisable from my early days in insurance. Many of the large insurance


companies declined to offer quotes or cover for businesses in the city at that difficult time in Northern Ireland. I remember inviting a few insurers to come visit and let me show them around this historic city. I was successful in having a few insurers change their minds on the subject of taking business from us on Derry City risks.

Has the ethos of the business changed over the years? The ethos of the business hasn’t changed over the years - the client comes first at all times. We endeavour to transact all business in an open, honest, and transparent way.

What’s the best bit of business or life advice you have been given over the years? Service is of the utmost importance and was key to our ability to grow the business from humble beginnings to handling over 9000 policies annually and a turnover of £15million. It is also crucial to always do business in a manner that you can always meet with that individual or company in the future and do business with again.

Has the way you do business in the city changed much over the years – examples of anything that is better now? To transact business in 2020 has changed in many ways. The computerisation of the company makes for greater control and accuracy of client and insurance company records with much speedier delivery. The time required to get written confirmation is unrecognisable, as it is from us to the client.

If you take Covid-19 as an example and the serious trading problems it has caused, we had the technology to allow all of our staff to work from home and service over 9000 policies overnight. This would have been impossible just a few years ago, creating untold issues and problems. The present technology enjoyed by Find Insurance has meant that its business as usual.

What can businesses learn from the past to build a strong future? Businesses have experienced a deep recession and a pandemic in the past 12 years. Where a business isn’t or wasn’t built on solid financial foundations, didn’t embrace change, didn’t invest in technology and in their staff, then it will struggle to survive. These ingredients are required if you want to be trading strongly in the future.


Cross-Border Workers Coalition warns investment in NW could be hit if access to talent restricted by cross-border tax liability Aidan O’Kane, Co-Chair of the Cross-Border Workers Coalition When a company decides to invest in a particular area, one of the key considerations is access to people, skills, and talent. Indeed, the regional talent pool is the cornerstone for any indigenous business, or FDIs, as they build capabilities to deliver their products or services. As a particular example – many large recognisable companies have made the North West of the island of Ireland their home, with their workforce coming from Donegal and indeed as far down as Sligo. Some of the most cutting-edge jobs which are on offer in the North West are in the exciting areas of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Fintech, and Cyber Security and can attract talent from all over the region. I know of people who are originally from Donegal who have had to live away for many years to pursue a career which meets their ambition. Now, they can live back in a place they love, raise a family in a beautiful area while working in well paid senior roles within globally recognised companies.

The Cross-Border Workers Coalition was formed during the summer to lobby the Irish Government to remove the ‘double tax’ liability on ROI residents who work in NI

It is important to note that these people contribute to the regional talent pool by applying the skills and experience they have acquired elsewhere, further enhancing the value proposition of the North West as a region which is great to do The simple fact is that companies who business in. have invested heavily in the North West and indeed other border regions, Unfortunately, the cross-border workers relief will have to advise that this will not granted to a person who lives in the South but be possible as the employee would works in the North largely prohibits them from be triggering a potential double tax carrying out anything more than basic duties on their salary. This is unfortunately a from home without triggering a personal tax reason that turns many southern citizens liability. away from working for companies in the North and makes it harder for Imagine the panic that this caused in March businesses to get the right people with when the lockdown meant that hundreds of the right skills. colleagues were required to work from home. Thankfully, after several prompts, the Irish Covid-19 has placed a real focus on Revenue Commissioners temporarily waived the need to work from home, but it this liability which is recognition that they has also highlighted a serious flaw acknowledge that the current arrangement in the tax system for cross-border is out of kilter with new ways of working and workers delivering world beating work particularly, working from home. for companies in Northern Ireland. Over the past number of months, However, the hybrid model of working from the Cross-Border Workers Coalition home and the office has, and will become, the has been engaging extensively with standard way of working long into the future. business groups including Londonderry Therefore, we have a significant problem on Chamber, civic society, and political our hands – how does the new working model representatives on both sides of the fit the old model of personal taxation should border to highlight these flaws and seek the southern domiciled worker, working for a a pragmatic solution which will benefit company in the north work from home as part workers and businesses based in the of a new rota? The answer is – it does not. North West. The support received has

Aidan O’Kane, Co-Chair of the newly formed Cross-Border Workers Coalition

been really encouraging and highlights the absolute need for a new approach. The Irish Finance Minister now really needs to take a serious look at this situation as it is detrimental to the growth of the critically under served and under invested North West. There is a lot of talk about selling the all-island economy to global investors as an Irish government priority, but this is placed in jeopardy if the current tax rules are not changed to allow cross-border workers to work from home when they need to. For more information, visit and follow us at @BorderWorkers



2020 brings reasons to celebrate for Ulster University at Magee despite global pandemic In spite of the serious challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic this year, 2020 has been a largely successful one for Ulster University at Magee. The restoration of the NI Assembly and Executive in January – and the accompanying ‘New Decade, New Approach’ agreement – brought with it significant commitments of investment and growth in the North West, including the full expansion of university provision at Magee and the establishment of a Graduate Entry Medical School at the campus. The announcement in May from the First and deputy First Ministers that ring fenced funding for a Medical School for the North West was finally signed off and approved by the Executive represented the result of decades of campaigning by the University and the wider community

Executive funding ring fenced for Graduate Entry Medical School at Magee was approved in May

in Derry~Londonderry. The School of Medicine at Magee will focus on providing much-needed additional doctors for Northern Ireland’s health service through its MBBS programme. Speaking after the Medical School progressed through to the next stage of the General Medical Council’s (GMC) rigorous quality assurance process for new medical schools and the announcement that the School could now recruit staff and 70 students for September 2021, Foundation Dean of the School of Medicine Professor Louise Dubras said:

Foundation Dean of the School of Medicine Prof Louise Dubras


As a GP working in the city myself, I am continually reflecting on the role of the doctor and the doctor-patient journey. COVID-19 has emphasised that a career as a doctor requires a commitment to lifelong learning and adapting to life’s modern challenges.

“The MBBS programme at Ulster’s School of Medicine will provide students with the professional skills, knowledge and relevant clinical experience necessary to be a twenty first century doctor. Working closely with our partner medical School St George’s University of London and alongside globally acclaimed visiting professors, our medical provision, rooted in the heart of Derry-Londonderry on our Magee campus, will provide the muchneeded doctors required for the North West. “The School of Medicine on our Magee campus will attract students to study, work and live in the North West and will be a catalyst in the innovation corridor to be established as part of the City Deal. We look forward to taking the next steps and to welcoming our first medical students ready to embark upon such a rewarding and vital career path with us.” Quick on the heels of the announcement that the Medical School is expected


Ulster University’s new Vice-Chancellor Prof Paul Bartholomew was appointed in August

to welcome its first students in September 2020, Magee’s award-winning School of Nursing established Northern Ireland’s first ever BSc Hons Paramedic Science degree course. Educating the next generation of paramedics, this course will help meet the growing workforce demands for more paramedics in Northern Ireland. These future Paramedics will be required in the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and will also have a wider role to play in the transformation of the provision of health and social care within primary and secondary care in Northern Ireland as outlined in the Bengoa Report. Welcoming the establishment of the new course, Chief AHP Officer for Northern Ireland Jenny Keane said: “The launch of the first BSc Paramedic Programme for Northern Ireland is to be welcomed, it will help alleviate the ever increasing pressures that are being placed on HSC services by providing a new generation of highly skilled paramedics educated to deliver across a wide range of settings. This programme is good news not just for NIAS and its new Clinical

Response Model but also for the whole HSC as it moves forward on the delivery of the transformation of services as set out in Bengoa. Paramedics will have key roles to play in this work as we move forward.”

students and alumni, our industry partners and the communities we serve, I look forward to leading Ulster as we work to deliver the full potential of this remarkable place and its people.”

The wider Ulster University community welcomed their new Vice-Chancellor to his new role in August, Professor Paul Bartholomew. Professor Bartholomew, who previously worked in the NHS as a diagnostic radiographer before moving into higher education in 2001, spoke of his pride and excitement about his new role.

Like all sectors and organisations, including higher and further education providers, 2020 has been a challenge for Ulster University. However, under the fresh, new leadership of Professor Bartholomew and with the long-awaited establishment of the Medical School, there are reasons for staff and students to be optimistic as we go into 2021. Developing unique and leading courses like Northern Ireland’s first ever BSc in Paramedic Science and attracting more students than ever to the city, Ulster University at Magee is an integral and growing driver of the North West economy, one which provides value and investment far beyond lecture theatres and classrooms.

“I feel truly privileged to lead Ulster University through this next chapter of its development. Our unique role and responsibility as a core economic engine to support individuals and communities right across Northern Ireland is something I know every colleague feels passionately about and I share that commitment. “Never has Ulster’s vital and multi-faceted impact been more needed than at this unprecedented time. The natural pace of change has become much amplified over 2020 and we will meet these challenges with the commitment, profound expertise and collaborative spirit and that is so much part of Ulster’s strength and value. Working together with our talented Ulster staff,

For more information, visit



NWRC 1. Karen Moore Head of Quality Enhancement, Karen has worked at the college for 28 years. Following her early career as a General Nurse and Midwife in Altnagelvin Hospital, she started in the College as a Part time lecturer in Early Years becoming an Associate Lecturer in 1995 and a full time lecturer in 2002 when she took over the Management of Health Studies. The reputation of her courses have ensured increasing student numbers applying and progressing to Degrees in Nursing and Midwifery and the Allied Health professions across the three NWRC locations where she was the Curriculum Manager and Lead for Level 2 and 3 Quality outcomes in Health and Social Care. In 2016 Karen joined the college Leadership and Management team as Head of Learner Services. She established the Ur Future Careers Academy and with the support of Finneen Bradley, this team have achieved Matrix Accreditation and recently won the prestigious Beacon Award. In 2018 she became Head of Department for Training and Skills, one of the largest academic Departments at NWRC. She was offered a place in the UNESCOUNEVOC Training, Vocational, Education Leadership at the United Nations in Bonn, and following that commenced a Department of Economy Project for a year. In 2019 she won The Derry Journal’s Inspirational Educator Award and she has now returned to NWRC with a wealth of experience as the Head of Quality.


2. Dr Catherine O’Mullan Dr Catherine O’Mullan took up the position of Head of Curriculum and Operations at NWRC in June 2020. Catherine has over 30 years experience, in the Further and Higher Education sector having held a range of senior management responsibilities including curriculum development, quality improvement, student services and marketing, and economic engagement. She has been involved in several regional sector developments and has extensive experience of working with a range of stakeholders including business industry and the post primary sector. With a background in genetic engineering, her interests are in STEM and in promoting the parity of esteem of professional and technical qualifications with traditional academic pathways. Dr O’Mullan has extensive experience of governance presently sitting on a number of Boards including as a Director of the Odyssey Trust Board and Chair of W5 Belfast. She also sits as a non-executive director on Board of the Western Health and Social Care Trust.

foyle port 3. David O’Neill Appointed to the post of Senior Engineering Manager, David will manage Foyle Port’s Plant and Infrastructure. David is an experienced Engineer who joins Foyle Port from Kilroot Power Station where he managed large-scale development and overhaul projects as well as holding roles in both the maintenance and operational sides of the business over the past 10 years. He is an Incorporated Engineer and a Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.



AIB 4. Stephen Comer Stephen is a career banker with over 30 years experience having led teams throughout Northern Ireland . He has extensive experience in both commercial & personal banking and is passionate about delivering quality service and working closely with clients. Previous roles include leading the First Trust Branch network in the South region and most recently having responsibility for new business acquisition in the North West. No stranger to Derry, Stephen worked in AIB branches in Pennyburn, Strabane and Shipquay Street throughout the 90s and lived in the city for 10 years. He is delighted to have the opportunity to lead the AIB (NI) business team in the region and to develop a strong working relationship with the business community in the North West . Married to Catherine with 4 kids Stephen is actively involved in his local GAA Club , Magherafelt and provides advice and assistance to various not for profit organisations.

MPA Recruitment

5. Marc Doorish MPA Recruitment are delighted to welcome Marc Doorish who joins the Permanent Recruitment & Executive Search team. Marc brings a wealth of experience having spent 13 years in the industry; initially with Manpower UK and Hays before becoming Branch Manager of Grafton Recruitment in Derry in 2012. In his new role as Business Manager, Marc will be working closely with business leaders across all sectors in the NI market and using this experience to source the specific skillsets needed for their teams.





ulster university 6. Nigel McFarland Nigel McFarland has been appointed to the City Deal team at Ulster University. Nigel brings over 30 years’ experience to the team having previously held the position of Head of Research Management, supporting the academic and research community in Ulster University with the management of their research grants. Nigel will work closely with the Derry City Deal Project Leaders to develop long-term sustainability plans for each project. 7. Myra McAuliffe Myra McAuliffe has been appointed as Marketing and Communications Officer for the Derry City and Strabane District City Deal at Ulster University. Myra has more than 15 years’ experience of working in communications and PR having worked as Head of Communications at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin and Communications & Patient Advocacy Manager for Novartis Pharmaceuticals Ireland in their Oncology Division. Prior to these roles, Myra worked with major brands such as Aer Lingus, Anglo Irish Bank and Vodafone as a PR consultant at Drury PR. Myra is a member of the Board of Directors of the Playhouse Theatre in Derry ~ Londonderry.

KMC Wealth Management 8. Orann Coyle Orann has progressed to Financial Adviser status within KMC Wealth Management Ltd in January 2020, previously holding a paraplanning role. Orann is currently working toward the Level 6 Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning to claim Chartered Financial Planner status, as well as holding a BA Hons in Accountancy, an MSc in Risk and Investment Management and a Level 3 Certificate in Mortgage Planning. 9. Joe McGarvey Joe McGarvey joins KH Chartered Engineers as an Engineering Technician as part of his Higher Level Apprenticeship in Civil Engineering at South West College Omagh.








ftz ltd

fleming agri

10. Aisling McCloskey Aisling has recently been appointed as Business Development Manager by FTZ LTD. Based in the O2 business centre in the city Aisling brings a wealth of experience to FTZ with over 15 years in sales management and Business Development experience.

12. Alison Duncan Alison has recently joined the Fleming Agri team, working alongside the sales team as the marketing 13 manager. Alison is from a farming background and has over 6 years’ experience working in the agricultural machinery industry. Alison is from Magherafelt and has a degree in French and Spanish from QUB which will be beneficial as she assists the export team. She is well known amongst the dealer network and will be working with them to grow the Fleming brand.

11. Patricia McGrory Patricia has worked in the field of Human Resources for over 20 years and is Chartered CIPD qualified. Patricia joined the Company in February 2019 and oversees all aspects of the HR function. As HR Manager Patricia provides support and guidance to our Managers on recruitment and selection, employee relations and performance management, whilst ensuring compliance with relevant legislation and best practice.

13. Jonathan Caldwell Jonathan is a Derry/Londonderry local and has recently joined accounts team at Fleming Agri Products. After several years working in the banking sector, Jonathan was ready for a new challenge. Jonathan is currently studying for an Accounts Technician Higher Level Apprenticeship while gaining hands-on experience here at Flemings.



McCay Solicitors 14. Marie-Claire Logue Marie-Claire Logue has joined McCay Solicitors as an Associate Solicitor in the Commercial Department. Marie-Claire joins the firm having spent a number of years at international law firm Pinsent Masons and leading law firms in London and Sydney. Marie-Claire has a strong background in employment law and general commercial matters and will mainly work out of the firm’s Derry~Londonderry office.









modern democracy 15. Kieran McCann Modern Democracy recently appointed Kieran McCann to the position of Account Director. Kieran has over 9 years’ experience in sales, and the majority of his experience is in selling SaaS based solutions. Kieran has worked with and secured business with the likes of Emirates, Lotte, Wholefoods, Google and Gusto, in numerous different businesses. In his new position as Account Director with Modern Democracy, Kieran will be responsible for adopting digital transformation in elections and polling stations throughout councils in the UK, Wales and Ireland.

fintru 16. Roli Shaw Roli has over 17 years’ experience in Legal and Financial Services, having worked within private legal practice and financial institutions during that time. ​ Prior to joining FinTrU, Roli ran the Legal Department in Citi Belfast. He was responsible for a group of 100+ legal professionals supporting Citi’s markets, capital markets, securities and treasury functions in EMEA. Roli was also a key member of the Citi Belfast Senior Leadership Team, responsible for growing and developing the Citi Belfast site from when he joined Citi in 2012 to 2019. Prior to Citi, Roli worked in private practice in Linklaters, London (2002 to 2006) and Arthur Cox, Dublin (2006 to 2012) where he specialised in advising financial institutions on structured finance transactions and derivatives.​Roli has a BSc Hons Economics Degree, awarded by Queen’s University Belfast and Postgraduate Diploma in Law, awarded by BPP Law School in London.


17. Steven Murtland At FinTrU, Steven is the Chief Financial Officer, a member of the Executive Leadership team and is responsible for evaluating strategic financial objectives and commercial opportunities. Prior to joining FinTrU, Steven was the Finance Director for Convergint Technologies (2013 – 2019) for the EMEA region. Convergint Technologies is a global service based system integrator with revenues of $1bn globally. Prior to this, Steven was Head of Finance for Harvey Group plc, a leading mechanical and electrical contractor (2010 – 2013) and Group Financial Controller for Ireland for JP Corry / Saint Gobain (2005 – 2010), a distributor of building materials. Steven is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland, a member of the Institute of Directors, holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting from Queen’s University Belfast and a Bachelor of Accountancy with Computing Science from the University of Stirling. Steven also acts as a Non-Executive Director at Bryson House, Northern Ireland’s leading social enterprise.

consult hr 18. Sharon Lowry Sharon Lowry has recently joined the Consult HR team, Sharon comes with a wealth of knowledge across all areas of HR to include: absence management, disciplinary and grievance, performance management, reward and recognition, employee relations, change management, TUPE, redundancy and recruitment. Also experienced in management of HR staff, I.S.O 9001:2008 and supporting management with Investor in People accreditation and ongoing annual renewal of membership. Educated to Masters in HR Management and a Chartered member of CIPD.


visit derry

3d personal limited

diamond corrugated

19. Charlene Shongo Visit Derry is delighted to announce the appointment of the company’s new International Brand and Campaigns Manager, Charlene Shongo.

20. Robert Fullerton Director Multi-Sector Drawing on over 18 years’ experience in recruiting crossindustry and cross-sector, throughout Ireland, and the U.K, I am continually focused on ensuring that our company strives to deliver results for both our hiring clients looking for experienced and skilled staff and for our candidates, looking for the next step in their professional careers. We at 3D firmly believe that great companies are Built on Great People.

22. Rory McWilliams Rory Williams has joined Diamond Corrugated’s Design & Technical department completing what is a strong team. Rory has an abundance of knowledge ranging from CAD design, shop fitting, engineering, construction and now Corrugated Packaging.

Charlene will be based at Visit Derry’s Waterloo Place office, joining the 14-strong team, which has significantly grown since the company’s inception back in 1996 (formerly Derry Visitor and Convention Bureau). Her appointment comes as part of Visit Derry’s long-term future growth plan, helping to drive visitor spend of £100m to the local economy with one million visitors by 2025, which will support 5,000 jobs in the developing tourism sector. Former Airport Manager, at City of Derry Airport, Charlene has extensive experience in helping an organisation to grow. Hailing from a background in marketing, Charlene worked as the City of Derry Airport Manager for two years, and before that spent six years as the airport’s commercial marketing manager. Charlene will be responsible for planning, developing and implementing the destination’s international brand, marketing and PR strategy in national and international markets. She will work with internal and external partners to promote the destination and implement effective and targeted PR & Communications in the identified areas to increase the positive profile in national and international markets of the city and region.

21. David O’Hagan Multi-Sector Manager David, a Derry native, now living in Donegal has been working in the Recruitment industry for over 17 years and in his career to date has worked for some well-known and respected national and international brands.Having spent the last 10+ years working in Donegal, David is excited at being back doing what he loves in his home town and keen to help develop the 3D Personnel brand across the whole of the Northwest and beyond. “Having been in my last role and with my last employer for 12 years I really needed a change and a fresh start and 3D have provided a real opportunity for me to use my substantial Multi-Sector Recruitment experience to help grow their business across Ireland, UK and beyond to develop and launch a new division of their business. I am really motivated by the opportunity and the challenge. “My aim is to make 3D Personnel the go to agency in Derry, Donegal and beyond and I believe we can do that by delivering a personalised and tailored Recruitment service but with a human touch.”



23. Clare Cooper Clare Cooper has joined Diamond Corrugated as an internal Sales Account Manager 24 and Business Systems Analyst. Clare brings with her 18 years of experience and knowledge which makes engaging with customers second nature. Clare’s system development skills and modern technology experience will provide support for customers and client needs. 24. Donard Graham Donard Graham has been appointed Process Manager with Diamond Corrugated. Donard has 18 years engineering experience within a manufacturing environment. Donard’s key skills are project management, & process improvement. These skills will see him manage key platform strategies within the business.



25. Anna Doherty Anna Doherty has re-joined the executive team at Derry Chamber. She first worked at the Chamber from April 2013 to July 2015 as Events Manager and returns to the same position. Anna has spent the intervening years in London working in membership, trade and awarding bodies, most recently with BritishAmerican Business, the American Chamber in the UK. She has run various businesses in Inishowen between 1995 and 2013 including the award-winning Rusty Nail Pub and Restaurant in Clonmany, giving her a unique perspective on what a business requires from Chamber membership.







Directly with current and potential customers, stakeholders and key influencers

Your profile and deliver some of your key messages to a captive business audience

Government policy whilst networking with key influencers and business leaders


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?




Welcome to new member MCI Planning & Development. They are an independent local firm of chartered town planning consultants and chartered surveyors specialising in land and property development with a strong North West focus. They deliver planning permissions for major residential, retail and commercial developments including the International Data Centre Campus at Foyle Port.

Welcome to new member The Fir Trees. The Fir Trees is a family run hotel nestling at the foot of the scenic Sperrin Mountains on the outskirts of Strabane, County Tyrone. The hotel has 23 beautifully decorated bedrooms and is regarded as one of the finest hotels in the North West. Surrounded by trees and ample car parking the hotel is ideally situated one mile from the Donegal/Lifford border.

Welcome to new member Hillbilly’s Fried Chicken. Hillbilly’s is a long established, city-centre fast-food operator specialising in US style fried chicken. The company have recently enjoyed more success through the use of delivery aggregators like Just Eat, My Food and YoYo. The company’s sit in and collection services also remain busy and vibrant.

Welcome to new member Payhere. Payhere opens up the full capabilities of Stripe for non-technical individuals, allowing you to create a payment link in minutes. They facilitate one-off, subscriptions or customer entered amount (donation) payments. Connect a Stripe account and funds will be directly deposited into your account when payments are made. Customers can login to a customer portal to update their card details, cancel their subscriptions, or view and download payment history.

Welcome to new member McAtamney’s butchers. They were established in 1933 and proudly provide customers with locally sourced produce, traditional values and excellent customer care. With 13 shops across N. Ireland, the flagship store is located at Lisnagelvin Shopping Centre with butchers counter, deli to go and a range of local dishes and products.

Welcome to new member Melrose Clinic. The clinic provides comprehensive health checks, body composition analysis , phlebotomy services, drug and alcohol testing for workplaces, and a chain of custody and DNA paternity testing.



How does chamber membership work for you and your business?

Jacqui Hinds, Director, Dawson Hinds

Entering the world of business and entrepreneurship is daunting even for the most confident and self-assured of people. For Jacqui Hinds, the support network provided by the Chamber proved invaluable after she became a director at local office furniture suppliers Dawson Hinds. “When I moved from working in the public sector for over 20 years to the private sector four years ago, I must admit I found the move quite overwhelming at times. It’s a totally different world and there’s no guidebook you can read which prepares you for leading a business”, said Jacqui. “I quickly found that being a Chamber member gave me access to a large community of local business leaders from whose experience and years of entrepreneurship I could learn from.” First opened in September 1996, Dawson Hinds Creative Spaces originally traded as Office Furniture Centre on the Victoria Road in the city. The business then rebranded and relocated to its new home on the Spencer Road in the Waterside. The family-run company has over four decades of experience in the commercial interior and office products sector and provides quality, innovative modern office furniture affordable for all budgets and to a range of clients. “It was nice to know that any anxieties or concerns I had about decisions I was making or work I was doing weren’t unique to me and there was a group of other business people who had been through the same experiences. The Chamber networking events and workshops

gave me a perfect opportunity to meet new people, bounce some ideas off them, and get some guidance and advice.” Jacqui says the support she and her business have received from the team at the Chamber has also been vital and much appreciated. “The staff at the Chamber are brilliant. They’re very hands-on and proactive without ever being too pushy. You know that they are there to help you, they’re very personable and approachable, and genuinely interested in supporting you any way they can. Over the past few years in particular I’ve found that the Chamber has become much more member-focused and member-driven. What’s important to the members is important to the Chamber. When businesses were concerned about Brexit, for example, they led from the front and fought our corner very well.” “And now, with the impact of the pandemic, Chamber has been out front and centre fighting for support for the North West. They’ve been brilliant in getting quick, reliable and up-to-date information

out to members, at a time of real upheaval and anxiety for a lot of businesses.” After finding her feet over the past few years, Jacqui says she now feels more comfortable helping other budding entrepreneurs and enjoys being able to give back to the business community. “The Chamber was a massive help when I was starting out in my new role, so I feel obliged to do the same when fresh faces join. It’s nice knowing that someone else has been in your shoes and felt how you feel. Sharing my experiences with new members is a nice way of giving back and growing the support network.” For Jacqui, Chamber membership is what you make of it. “As cliched as it sounds, you really do get out what you give in. Being a Chamber member is a fantastic opportunity to network, connect with other business owners, and learn best practice. My advice for any businessperson in the North West would be to throw yourself into it, make some brilliant contacts, and reap the rewards.”



Dalradian goes extra mile to support local community through lockdown The Covid-19 pandemic sent a shockwave through society and disrupted much of what we consider to be normal. This has impacted business, charities and community groups alike, posing new and daunting challenges for many. Businesses have made many adjustments, operationally and otherwise. For Dalradian, which is proposing to develop an underground gold-silver-copper mine in Tyrone, this response has included a more proactive approach to community support. One initiative was to open the next round of the firm’s community fund (the Tyrone Fund) one month early to support local groups who were finding it difficult to fundraise due to the lockdown restrictions. Dalradian received a massive response and prioritized organisations who were assisting the vulnerable or responding to Covid-19. Among those to receive donations were SVP Drumquin and the Victoria Bridge Cross Community Forum who provided much needed children’s entertainment during lockdown. The company also recognised the strain placed on the care sector and acted.

Eugene Donnelly of Dalradian Gold delivering a supply of hand sanitiser to staff at Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex


The shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supplies – masks, visors, gloves, medical grade sanitiser and decanting bottles - across the care sector was extremely serious and widely reported. Peter McKenna, Community Relations Manager at Recognising that care Dalradian Gold presents £50,000 donation and 150 litres of homes needed a reliable hand sanitiser produced by Ion Distillery to Marie Curie local supply of PPE, Dalradian worked closely with companies in the region, and local activities were restricted, we had the and regional Chambers of Commerce manpower to deliver the PPE directly to help identify new supply chains. to hard-working frontline staff. Those of Dalradian then funded and distributed us who were making the deliveries had these supplies at no cost to care homes. many heart-warming responses– making it all worthwhile!” With the additional stress placed on the health service, the local Marie Curie As the Chamber representative for issued an emergency appeal to help Dalradian, Ciaran explained, “We with running costs. Dalradian responded worked closely with Chambers to this appeal by donating £50,000. of Commerce in Derry, Strabane The company also supplied Marie Curie and Omagh to ensure that PPE nurses with 150 litres of hand sanitiser manufactured by local companies produced by Ion Distillery, linking the benefitted care homes in the charity with a local business and further community. Knowing how some of these strengthening their supply chain. companies were struggling to remain in business and sustain employment Coordinating the Dalradian response was an extra incentive to help. This to the pandemic and helping to enabled us to maintain our commitment establish the local supply chain for the to boosting the local economy and homes were Eugene Donnelly, Senior develop new connections in the Geological Technician, and Ciaran community. At present we are supplying McCreanor, Community Relations in excess of 100 frontline establishments Organiser. across the region and have received many, many messages of thanks. That Eugene explained, “As the coronavirus reflects the agility and commitment outbreak began to unfold it soon of suppliers and the Chambers of became clear that there was a severe Commerce, and we’re very grateful for shortage of PPE in many local care their help.” homes.

“While we were unable to manufacture PPE for the homes ourselves, Dalradian felt that we had an important role to play in connecting local manufacturers of PPE with care providers. Because our work

For more information visit dalradian. com or contact our Community Relations team on 028816 48012.


catch Yerself On! Workplace wellbeing Programme “You’re not alone.” That’s the message from Helen McDonnell’s Workplace Wellbeing Programme which is aimed at improving and sustaining good mental health among employees. Helen’s years of expertise in this field has dovetailed perfectly with many employer’s realisation that, because of Covid, we are all having to adjust to a new way of working. The tools to face these new challenges are laid out in this innovative programme. She is keen to point out that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to tackling these issues. The development of the individual lays the foundation for the collective strength of any company,

Helen McDonnell: IndigoLife Coaching

particularly during these unprecedented times when the bottom line is under so much pressure. Helen said, “We cannot change people, but we can help them change themselves.” She added, “Imagine a workforce who are resilient, who take responsibility for their own mental health and who implement their own personal strategies for greater effectiveness.” The cornerstone of Workplace Wellbeing Programme is for participants not only to develop that self-awareness but to understand what is happening to them

mentally and physically when faced with pressure. Helen said, “Knowledge is power and self knowledge is self empowerment. That is what this programme brings to my clients.” Since lockdown Helen has been able to continue her work with businesses through online meetings which have proved incredibly popular and effective, over the last six months. If you would like to find out more, contact Helen for a free consultation For more details contact Helen T: 07719302988



with love recipes Our company developed and founded by Sharron Mc Carron in 2019 has grown rapidly and already has a portfolio of success stories. Our business delivers a unique range of products and services that have been created and produced with health in mind. Our gluten free, no added sugar and highprotein range of cheesecakes, muffins and sauces have already taken the market by storm and the recent Introduction of our healthy calorie counted meals have added another string to our bow. Our foods can be enjoyed by the whole family regardless of whether a family member is coeliac, diabetic or following a healthy weight management program like our Shape Your Life program which launched on the 3rd of September this year in Derry/ Londonderry and Strabane. The results havebeen outstanding with over 57.5 stone lost so far. The messages and comments we receive from our members on a daily basis just proves how much it works. Our Company Director, Sharron established the group after qualifying as a Neuro Linguistic Master Practitioner, with her wealth of experience in the health, fitness and weight management industry it was obvious to Sharron that those who want to live a healthier lifestyle or lose weight needed something much more, ‘It’s not just about the number on the scales’ she said, “health is also about mindset and how we can change it for success, it’s proved to be extremely effective in our groups, we talk about nutrition, recipes, include cooking demonstrations and also do a bit of meditation! The company are also extremely proud of our extended list of award nominations and wins including, “Best Business In Health And Well Being by the Strabane chamber, Award for Highly Commendedvbest start up business” for Women In Business NI, Our most recent accolade was winning the pitch challenge for Women In Business NI for the region of Derry and Strabane to name a few. 2019 and 2020 also saw us receive our 5-star hygiene rating which is a huge testament to the staff and work they put in everyday to uphold the exceptional standard of our premises and products.” So In 2020 amidst a global pandemic, we kept strong with our plan and our very own lifestyle programme Shape Your Life was born. We diversified the business


and have already signed our first franchisees to open groups in Omagh and Carndonagh. We have been so blown away by the public’s response to this that we start our first online Shape Your Life Program with members as far away as Australia, America and as well the U.K. and on a local level, some members who are shielding have also signed up. Sharron spoke about the diversification into producing healthy calorie counted meals, ‘Although we knew the meals would be popular, we never quite expected the number of orders that we have received, it’s been amazing! We are absolutely delighted with the response and the feedback has been brilliant. Classes are held at With Love Recipes Ltd, Unit 34 Northwest Business Park, Skeoge Industrial Estate, Derry BT82 8LE every Tuesday and at The Bridge, Behind Porters Factory, Derry Road, Strabane BT82 8DT, classes are at 8am, 10am, 12pm, 3.30pm and 5.30pm. Weigh In is open 7am-7pm and members are free to come along at any time throughout the day.

Meals can be ordered through our Shape Your Life Facebook page or by texting 07519779345. With love Recipes Ltd, Shape Your Life Program is open to anyone even if weight loss is not their goal. Members can join to learn new skills, maintain their weight, make new friends and develop a healthy mindset. Everybody is welcome. What will 2021 hold for us as a company? We believe this will be the growth spurt that we have long anticipated. We are currently managing our stock demand for the republic of Ireland and have launched our guilt free sauce range into, Dublin, Cavan, Meath, Tipperary and Wexford. We see ourproducts going across the whole of Ireland and the next step of our plan will be to add the UK to our continued list of suppliers. In growing our geographical stock list and our staff force, we truly feel that the sky is the limit for With Love Recipes.



The Final Word Dawn McLaughlin, Principal of Dawn McLaughlin & Co Chartered Accountants

During lockdown earlier this year, businesses of all kinds – large and small – had to adapt overnight to the new way of working. For some businesses, this transition was fairly seamless, with staff easily adapting to home or remote working, with little to no problems, and no threat to their operations. Other businesses, unfortunately, found the upheaval and uncertainty much tougher. Business owners and employers were suddenly consumed with fears and anxieties of insolvency, redundancies, unmanageable debt, and torn-up business plans. As trusted financial advisors, accountants are expected to provide reliable guidance and a level head in times of crisis. So we made sure to take the necessary steps to help our clients and affected small businesses. Early in the pandemic, we at Dawn McLaughlin & Co Chartered Accountants signed up to the national #LeaveNoBusinessBehind campaign, a call to action within the accountancy community to help clients and other businesses weather the economic storm which was to come. Since March, we have been busy, day and night, interacting and communicating with clients and non-clients alike. We focused immediately on key issues like reassessing services and product offerings, encouraging business owners to have tough and frank conversations about their futures, how to maintain cash reserves, becoming a leaner and more efficient operation, and preparing cashflow forecasts to ensure the survival of their businesses. We provided almost daily Zoom webinars for groups of up to ten on a range of issues, as well as taking part in a series of Chamber information webinars for members, working hard to provide clarity and reliable advice for businesses which would give them the confidence and guidance to bounce back again.


I am extremely proud, therefore, that we have recently been recognised for our work over the last nine months. We were one of five finalists of accountants from around the world in the AVN Inspiring Accountants ‘Excellence in Challenging Times Award’. It feels like a bit of an understatement to simply call this year of all years challenging times, but I am incredibly proud of our entire team for their efforts over the past few months. The good health and prosperity of the wider business community is good for us all. As a business which coped better than most with the impact of coronavirus, and one with the skills and expertise which could help minimise any blows, we felt there was a moral imperative on us to help where we could. This is why we have also decided to freeze our fees for the next year to provide certainty for clients in forecasting their cash flows. It was a simple decision to try and ease any pressures on struggling businesses and we hope it provides even some assurance for business owners going into 2021. While it is important to be realistic and recognise that the end of 2020 will not mean the end of serious financial pressures, I would remind business owners that there is plenty of professional and trusted support out there. Between the Chamber, government agencies, the council, and your accountant and other financial

advisors, it is important to remember that you are not alone. When the pandemic first reached our shores in March, there was an immediate sense of community and togetherness across our society. As long as Covid-19 continues to disrupt our local economy, we will be here to assist local businesses and provide a listening ear and sound advice. For Dawn McLaughlin & Co, leaving no business behind has firmly become part of our new normal.

44 Spencer Road Derry - Londonderry

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