We're Hiring!

Are you passionate about telling great stories, building relationships, and driving impactful communication strategies?

LK is seeking a dynamic PR Account Executive to join our award-winning team.

If you're ready to make your mark and grow your career with us, we want to hear from you.

For the full job description, see below and apply by sending your CV to hello@lkcommunications.co.uk

 

Closing date Monday 11th March 2024.

 

PR Account Executive

Reporting to:                                  -             PR Account Manager / PR Account Director

Location:                                         -             Pavilions Office Park, Holywood

Hours:                                             -             9.00am to 5.30pm

Main Function of Role:                -             Provide assistance and support to consumer and corporate

PR clients, ensuring quality of output and client satisfaction

 

Key Responsibilities

  • Providing ongoing support to several client accounts (including consumer and corporate focussed-PR) simultaneously.
  • Assisting with day-to-day execution of client campaigns and programmes and contributing to client meetings, including taking minutes.
  • Working as part of an account management team to develop client proposals and implement the PR activity.
  • Assisting in the management of PR photography and photocalls on behalf of LK Clients.
  • Organising and attending events, including press conferences and promotions.
  • Developing and maintaining strong relationships with clients, journalists and media.
  • Daily and monthly monitoring and scanning of media, including online, print, broadcast, newswires, social media sites and blogs, for opportunities for clients and competitor information.
  • Analysing and evaluating media coverage, including daily and monthly preparation of client clipping files and evaluation reports.
  • Researching, writing and distributing original and creative press releases to targeted media.
  • Spotting and capitalising on media and influencer opportunities.
  • Creating weekly and monthly client status reports for Account Managers and Directors.
  • Working collaboratively in a team environment with a spirit of collaboration and jumping in to help at all levels of tasks.
  • Being proactive, flexible and have the ability to deal with new challenges as they arise.
  • Supporting the Account Managers and Directors in developing new business proposals and pitches / presentations.
  • Being committed to confidentiality, total discretion and integrity.
  • Carry out any other duties as may be required by the Managers & Directors of LK Communications.

Personnel Specification

Essential Desirable
Qualifications A third level qualification in CAM, PR, Communications, Marketing, Journalism or a related discipline.
Experience One year’s experience in a similar role within a Communications or PR Agency or in-house.
Skills Excellent writing skills.

Creativity and imagination.

Strong attention to detail.

Good presentation skills.

IT literate in Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

 

Business awareness and a good knowledge of current affairs.

The ability to think strategically and good analytical skills.

 

Characteristics Ability to build strong rapport / relationships internally and externally.

Confidence.

Initiative.

Excellent organisational skills, with the ability to work on more than one project at a time.

Flexible approach to work, determination, enthusiasm and the ability to cope well under pressure.

Other The ability to travel to Clients sites and other locations. Hold a current & valid full UK driving licence with full access to a vehicle

 


Lidl Northern Ireland submits plans for new stores in Bangor, Craigavon and Dungannon

Lidl Northern Ireland has submitted planning applications for three new outlets at Bangor, Craigavon and Dungannon as the retailer continues to advance its ambitious plans to enhance and expand its growing store network across the region.

Northern Ireland’s fastest-growing grocery retailer confirmed it has submitted planning applications to position new stores at Rushmere Shopping Centre in Craigavon and adjacent to Bloomfield Shopping Centre in Bangor. Both will replace longstanding nearby outlets with all-new, brighter, larger, and modern retail outlets with sustainability built in.

It has also submitted a planning application for a new supermarket and café at Anne Street in Dungannon, replacing its Scotch Street store, on a prominent site which has been derelict for almost four decades.

Combined, the three store builds represent a significant multi-million-pound investment and will support hundreds of jobs during development and construction phases in addition to more than 50 more retail jobs created when all three outlets open. Existing stores in all three areas already employ over 60 employees, all of whom will relocate on completion.

Subject to planning permission by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Ards and North Down Borough Council and Mid Ulster Council, the stores will open next year.

The proposed new store at the south end of Rushmere Shopping Centre, replacing its existing outlet at Northway, will see the creation of a 2,470 sq. m unit at the former petrol station site, including an expansive 1,650 sq. m sales floor with almost 20 new jobs added to an existing team of over 20 employees.

In Bangor, a new supermarket is proposed at Skipperstone Road to the west of Bloomfield Road where its existing store is currently located. The site will see the new development of a brand new, state-of-the-art retail outlet complete with landscaping and new road access, providing an all-new and enhanced shopping experience for thousands of local weekly shoppers. It will create 20 new jobs, doubling its local workforce.

A new state-of-the-art store and café in Dungannon will also double its local team to 40 employees.

Lidl Northern Ireland Property Director, Chris Speers, said:

“Welcoming more than a half a million shoppers through our store network each week, we continue to prioritise delivering the best shopping experience for our customers. Alongside our ambitious expansion plans in the region, we are focused on upgrading our existing store network to bring older stores in line with our industry leading, sustainably focused ‘Concept’ design.

I am delighted to confirm new plans to relocate and upgrade our stores in Bangor, Craigavon and Dungannon, where we have served local communities for more than two decades. These proposed new stores are important for us, and we hope that new and existing customers are as excited as we are by our plans for significant local investment in our local communities.”

Celebrating 25 years of growth and expansion in the region later this year, Lidl Northern Ireland is investing millions of pounds in the development and growth of its 41-strong store network.

Lidl Northern Ireland was also recently granted planning for a new ‘Concept’ store in Coleraine on the site of its existing Riverside Retail Park outlet and work on a new supermarket retail unit at Carryduff Shopping Centre, anchoring a wider redevelopment, is already progressing.

Plans to replace its first store in Northern Ireland, in Cookstown, with a new £7 million retail unit, which will be home to an expanded team of 40, were submitted late last year and welcomed by local councillors at Mid Ulster District Council.

It also opened a flagship new £8 million store at Strabane Retail Park in December.

Ivan Ryan, Regional Managing Director at Lidl Northern Ireland, said:

“As we mark our landmark 25th year in Northern Ireland, we are firmly focused on expanding and enhancing our growing local store network. Since 2018, Lidl Northern Ireland has consistently been the region’s fastest-growing supermarket, so it’s clear to see that our established ‘Big on Quality, Lidl on Price’ proposition is resonating with even more shoppers.”

Earlier this year, Lidl Northern Ireland, confirmed a price drop for more than 500 products within its everyday range, further underscoring the retailer’s commitment to driving real value and to supporting local shoppers mitigating against cost-of-living impacts.

“Committed to providing the best quality produce at the best value, our goal is to make it easier for new and existing customers to access great local value and choice wherever they are. Our plans for upgraded new stores in Bangor, Craigavon and Dungannon will better meet the needs of a growing customer base in these areas and cements our long-term commitment to serving and investing in local communities.”

Public consultations on all three new stores get under way in the next few weeks in existing retail outlets. The first is in Dungannon on Monday 13 February from 4.30pm to 6.30pm, in Bangor on Tuesday 19 March at 4.30pm to 6.30pm and in Craigavon on Monday 8 April from 3pm to 6pm.

Lidl Northern Ireland, which employs more than 1,300 people across its 41-strong store network and regional distribution centre in Nutts Corner, is the region’s fastest-growing retail grocer, according to retail information company Kantar. It now holds a 9.1 percent market share in the region after seeing the strongest growth among all retailers, up 21.3 percent year-on-year.

 

ENDS…//


Galgorm Collection unveils groundbreaking new loyalty scheme in Northern Ireland: A new chapter in Luxurious Loyalty

Galgorm Rewards employs digital tech to elevate the guest experience into 2024 and beyond with an unrivalled rewards programme across its entire portfolio

Galgorm Collection, renowned for its legacy in luxury hospitality, has officially launched a new, groundbreaking loyalty initiative, Galgorm Rewards.

As the first of its kind for a Northern Irish independent hospitality group, this programme encompasses the Galgorm Collection portfolio; Galgorm, the Rabbit Hotel & Retreat, The Old Inn, and the esteemed Fratelli and Parisien restaurants in Belfast.

Creating endless opportunities to save, the new ‘Galgorm Rewards’ programme redefines guest experiences, creating a seamless and rewarding journey across all properties, enabling registered visitors and guests to unlock real value and new possibilities when they redeem their points for a variety of Galgorm Collection reward vouchers which they can use themselves.

Designed with simplicity in mind, the loyalty programme is complimentary to join, meaning every visit now comes with the added allure of earning points towards exclusive rewards. Guests can start to enjoy the benefits when they register, with 1 point gained for every £1 spent across any of its hotels or venues. Rewards span across all properties and can vary from either a pampering spa day to an exquisite dining experience, or a serene retreat.

Effective immediately, the new loyalty programme means visitors and guests can check their balance and redeem their Galgorm Rewards at any time. The App is available to download at the Apple App Store and through Google Play.

Elaine Kelly, Project and Systems Manager at Galgorm Collection, said, "At Galgorm Collection, we believe that every guest should be treated to a remarkable and memorable experience. Galgorm Rewards is our way of thanking our valued guests by adding an extra layer of joy to their visits. It's our gift—a token of appreciation for choosing us. The groundbreaking initiative is safe, simple and easy to use so that our guests can enjoy more of what they like most.

As the region’s first independent hotel group to introduce a digital loyalty reward scheme, our newest innovation underpins our reputation as a future-focused market leader committed to delivering hospitality excellence in every area.”

The new initiative marks the latest in a series of major milestones across the entire Galgorm Collection.

In December, Galgorm was named as the best UK Spa at the AA Hotel Spa awards, with its thermal village gaining the award due to its exceptional and exemplary spa standards and outstanding wellness experiences. It also won an unprecedented six awards at the prestigious 2023 World Luxury Awards hosted in Athens and secured the Best Destination Spa 2024 title at the recent Conde Nast Johansens Awards in London.

One of its newest properties, the Old Inn in Crawfordsburn, a historic landmark exuding timeless sophistication, became its latest venue to secure AA 4 Star Silver rating and a prestigious AA Rosette for Culinary Excellence. Since being acquired by Galgorm Collection in 2021, The Old Inn has already achieved a listing within Ireland’s Blue Book 2023 and was also named in the Irish Independent’s ‘FAB 50’ Top Stays in Ireland 2022.

“At Galgorm Collection, we listen to the needs of our guests and then innovate to ensure their experience is the best it can be – and there is plenty to enjoy,” Galgorm Collection Group Marketing Manager Victoria Brown said. “As we continue our focus on innovation, pushing the boundaries in loyalty and service, our new Galgorm Rewards programme marks an important milestone in our growth and in enhancing our guests’ overall experience every time."

Galgorm Collection also became the first hospitality group on the island of Ireland to achieve official ‘Great Place to Work’ certification, based on exceptional employee experience.

A major local employer, Galgorm Collection has dramatically scaled up its hospitality footprint and workforce over the last decade following a £90 million investment into the ongoing expansion and refurbishment of its flagship property Galgorm, with its latest investment project aiming to add new accommodation types and spa facilities by 2027.

Committed to working towards a sustainable future, protecting the environment, and reducing its carbon footprint through its Green Policy 10-Point Plan, Galgorm recently became the first hotel in Northern Ireland to achieve gold in two top sustainability accolades from Green Tourism in recognition of its “exceptional commitment to sustainable practices.”

For more information and to download the Galgorm Rewards App, visit: www.galgormrewards.com

ENDS…//


Galgorm announces new partnership with ELEMIS

Northern Ireland’s award-winning spa expands luxury skincare offering with global skin wellness brand.

Galgorm has announced an exciting partnership with ELEMIS, offering guests an extensive range of high-performance products and treatments exclusive to Galgorm’s spa.

As a leading luxury British skin wellness brand, ELEMIS is globally recognised for harnessing the power of natural ingredients and scientific innovation. Each ground-breaking formula is rigorously tested to ensure transformative results. ELEMIS maintains an unwavering focus on skin, body and wellness.

Selected for its synergy with the ethos of Galgorm’s internationally acclaimed spa facilities, this new partnership combines advanced, premium skincare products and treatments with highly skilled professional therapists in a unique and luxurious setting.

Noella Gabriel, Global President and Co-Founder, ELEMIS commented on the unique success of the brand and its new partnership with Galgorm:

“At ELEMIS, we know that healthy skin starts from within, and we are committed to unlocking the secrets of skin health. Our approach to skincare has always been results drive and wellness focused, backed by over 30 years of research and development. I am delighted to announce our new partnership with Galgorm, and I look forward to engaging with their renowned guests and customers with our range of products and treatments.

Tara Moore, Head of Spa Operations at Galgorm said:

“We are thrilled to partner with ELEMIS, it is a very fitting brand for us and will expand our already extensive range of advanced, premium skincare products and treatments. This new partnership underlines our commitment to staying at the forefront of the skincare industry so we can offer our guests the best and most effective skincare treatments in Northern Ireland.”

Galgorm’s internationally renowned retreat, has been widely commended for its sustained commitment to excellence and its outstanding achievement within the wider international luxury spa and wellness industry, adding a string of new awards to its growing collection.

It has been recognised recently by two global platforms, winning an unprecedented six awards at the prestigious 2023 World Luxury Awards, and securing the Best Destination Spa 2024 title at the recent Conde Nast Johansens Awards.

ELEMIS treatments and products are available for booking and purchase at the Galgorm from today. Visit www.galgorm.com/residents-spa-treatments.html for more information.


Marie-Thérèse McGivern appointed Chair of Visit Belfast

Former Belfast Met chief executive and Belfast City Council director of development Marie-Therese McGivern succeeds Kathryn Thomson

Marie-Thérèse McGivern has been appointed Chair of Visit Belfast, the city’s official destination marketing and management organisation.

The former Vice-Chair takes over from Kathryn Thomson, chief executive of National Museums NI, who was appointed to the role in October 2020. Kathry will continue to serve as a member of the organisation’s 15-strong Board of directors.

Confirmation of the appointment was made at Visit Belfast’s annual general meeting at the city’s Europa Hotel, where delegates were updated on its continued progress in delivering the objectives set within its three-year Rebuilding Tourism Strategy – introduced in 2021 to support the city’s post-pandemic recovery.

Commenting on her appointment, Marie-Thérèse McGivern said:

“A key pillar of our city and regional economy, tourism is a significant source of employment in Belfast – supporting around 20,000 jobs – and 50,000 more across Northern Ireland. It’s a catalyst for millions of pounds of investment, in building links, networks and opportunities for business, driving growth in hospitality and retail, in promoting Belfast on a global stage, supporting local culture, arts and heritage and promoting, driving and leading in sustainability.

“Taken together, these highlight the important contribution that tourism makes to Belfast and Northern economy and wider society – and how tourism is a force of good that supports all areas of our economic and social life. Building on the outstanding work of the Board under Kathryn’s lead, this year as we begin a new chapter, is an opportune and exciting moment to take up this important, leading position.”

Marie-Thérèse recently served as Principal and Chief Executive of Belfast Metropolitan College. Prior to that, she was Director of Development at Belfast City Council where she was responsible for economic development, arts, tourism, events and community services. She is Chair of Maritime Belfast and also Chair for the Employability and Skills Advisory Board for the £10 billion Belfast Region City Deal. She is a Non-Executive Director of the Strategic Investment Board for Northern Ireland and for Northern Ireland Water.

Visit Belfast chief executive, Gerry Lennon, said:

“I would like to thank Kathryn for the work, dedication and leadership during what has been a period of unprecedented challenge and uncertainty and warmly congratulate Marie-Thérèse on her appointment.

“Tourism growth and recovery continues apace and though challenges remain, I’m confident that Visit Belfast will benefit greatly from Marie-Thérèse’s vast experience, leadership and expertise to further strengthen tourism’s growing economic impact for Belfast and the City Region.”

The AGM heard that Visit Belfast was on track to deliver more than £300 million to the local economy in the three years to 2024 through its sales, marketing and visitor servicing activity – an investment return of more than £30 for every £1 invested, including an on-track and increased target of £125 million for our current 2023-24 year.

Funded and supported by Belfast City Council, Tourism Northern Ireland, Tourism Ireland, Invest NI, Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, Ards and North Down Borough Council, Visit Belfast’s strategic partners include Translink, Diageo Ireland, Belfast Harbour, Queen’s Arcade and Value Cabs. Its corporate partners include ICC Belfast, Titanic Belfast, Hastings Hotels, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens and the Irish Football Association.

Visit Belfast represents 500 tourism businesses and services across the industry including accommodation providers, attractions, conference venues and services, tour operators, transport providers, entertainment venues, restaurants and cafes, pubs and clubs and event organisers; and provides an extensive range of marketing platforms for tourism businesses to promote their products and services to travel trade, cruise, business and leisure customers.


Lidl Northern Ireland’s new £8m Strabane store opens 7 December

‘Wee man from Strabane’ Hugo Duncan steps up to the plate to celebrate Lidl Northern Ireland’s newest store opening and plans for further local investment

Lidl Northern Ireland will mark a key milestone in Strabane next week when it opens the new £8 million future-focused flagship store at Strabane Retail Park that will anchor its wider multimillion-pound investment plans for the site.

Backed by popular local broadcaster and singer Hugo Duncan, who will join Lidl Northern Ireland’s local teams to kick off the official opening celebrations on Thursday 7 December, the new store forms part of Lidl Northern Ireland’s longstanding commitment to drive a £26 million investment in the Northwest, create new jobs and support more local suppliers.

Its new store at Branch Road will also act as a catalyst for the wider regeneration of Strabane Retail Park – a key component in advancing its vision and plans for the site while bringing even more quality, value and choice for local shoppers in a bright, modern ‘Concept’ building that prioritises sustainability.

Construction of the new sustainable, solar-powered store got underway earlier this year and supported over 150 jobs during the development phase. The store sits within a site of around 2,100 sq. metres and boasts a giant-sized sales floor of 1,420 sq. metres.

Lidl Northern Ireland Regional Managing Director Ivan Ryan said:
“Our newest store in Strabane underscores our commitment to our customers, our employees and the whole community to deliver even greater choice and real value while continuing to strategically invest for the future, unlock growth and drive potential. 

“We’re excited to be further expanding our ‘Big on Quality, Lidl on Price’ offering and we’d like to thank everyone for continuing to support us in our plans. We look forward to welcoming our customers to our new state-of-the-art store from 7th December to discover our award-winning range at best-value prices as the countdown to Christmas gets under way.”

The new Strabane store reflects Lidl Northern Ireland’s bright, modern and spacious design concept, incorporating wider aisles, long tills, restrooms and baby-changing facilities as well as an in-store bakery and redeveloped parking for 130 vehicles.

The launch event will include an appearance from Hugo Duncan and his band Country Harmony, which will officially open the store and welcome the first customers through the door. The new Lidl Northern Ireland store at Strabane Retail Park will open on Thursday 7 December at 8am.

Speaking ahead of the official opening, Hugo Duncan, one of Northern Ireland’s most popular broadcasters and entertainers, said:

“To be involved in the opening of the new Lidl Strabane store is an honour for me, Strabane is my hometown, where I was born and bred. The new store is a great addition to the local area, with a fantastic range of high-quality products at great value. I’m looking forward to getting in myself to grab some opening day deals for the weekly shop on Thursday 7 December.”

Earlier this year, Lidl Northern Ireland confirmed it had ploughed a record £4 million into the Derry City and Strabane District Council agri-food sector in the last financial year ending February 2023. It also employs more than 70 people across two stores in area.

The new store opening is part of Lidl Northern Ireland’s long-term plan to grow its store network to 50 by 2030 and bring its ‘Big on Quality, Lidl on Price’ proposition to more shoppers across the region.

Confirmed as Northern Ireland’s fastest-growing supermarket by Kantar, Lidl Northern Ireland now holds 9.2% market share in the region after seeing the strongest growth amongst all retailers, up 25.7% year-on-year.

The company employs more than 1,300 employees across its 41-strong store network and Regional Distribution Centre in Nutt’s Corner, Co. Antrim.

For more information visit www.lidl-ni.co.uk


Lookers reveals all-new Nissan dealership in Sunderland after £1.8m investment

Lookers locates newest Nissan franchise in Sunderland, the official home of Nissan in the UK

One of the UK’s leading automotive retail and service groups, Lookers, has officially opened a new Nissan dealership in Sunderland following an extensive £1.8 million transformation of its former Ford site on Newcastle Road.

Around 35 staff are now employed at Lookers’ newest franchise location.

Sunderland is the official home of Nissan in the UK, where more than 6,000 people are locally employed to accelerate the Japanese car giant’s plans to create a major electric vehicle manufacturing hub to support its UK and European growth ambitions.

Lookers’ new state-of-the-art Nissan franchised dealership has now been spectacularly transformed to exacting Nissan specifications, incorporating a spectacular 12-car showroom, customer lounge areas, extensive EV charging points, new workshops and a handover bay – all carefully designed to provide local customers with a premier retail and aftersales experience.

The new Lookers Nissan dealership at 8 Newcastle Road is instantly recognisable following the installation of the striking new Nissan logo signage – the brand’s first style change in more than two decades to reflect its rich heritage and digital future.

The expansive 27,000 sq. ft purpose-built showroom now showcases a wide range of new Nissan models, including the new all-electric Nissan ARIYA, featuring cutting-edge design and powerful electric mobility, the Juke Hybrid and the British-built Qashqai – officially the UK’s most popular new car last year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Welcoming Lookers’ latest investment in Sunderland and in the Nissan brand, Lookers’ Franchise Director, Robert Dier, said:

“Sunderland is once again the beating heart of Nissan’s UK manufacturing operations and we’re absolutely delighted to be investing locally in a new state-of-the-art Nissan dealership in an incredible city where everyone can experience this outstanding car brand’s style, innovation and focus on sustainable driving in an exemplar retail environment that customers will love.

“A stunning showcase for Nissan’s newest models which incorporates a wide range of used models and on-site servicing and MOTs, and supported by a passionate, knowledgeable and experience team, Lookers Nissan Sunderland puts local customers first.”

Sunderland forms part of a major multimillion-pound investment programme by Lookers in the fast-growing, innovation-focused Nissan marque in the UK and Ireland.

Lookers is currently creating a new £3.25 million dealership at Portland Road in Newcastle which is on track to open in 2024. Earlier this year, Lookers also opened the doors on a new £1 million dealership in nearby Gateshead following similar transformations in Chester and Carlisle in 2022.

Lookers’ Chief Operating Officer, Duncan McPhee, said the new dealership in Sunderland builds on its solid, strengthening ties with the Nissan brand.“Nissan is consistently top of the charts among UK customers seeking value, style, reliability and the latest technology to improve their driving experience, their daily commute or juggling family life, so it’s no surprise that we’re continuing to invest in Nissan to ensure we can offer customers the best retail experience.

“Committed to being the UK’s number one choice for all-electric driving, Lookers is delighted to be strengthening our partnership and we look forward to welcoming customers to our newest franchise dealership at Lookers Nissan Sunderland in the weeks and months ahead.”

In June this year, Nissan Sunderland’s manufacturing hub become the fastest UK car manufacturer to reach 11 million vehicles, confirming its status as the UK’s largest car manufacturer by volume with around five million parts arriving at the plant per day. Currently, Nissan produces thousands of popular Qashqai, Juke and LEAF models every week.

Grant Richards, National Network Development Manager at Nissan, said:

‘‘This new showroom in Sunderland is truly spectacular and showcases our cars in exactly the right way. The workshop facilities are equally impressive. We’re delighted with Lookers’ investment in our brand, and we look forward to a bright future together.

‘‘We know that there will be a warm welcome at Lookers Nissan Sunderland for everyone and we send the team at the dealership every good wish for the future.’’

Last month, Nissan and its partners announced a £2 billion plan to build three electric car models at its Sunderland factory. The Japanese firm will build electric Qashqai and Juke models at the plant alongside the next generation of the electric Leaf, which is already produced there.


Lidl Northern Ireland confirms plans for new £8m Cookstown store

Lidl Northern Ireland submits full planning approval for new, relocated Cookstown store, replacing its first outlet to open on the island of Ireland

Lidl Northern Ireland today confirmed plans to build a new, state-of-the-art supermarket in Cookstown as part of a £8 million planned investment, creating 18 additional jobs in the town and expanding its existing retail team to 40 employees.

Around 200 jobs will be supported during the construction and development phases ahead of its opening next year.

A full planning application has been lodged with Mid Ulster District council following a successful and extensive community consultation in August, held within its existing store at Station Square, outlining its plans to completely replace and relocate to a new location at Orritor Road.

The current store at Station Square was Lidl Northern Ireland’s first in the region and the first store to be built on the island of Ireland in 1999. Confirmation of its plans for a new store in Cookstown comes as the retailer prepares to mark its 25th anniversary in Northern Ireland next year.

As the region’s fastest-growing supermarket retailer, Lidl Northern Ireland’s new investment in Cookstown marks the latest in a series of store developments and expansion of its local retail estate, where it operates a network of 41 stores.

The new Cookstown store will include an enlarged 1,670 sq. m sales floor within the new 2,475 sq. m building, incorporating wider aisles, an instore bakery, toilets, baby-changing facilities and employee areas built to exacting standards with sustainability at the fore.

Welcoming the announcement, Ivan Ryan, Lidl Northern Ireland’s Regional Managing Director, said:

“We’re thrilled to progress plans to create a new state-of-the-art store for the residents of Cookstown, providing the local community and beyond with even more access to high quality products at best-value prices.

Our Cookstown store – the first to be built on the island of Ireland in 1999 – was one of the stores where I completed my initial training many years ago so I’m delighted that our exciting plans to invest £8 million in the development of a new retail facility in the town will become a reality in my tenure as Regional Managing Director.

In a prime and convenient new location on the bustling Orritor Road, with modern facilities, our new Cookstown store will provide our growing number of customers with a premier shopping experience.

It’s poignant and fitting that plans are progressing to prepare to break ground on this project in 2024, our 25th anniversary year. This is a special project for us, and we’re excited to deliver this new Concept store to a very deserving community whilst also creating new jobs for the local area.”

We are delighted to now lodge a full planning proposal, backed by local residents and stakeholders, to deliver this significant project.”

Lidl Northern Ireland is currently preparing to open a new store in Strabane in early December and last month secured planning consent from Causeway Coast and Glens council to replace its Coleraine store with a new outlet at Riverside Retail Park.

The Coleraine project will see a vacant unit demolished to make way for the new 2,475 sq. m Lidl store, supporting around 35 jobs.

Lidl Northern Ireland also starts work this month on creating a new, modern ‘Concept’ design store as part of a wider £10 million investment in Carryduff Shopping Centre which will open next year.

It currently has plans to extend its network to 50 by the end of the decade.

Earlier this year, Lidl Northern Ireland revealed that it spent a record £455 million in the local agri-food sector, sourcing its supplies from around 60 producers in the region – the lion’s share, or £390 million of which, was exported to stores across the UK, Ireland and Europe.

Recent new supplier additions include Holmes Bakery in Portadown, Enniskillen-based artisan condiment supplier Erne Larder and apple producers Natural Umber, based in nearby Dungannon.


Lookers adds £2.5m investment to new Volvo site in Colchester

Lookers, one of the UK’s leading automotive retail and service groups, confirmed today it is investing £2.5 million to create a new state-of-the-art dealership at a new site in Colchester which will open before the end of the year.

Lookers said it is relocating to Wyncolls Road in Severalls Business Park in Colchester from its existing Volvo site in Cowdray Avenue to develop a new standout dealership for the area. The new site was previously occupied by Underwoods Skoda until March this year and Lookers will remain open for business at Cowdray Avenue until the new dealership is completed.

It is currently investing £2.3 million refurbishing its established franchised Volvo dealership at Baynes Place in Chelmsford which is also due to open in less than two months’ time.

Earlier this year, Lookers announced that it had acquired Waterhouse Cars Volvo, reflecting its confidence in the brand and its growing suite of new and used models and focus on all-electric driving.

The new Volvo showroom in Colchester will feature Volvo’s signature lounge area, complete with luxurious Scandinavian furniture in a spacious environment where customers can relax with free Wi-Fi in an enhanced hospitality experience.

Designed for a sustainable future and incorporating a wide range of eco-friendly features, Lookers new Volvo dealership will also include a suite of eight EV charges, solar panels in a contemporary building housing the latest range of stunning Volvo cars, including the pure electric XC40 and plug-in hybrids, as well as a wide range of Volvo Selekt Approved Used models.

Lookers Volvo will also offer a streamlined service to car owners which halves waiting times.

Lookers franchise director, David Cooper, said:

“Committed to investing in delivering an exceptional experience for our customers, we’re looking forward to showcasing our new and exciting Volvo dealerships in Chelmsford and Colchester which will mark a new milestone for our growth across Essex, in our staff and in our local communities.”

Lookers’ Volvo portfolio now includes five UK sites, alongside Colchester, Stockport and Glasgow in addition to Polestar Spaces and aftersales businesses in Manchester and Glasgow.

Duncan McPhee, Lookers’ Chief Operating Officer, said:

“Already well established in Colchester, Lookers is delighted to be further investing in Volvo in an exciting new location in the city that will deliver an outstanding customer experience for visitors right across Essex and beyond. It underlines our commitment to our strengthening relationship with Volvo and our determination to be the UK’s number one choice for all-electric driving, advice and aftersales service.”


Terry Bradley shines spotlight on young talent with Bradley Art Prize competition

Radius Connect Solutions backs major Northern Ireland initiative designed to inspire young artistic careers

Renowned artist Terry Bradley has launched the 2024 Bradley Art Prize giving hundreds of budding young artists a new chance to showcase their work in Belfast and Brussels and win a share in a total prize pot worth £4,000 for themselves and their school or college.

Following unprecedented success last year and specifically designed to help inspire a new generation of artistic careers, the Bradley Art Prize is officially back with a bang, supported by leading local IT and telecoms solutions provider Radius Connect for its second year.

The competition, which will run across the current academic year is open for entries now, with the deadline for submissions closing on 31st March 2024.

Open to young people across two age categories, from 14 to 18 and from 19 to 23 years, the winners of each category will be chosen by Terry Bradley and an esteemed group of judges.

The winners will also have their work framed and proudly displayed within the prestigious Bradley Gallery in Victoria Square for a week-long exhibition, including a launch night for friends and family. The winners will also have their artwork showcased internationally at the Northern Ireland Executive Office in Brussels’ European Quarter.

Schools and colleges affiliated with each of the two winners will also receive art materials to help encourage more young people to consider turning their love of art into a long-term career.

This year, in the older 19-23 age group category, Holly-Mae Greer, a First-Class Honours graduate in Fine Art and part-time care worker in Newtownards, was confirmed the winner for her contemporary ‘Noodle Bar’ canvas. Holly-Mae was also confirmed as the overall Bradley Art Prize winner and was commissioned to create a bespoke piece of artwork for Titanic Belfast. In the younger 14-18 category, Sophie Hewitt, from Friends School in Lisburn, was confirmed as winner for her detailed painting ‘Jenny’.

Holly-Mae, who won in the older category straight after leaving university, said:

“Winning the prize has definitely been a real confidence boost and has given me the motivation to do more. One of the hardest things about being an artist is getting people to see your work and to get a platform like that is amazing. Being a local artist, Terry has inspired me to believe that if you work hard, it’s possible to do art full-time and reach a global audience.”

Holly-Mae’s work is influenced by the likes of Edward Hopper, Edouard Manet, Michael Borremans and Caravaggio.