Vehicle Vision Marks Industry-first in Smart Communications Platform Launch


Vehicle Vision has launched the new “Assist” application which will enable convenient, smart and safe interaction between motorists and dealerships in all areas of automotive services. The founders of the new smart communications platform, the first of its kind for the automotive industry, have said it will have a transformative impact on the customer-dealership relationship.

Since 2010, Vehicle Vision has specialised in delivering industry-leading video systems for the aftersales and sales automotive retail environments. Its ongoing product development, training and support is centred on empowering dealerships and customers to get the best possible experience and interaction through use of video.

The new platform will allow customers to send video footage of their vehicle to dealerships for the purposes of diagnosis, repair quotations or exchange valuations, reducing the time customers have to physically spend in the showroom or workshop. In addition, Assist means that dealerships can confidently and accurately assess the condition and part-exchange price of a vehicle before it even enters the premises.

The technology requires no downloads or training by the customer and the mobile-friendly browser and interface will ensure an intuitive and easy-to-use experience. Customers are sent a link by their dealership which allows them to automatically access the platform from the comfort of their own home.

Shoppers Bag a Festive Feast for Free with Lidl Northern Ireland’s Trolley Dash


Festive fever swept the country on Saturday 12th December as Lidl Northern Ireland shoppers went wild in the aisles for the supermarket’s annual Trolley Dash fundraiser, bagging their Christmas shop and a host of festive treats for free, all to raise vital funds for NSPCC Northern Ireland.

40 lucky shoppers (one for every Lidl store in Northern Ireland) were selected to take part in the dash following a two week period of in-store ticket sales and raced against the clock to bag as much of their Christmas food shop for free as they could in just two minutes.

From cheese to chutney, panettone to profiteroles and mince pies to meringues, trollies were brimming with festive delights for shoppers to feast on this Christmas.

Now in its sixth year, the Trolley Dash initiative raised a staggering £100,000 for charity partner, NSPCC Northern Ireland, whose mission is to fight for every childhood. Operating three Service Centres in Belfast, Foyle and Craigavon and two Childline bases in Belfast and Foyle, NSPCC Northern Ireland supports children right across the region.

Portadown’s High Street Mall set for new Lidl Northern Ireland early next year


Portadown is on track for a major new retail investment after Lidl Northern Ireland confirmed its brand new £6 million store will open at High Street Mall in Spring 2021, creating 20 permanent new jobs and supporting up to 100 more through the planning and construction phases.

The new Lidl Northern Ireland store is in addition to a £4 million transformational investment and re-development of the popular town centre shopping destination which will also include a new layout, enhanced parking, greater town centre access and a new central plaza.

Northern Ireland’s fastest-growing supermarket said its plans for Portadown were part of a continued investment in the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon area and right across the region. It already has stores in Armagh, Craigavon, Banbridge and Lurgan (and Portadown).

Planning was granted for the new development by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council last year.

Lidl Northern Ireland is already a major direct and indirect local investor. In 2018, as part of an independent economic assessment, it confirmed that it sourced more than £100 million of local food produce for export from the borough – twice that of any other borough in Northern Ireland – while also being among one of its largest employers.

Lidl Northern Ireland celebrates milestone 40th store opening in Holywood Exchange Retail Park


Lidl Northern Ireland officially opened the doors of its brand-new store in Holywood Exchange Retail Park, creating 30 new local jobs and marking the retailer’s 40th store since establishing in Northern Ireland in 1999.

The store was opened on Thursday by representatives from local sporting club, Queens Gymnastics, who officially cut the ribbon and welcomed customers to the new store. Based in Queens Leisure Complex in Holywood, the gymnastics club were named winners of Lidl Northern Ireland’s Sport for Good competition last year and received a £4,000 boost from the retailer to support the club.

The Holywood Exchange store represents an investment of £3 million and creates 30 new jobs for the local area. Occupying a 1,400 sq metre sales floor and a total internal area of 2,050 square metres, the new store boasts a high-quality shopping environment with more space, wider aisles, longer tills, restrooms and baby-changing facilities.

Customers can also avail of a new ‘Lidl-to-Go’ coffee machine and a larger bakery area offering a wider range of freshly baked goods. The store also includes improved facilities for store staff such as a larger canteen, welfare area and shower facilities.

Holywood Exchange occupies a landmark position around three miles east of Belfast City Centre and eight miles from Bangor and is situated close to the town of Holywood. The site is also located at the primary gateway into Belfast Harbour Estate.

With a strong local road network and extensive parking of around 700 spaces in an established, growing retail location, the retail park is already home to Harvey Norman, Next Home, Decathlon, EZ Living Interiors, Costa Coffee and Subway, and is located next to Northern Ireland’s only IKEA store.

Shelbourne Motors puts connectivity first in major new investment


One of Northern Ireland’s largest motor retail groups, Shelbourne Motors, has overhauled its communications network as part of a new digital investment designed to drive greater connectivity across its operations.

Last year, the long-established family firm opened a new, state-of-the-art £5 million multi-franchise complex in Newry, adding Renault, Dacia and Kia retail outlets to its citywide business.

In a next-stage development, the Newry and Portadown-based company has now completed a significant overhaul of its telecommunications network by introducing the latest Cloud-based technology to enhance all phone and digital services for customers, staff and suppliers.

The work was carried out by Northern Ireland’s leading independent telecommunications and IT company, Rainbow Communications, which installed a new internet-based telephony system, including a new, dedicated leased line which ensures that all internet traffic can travel uninterrupted and securely between sites.

Founded in 1973 and recognised as one of the most progressive, growing car dealer groups in Northern Ireland, Shelbourne Motors is an award-winning company, employing more than 130 staff across outlets in Newry and Portadown. In addition to representing top global car brands including Toyota and Nissan, the company also operates an industry-leading, purpose-built used car supermarket, Autoselect, a rental division, body repair shop and valet centre.

Lidl Northern Ireland pledges £32 million local investment and support of more than 1,000 jobs in the development of five new stores


Lidl Northern Ireland today revealed plans to invest more than £32 million in five brand new state-of-the-art stores across the Belfast City Region that will directly create 100 new permanent jobs with the retailer and support up to 1,000 jobs in the locality during the development and construction phases.


The region’s fastest-growing supermarket said the investment drive was part of a long-term plan to grow Lidl’s store network to 50 stores in Northern Ireland and provide a multi-million-pound boost for the region in order to bring its high quality offering and low prices to more shoppers in the Belfast city area.


An independent review of its operations published by Oxford Economics last year showed that Lidl Northern Ireland already contributes around £180 million annually to the local economy and sustains more than 3,500 jobs.


The line-up of new stores will include locations in Castlereagh Road, Hillview Retail Park on Crumlin Road, Boucher Road, Holywood Exchange and Shore Road.


The state-of-the-art stores will each be around 2,100 square meters in size and are designed in line with Lidl Northern Ireland’s new ‘concept’ approach featuring a larger, modern and spacious fit-out with a significant emphasis on sustainability and energy efficiency.

Lidl Customers Given Chance to Bag their Christmas Shop for Just £1 as Trolley Dash Returns in aid of NSPCC Northern Ireland


This Christmas season is set to be one like no other, and this year Lidl Northern Ireland is hoping to brighten spirits (and budgets) by giving shoppers the chance to win their entire Christmas shop for just £1 by purchasing a ticket to the retailer’s annual Trolley Dash in aid of charity partner, NSPCC Northern Ireland. Tickets will go on sale on Monday 16th November across all 40 stores nationwide for two weeks only.


Winners will be challenged to a ‘Supermarket Sweep’ style dash around their local Lidl store to grab as much of their Christmas shopping as possible in just two minutes. 100% of the proceeds from the ticket sales will be donated to Lidl Northern Ireland’s charity partner, NSPCC, whose mission is to fight for every childhood. Operating three service centres in Belfast, Foyle and Craigavon and two Childline bases in Belfast and Foyle, NSPCC Northern Ireland supports children right across the region and works to prevent abuse, help rebuild children’s lives and support families.

From Downpatrick to Derry, every Lidl store across Northern Ireland will pick one winner at random to complete a dash in their store and, with previous dashes valued well into the hundreds, customers are encouraged to get into stores from Monday to secure their entry. Tickets will be sold at Lidl Northern Ireland checkouts nationwide and shoppers can purchase as many tickets as they wish in support of NSPCC Northern Ireland.

Rainbow Communications marks a decade at the top for mobile growth


Northern Ireland’s largest independent telecoms company, Rainbow Communications, is this week celebrating a full 10 years of growth delivering mobile telephony and data services to thousands of local companies.

Established in 1998, the company, which has 100-strong team operating across Northern Ireland, this month celebrates a new milestone in its history by marking 10 years since it first moved into mobile communications.

Since August 2010, it has supplied more than 10,000 smartphones on all major networks including EE, O2 and Vodafone on tailored contract terms from one month and longer with the support of a dedicated local customer team.

As part of its own innovation and growth in this area, Rainbow Communications is launching its own-branded mobile service which access all major networks backed by a strong local customer service team and one simple, transparent monthly bill.

Let’s Eat Out to Help Out Our Belfast’s City Centre Hospitality Businesses


As the UK Government’s 4-week initiative ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ gets underway, Belfast’s first citizen, Lord Mayor Alderman Frank McCoubrey was doing just that.

The Lord Mayor was joined for lunch at Mourne Seafood Bar, one of over 100 participating city restaurants, by Gerry Lennon (Visit Belfast), Stephen Mewha (Belfast One), Chris McCracken (Linen Quarter) and Paul McErlean (Destination CQ).

Visit Belfast, in partnership with Belfast One, Linen Quarter and Destination CQ have implemented a marketing campaign to promote eating out in Belfast in support of city centre businesses. The initiative is aimed at encouraging people across the UK and Northern Ireland to dine out Monday to Wednesday and receive 50% off their bill (up to £10 per head) from 3 to 31 August. The partnership marketing campaign is designed to drive footfall back into Belfast City Centre.

FE McWilliam Gallery & Studio reopens today


FE McWilliam Gallery and Studio reopened in Banbridge today (Wednesday July 29) and is safely welcoming back visitors to enjoy its award-winning permanent display of McWilliam’s work, outstanding exhibitions, craft shop, gardens, food and drink.

Dedicated to the memory of local sculptor Frederick Edward McWilliam, one of Ireland’s most influential and successful artists, the free-to-visit gallery and studio, which has been closed since March, will be open Monday to Saturday 10am to 4pm.

Described by the Irish Times as one of the island’s ‘hidden gems’ and a “remarkable” facility, top travel expert Pól Ó Conghaile at the Irish Independent has also described the gallery and studio as a ‘hidden gem’ while heaping praise on its award-winning restaurant, Quail’s.

The FE McWilliam Gallery and Studio was established in 2008, two decades after the sculptor’s death, to house works his family bequeathed to the people of Banbridge, including the contents of his studio, a replica of which sits in the garden.

The son of a local doctor, McWilliam was born in the town in 1909 and his work spans most of the major artistic movements of the 20th century.

Featuring a permanent display of McWilliam’s work, temporary exhibitions of Irish and international art, a craft shop, café and Banbridge Visitor Information Point, the FE McWilliam Gallery and Studio is popular among visitors from across the island.