Lidl Northern Ireland Harvests New Crop of Home-Grown Artisan Producers


Lidl Northern Ireland is serving up a real taste of home this summer by adding a brand new range of home-grown products from artisan food and drink producers across Northern Ireland.

Showcasing the best of Northern Irish produce, the selected products will be available across all 202 Lidl stores on the island of Ireland as part of the retailer’s ‘Kick Start’ local supplier development programme.

The new products, which include succulent smoked meats, award-winning apple cider vinegar, hearty meat pies, healthy ready meals and premium Irish gin will hit shelves on Thursday 30th July and will be available for a limited time.

Now in its third year, the Lidl Kick Start Programme is designed to help small and medium size local food and drink producers grow their brand, build their supply network and reach new customer audiences with the potential to open up new export opportunities. Previous Kick Start success stories include Noisy Snacks based in Newtownards, Copeland Spirits distilled in Donaghadee and Refuge Hot Chocolate brewed in Belfast as well as many more.

Hop to it… The Rabbit Bar & Restaurant Opens with Enchanting New Dining Experience


Galgorm Collection has officially revealed the name of its new-look boutique hotel, ‘The Rabbit’, formerly known as the Templeton, and announced the opening of its brand new Rabbit Bar & Restaurant on Friday 17th July.

Burrowed in the heart of the picturesque village of Templepatrick, Co Antrim, The Rabbit Bar and Restaurant exudes sass, with a chic interior, bespoke lighting and eclectic décor for an unforgettable dining experience. Taking centre stage is The Rabbit’s show-stopping bar, adorned with glistening bronze, where expert mixologists shake up the finest libations.

With a menu inspired by the American Deep South, featuring seasonal, local produce and the finest cuts of meat, The Rabbit is the perfect den for couples, friends and families to escape, with a menu designed for sharing.

The Rabbit Bar & Restaurant seats up to 180 and boasts a large outdoor terrace for al fresco dining, offering stunning views of the property’s newly installed garden.

Galgorm Collection acquired the former Templeton Hotel last year and is currently undergoing a £7 million investment. Extensive refurbishment work has been undertaken to upgrade the hotel’s 24 guest rooms and develop a new outdoor spa offering, due to open later this year. The Rabbit Bar & Restaurant refurbishment represents an investment of £2.5 million into the property.

Greenisland Flowers in full bloom after securing new supply deal with Lidl Northern Ireland


Top Northern Ireland horticulturalist Greenisland Flowers is blooming today after securing a new supply deal with Lidl Northern Ireland to ship more than four million stems of freshly cut tulips, lilies and scented stocks to its 202 stores in Ireland and Northern Ireland

With over 40 employees, the Portadown-based company which has two sites across six hectares in Craigavon has been growing retail-ready fresh flowers for over 18 years and this latest contract will take its longstanding relationship with Lidl Northern Ireland up to 2022.

Its partnership with Northern Ireland’s fastest-growing supermarket goes back to 2012 when it started supplying stems to its growing regional store base. Since establishing in 2002, producing just 250,000 stems, the company has grown its operations to this year supply more than four million stems to the retailer.

Belfast Chamber and Ardmore to host free resilience workshop for businesses


Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce has joined forces with leading integrated communications agency, Ardmore, to deliver an online workshop featuring one of the most powerful global influencers in the retail industry, Cate Trotter, aimed at helping local firms claw their way back to recovery post Covid-19.

The free webinar, “Understanding Your Customer in a Post-Lockdown World”, takes place on Thursday 2 July at 5pm and will deliver new insights, practical solutions and advice to aid new growth and a more sustainable future for businesses right across Northern Ireland.

A respected expert in retail, current trends and technology, Cate Trotter has helped major brands such as Facebook, Nike, Chanel, Samsung, Mercedes-Benz, Levi’s and EE power their way through change and new innovations and will be bringing her expertise to Belfast as part of this major business support event.

Hosted by Belfast Chamber chief executive, Simon Hamilton, the panel includes Ardmore’s top marketing and creative strategists Paul Bowen, Ed Henderson, Paul James and Alison O’Neill to help guide businesses through the challenges ahead.

Northern Ireland’s FE colleges launch new drive to promote business recovery through part-time learning


All six of Northern Ireland’s Further Education colleges have launched a major drive to help put part-time learning, skills, and business support at the heart of economic economy.

Located in all key economic centres across Northern Ireland, including Belfast, Londonderry, Newry, Bangor, Ballymena and Enniskillen, the six colleges employ more than 5,200 staff, support over 78,000 part-time students and provide business mentoring and services to over 10,000 businesses including Terex, Ryobi, Microsoft, Selective Travel and First Derivatives.

Last year, more than 78,700 students of all ages were enrolled on more than 1,660 part-time courses and training programmes across the region, as well as a range of accessible Higher Education options.

Now, as part of a new drive that helps to put the Northern Ireland FE sector at the forefront of the post Covid-19 recovery, the colleges have come together to launch a major campaign to raise awareness of the wide range of quality part-time and online learning opportunities available to support people and businesses rebound from the crisis.

Rushmere Shopping Centre & Retail Park plans drive-in movie weekend as retail prepares to rev up in June


Rushmere Shopping Centre and Retail Park said today it expects a significant increase in the number of shops reopening this month following the government’s announcement that non-essential retail outlets could reopen from June 8.

One of Northern Ireland’s largest retail destinations, Rushmere said it was also planning a drive-in family movie weekend later this month as part of a series of new initiatives to welcome customers safely back. Further details will be announced on its social media channels later this week.

The centre has remained open for retailers of essential items such as food, pharmacy and pet supplies since March, with Sainsbury’s, Iceland, Home Bargains, Boots, Specsavers, Holland & Barrett, Post Office, B&M Bargains, Pets at Home and Pound Stretcher all remaining open. Homebase reopened earlier this month.

Lidl Northern Ireland strikes £24m supply contract with Fermanagh’s Crust & Crumb


Lidl Northern Ireland has awarded Fermanagh’s Crust & Crumb, the island of Ireland’s largest manufacturer of ambient, chilled and frozen dough-based products, an annual contract worth an estimated £24 million to supply an expanded line of pizza products across more than 1,000 UK and Ireland stores.

Based in Derrylin, Fermanagh, Crust & Crumb employs more than 300 staff and has been a preferred long-term supplier to Lidl Northern Ireland since 2013.

The new, dramatically-expanded Lidl Northern Ireland supply contract will see the leading local bakery supply 20 varieties of Deluxe range sourdough pizza, selected for its premium quality and craft ranges, six Chef Select pizza lines chosen for its supreme taste range, and two flavours of its Simply pizza value range – something to cater to every shoppers’ budget.

Visit Belfast puts the City on the Digital Map for Audiences at Home and Away


Belfast’s tourism appeal is reaching the homes of millions of people both near and far, thanks to a range of targeted digital activity aimed at keeping online users regularly engaged.

As travel restrictions continue to impact on the global tourism industry, destination marketing organisations around the world – including Visit Belfast – have moved quickly to capitalise on the big leap in the number of consumers who are spending significantly more time online and on social media to fill their time.

The move by Belfast’s official destination marketing and management organisation is part of a number of measures designed to support local tourism businesses and to keep Belfast front-of-mind for those planning future visits when the time is right. For now, Visit Belfast’s aim is to encourage people to stay safe and stay home.

Capturing a significant uplift in online activity and social media engagement as people spend more time online, Visit Belfast has worked quickly to maintain brand awareness, sustain interest, loyalty and trust.

As a result, its reach and engagement has been growing strongly in recent weeks, reflecting the 40% jump in social media use across the UK*.

Last year, Visit Belfast reached a local and global audience of 27.3 million online users, demonstrating the power of web and social media channels in promoting the city to both local and international audiences.

New NI campaign launched to encourage more people to ‘Make It Click’ online


A new campaign was launched today to provide people across Northern Ireland with the tools to upskill their digital abilities and improve online confidence as thousands of people turn to the internet to help navigate the COVID-19 crisis whilst tackling isolation at home.

New independent research commissioned by leading UK charity Good Things Foundation reveals a worrying gap in digital skills and confidence levels across Northern Ireland. More than one in ten people in Northern Ireland (14.2%) have little or only some of the digital skills they need to experience the benefits of being online.

Backed by, the charitable arm of the global tech company, and driven by Good Things Foundation, the new ‘Make It Click’ campaign aims to help adults understand how digital skills can change their life.

Through a curated collection of free tools and resources available online, Make It Click will help to upskill users with only limited digital skills to gain the knowledge and confidence they need to thrive online.

The campaign is particularly pertinent for people currently self-isolating, with many relying on the internet to keep working from home as well as for everyday necessities such as food shopping, ordering prescriptions and staying in touch with family and friends.

The new research also reveals the stark impacts of living life offline – many respondents felt socially isolated from friends and family and reported lower levels of confidence from being digitally excluded – and compared to people who are not online at all, they are more likely to be seeking work or in low-paid employment. Amidst the current COVID-19 crisis, this is surely only to be exacerbated in the weeks and months ahead.

Many of those surveyed also say their lack of digital aptitude has made them feel disadvantaged when looking and applying for jobs to feeling underdeveloped in their career.

Charles Hurst Putting Frontline Workers First


Charles Hurst has announced it will open its Jaguar Land Rover workshop from 6th April to provide car repairs for frontline and essential key workers.

The workshop, located at Charles Hurst’s flagship site on the Boucher Road, will facilitate critical repair work for all makes and models of cars to help keep all essential workers on the road. Frontline NHS, health and social care workers can also avail of any labour free of charge.

Andrew Gilmore, Aftersales Operations Director commented on the decision to open the workshop:

“Charles Hurst recognises the dedication of essential workers in Northern Ireland, and we are committed to ensuring our most important workers remain mobile to carry out their critical work in this time of crisis.

I am delighted that our team of highly-skilled technicians will be on-hand to carry out necessary repairs for all essential workers – from delivery drivers, to childcare staff. Here at Charles Hurst we would like to say thank you to our frontline workers in particular and so we are offering free labour to any NHS or health and social care worker.

We’re delighted to play our part in the national effort to tackle this crisis and provide essential workers with the reassurance that we are here to support them should they experience any issues with their vehicles. We will continue to work tirelessly to provide support where it is needed.”

The move is part of a series of initiatives undertaken by Charles Hurst Group to support local and wider communities in these difficult times. Recently, the dealership announced the donation of two Land Rover Discovery models to the Red Cross in Northern Ireland to facilitate deliveries, whilst Carsmetic NI have undertaken deliveries of Personal Protective Equipment to NHS staff at Craigavon Area Hospital.