Connect with us

Health & Beauty

Time for a Nappy Change

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Paul Michael and Nicola Watson from the Nappy Advice Service NI promoting the cloth nappy packs. They are joined by local families who are currently trialling the cloth nappies; Samantha Logan & daughter Edith, Jean Daley-Lynn & son Harrison, Paula Hopwood & daughter Alana and Aimee Ellis & daughter Leila.

Are you fed up of buying disposable nappies, knowing that they will end up in landfill by the time you come back for more? Would you prefer natural materials, rather than man-made chemicals next to your child’s skin? Would you like to save money? Then switching to modern cloth nappies could be the answer.
If you prefer the idea of breathable cotton protecting your little one from over-heating, or indeed if you find disposables a big drain on your finances, modern cloth nappies could certainly have a positive impact on your family, the world’s resources and indeed the local community.

Nappy Advice Service NI

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has teamed up with Nappy Advice Service NI to offer a trial of cloth nappy kits for up to 30 families across the Borough. The kits, which are free of charge, can be trialled for a period of two months and include washing instructions, a list of creams that are safe to use with the cloth nappies and a photograph with an explanation of each item.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Paul Michael comments; “More than 380,000 disposable nappies are sent to landfill each day in Northern Ireland, costing Councils significant amounts of money. Using just one cloth nappy per day will save more than 900 nappies from going to landfill over the course of 2½ years. During the two months of the trial, you could save the money you would have been using to buy disposables to start your very own cloth nappy stash.”

Massive Changes

Nicola Watson from Nappy Advice Service NI added; “There have been massive changes in nappy technology particularly in the last 20 years. Gone are the days of wet pailing, napisan, boil washing and nappy pins. We don’t have a single pin in the kits. Modern cloth nappies now have Polyurethane Laminate as the wet proof layer and many methods of creating the absorbent part. There are two-parters, pocket nappies and All in Ones and so many varieties and materials.”

Nicola continues; “We have volunteers that are experienced cloth nappy users who will explain the different styles of nappy and materials to help you to start the process of picking the appropriate nappies for your family. Our original kits are a mix of newer and pre-loved nappies, donated by people wanting to share their love of cloth nappies. While you have the kit out, and also after, you will be able to contact us to chat through any issues or questions you may have.”

If you would like to be added to the list for the Cloth Nappy Kit Trial, contact the Nappy Advice Service NI via their Facebook page or E.

Continue Reading
Advertisement Custom Text

Health & Beauty

Better Gets Belfast Active with Free Fitness Tests and Memberships

A programme of free fitness assessments and gym memberships has launched at Better leisure centres across Belfast in a bid to get the city moving.

The initiative entitles members of the public to a fitness test and score, personalised workout plan and free month-long membership to be used across the 14 Better leisure centres in the city.

A state-of-the-art concept in fitness management, FitQuest provides an easy-to-understand measure of key metrics such as BMI (Body Mass Index), hydration levels and muscle percentage which will be mailed directly to the participant’s private inbox.

Individuals are encouraged to visit one of the four FitQuest kiosks at Andersonstown, Lisnasharragh, Better Gym Belfast and Olympia Leisure Centres for the confidential assessment.

Whether the recommendations be weight loss, muscle strength or cardiovascular fitness, a team of professional fitness instructors will provide a tailored workout plan and free four-week membership to allow them to build on their results.

Participants can then return for a further FitQuest test to track their progress and kickstart their journey to a healthier, more active lifestyle.

GLL, which runs the centres, hopes the initiative will empower the people of Belfast to improve their health and happiness through physical activity. A charitable social enterprise that exists to promote better health, it will welcome 500 individuals via the limited scheme. The first 100 places will be reserved for health service staff to encourage a focus on personal physical and mental health.

Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor Kate Nicholl visited Better Gym Belfast to take the inaugural fitness test. The £15,000 initiative is supported by Belfast City Council through the Leisure Transformation Programme.

Speaking following her FitQuest challenge at Better Gym Belfast, Lord Mayor Councillor Kate Nicholl said:

“Improving the health and wellbeing of our citizens lies at the heart of Belfast City Council’s £105m Leisure Transformation Programme. With 14 leisure centres across the city, including brand new state-of-the-art gyms and swimming pools at Lisnasharragh and Andersonstown, Belfast is not without the resources or capacity to boost public health through physical activity.”

“While we envisage a city where people are active and committed to living a healthy lifestyle, a lot must be done to make this a way of life for everyone, particularly those living on the lowest incomes. The FitQuest initiative is an investment in this vision and I hope that it will help kickstart many people’s journeys towards more active and healthier lifestyles.”

Regional Director of GLL Gareth Kirk said:

“We at Better exist to make communities happier and healthier through the provision of inclusive, accessible and affordable leisure services. As a charitable social enterprise, we are thrilled to be offering free fitness assessments and citywide memberships as local people continue to battle the physical and emotional hangover of the global pandemic. There are no limits to the benefits of living an active lifestyle and we look forward to seeing hundreds of individuals come through our doors and begin their journey to a better lifestyle.”

Visit to sign up for the Belfast fitness challenge.

Continue Reading

Health & Beauty

Mental Health Champion of Northern Ireland Appointed

1. Siobhan O’Neill is a Professor of Mental Health Sciences at Ulster University, and the Mental Health Champion for Northern Ireland. Her research programmes focus on trauma, mental illness and suicidal behaviour in Northern Ireland, and the transgenerational transmission of trauma.

Following a recent external recruitment process, Health Minister Robin Swann has appointed Professor Siobhan O’Neill as the Mental Health Champion for Northern Ireland.

Professor O’Neill is the current Interim Mental Health Champion and Professor of Mental Health Sciences at Ulster University. She is one of Northern Ireland’s leading experts in the field of mental health, known for her active and passionate involvement in suicide prevention. 

Making the announcement Minister Swann said: “The mental health and wellbeing of our population is a priority which has been further highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Appointing a Mental Health Champion is another key step to ensuring those suffering from mental ill health will have access to the services they need, when they need them.  I am delighted that Professor O’Neill has agreed to continue her crucial work that she started as Interim Mental Health Champion.”

During her time as Interim Mental Health Champion, Professor O’Neill has been an advocate for mental health at both public and governmental levels.  She led a mental health and wellness campaign throughout the winter pandemic restrictions and has been an advisor to the Department of Health and Executive colleagues on the mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minister continued: “I recently announced a new 10-year Mental Health Strategy setting out the future strategic direction of mental health services in Northern Ireland.  I want to break down barriers and put individuals and their needs at the centre of what we do.  The appointment of a long term Mental Health Champion underpins the provision of a voice for the most vulnerable in our society and across government now and in the future.”

Professor O’Neill said: “I am delighted to continue as the Mental Health Champion for Northern Ireland, so that the voices of those who struggle with their mental health are heard, and that their voices influence policy and practice to ensure that good mental health and wellbeing is a priority across Government Departments. 

“The 10-year Mental Health Strategy is a positive step in improving mental health services and demonstrates why mental health must be a key priority for Northern Ireland. I look forward to continuing my work with Minister Swann, the Executive, those with lived experience of mental ill health and those who provide services on the ground, to ensure that the actions laid out in the strategy are delivered to help Northern Ireland to flourish as we recover from the current pandemic and into the future.”

Continue Reading