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Ards And North Down

Top Foodies Back Mencap For ‘Wëëker’ Weekend

A leading independent food company, Indie Füde has selected Mencap NI as its charity of the year and are promising a ‘weeker’ weekend in London as part of the backing of their plans to support the work of the learning disability charity.

Within weeks of announcing Mencap NI as its charity for 2019/20 Indie Füde has raised almost £2,000 – a figure set to rise when the ‘Wëëker’ event takes place at the Royal Academy of Arts London Summer Festival on July 20.

Chef Will Brown and Indie Füde will provide catering for the event, with Mencap NI there fundraising and promoting its work.

In addition, anyone ordering Indie Füde products online, or booking events can make a donation.

Johnny McDowell, Chief Taster, Indie Fude said: “Wëëker are really honoured to partner with Mencap NI, we are all about local and Mencap NI are a local charity that that are close to the hearts of both our lead chef, Will Brown, and our local food purveyors, Indie Fude.

From left: Terese Wilson (Events & Area Fundraising Manager Mencap NI), Johnny McDowell (Chief Taster at Indie Fude) and Sean Conlon (Senior Events & Area Fundraising Manager Mencap NI) celebrate Mencap NI and Indie Fude partnership.

“We are so excited by this prestigious event and believe we can bring a sense of pride, for not only the produce of Northern Ireland, but to all the people of Northern Ireland also.

“We are delighted to be joined by the Mencap NI team on night in London to help raise much needed funds for Northern Ireland people with learning disabilities through collections in the Royal Academy of Arts on the evening, and also through our live artist, Andy Laird from Comber, who will donate from his takings on the night to Mencap NI. It really is going to be weeker!”

Sean Conlon, Senior Events & Area Fundraising Manager (NI) explained what the backing will provide: “The partnership presents us with some exciting opportunities to collaborate with Indie Füde and raise some much-needed funds to support local people with a learning disability,” he said.

“We’ve been inspired by the passion that the team at Indie Füde put into their work supporting local food suppliers and look forward to working alongside them through our new partnership.

“The money raised through the partnership will make a huge difference to local people living with a learning disability.”

Johnny from Indie Füde recently attended a number of Mencap NI events and was inspired by the work undertaken.

“Being local is a huge thing for Indie Füde, we only stock from the island of Ireland and felt very strongly about supporting local people in Northern Ireland,” he said.

From left: Chef Will Brown (Weeker), Sean Conlon (Senior Events & Area Fundraising Manager Mencap NI), Terese Wilson (Events & Area Fundraising Manager Mencap NI) and Johnny McDowell (Chief Taster at Indie Fude) celebrate Mencap NI and Indie Fude partnership.

“We have some exciting ideas for events that will be announced over the coming months, since agreeing the partnership a few weeks ago Indie Füde have already raised almost £2,000 for Mencap NI.”

Find out more about how you can help Mencap NI at

Ards And North Down

Veterans Parade Returns to Newtownards on 24 September

Band, Bugles, Pipes and Drums of the Royal Irish Regiment. Photo Credit: Ian Pedlow

A parade led by the Band of the Royal Irish Regiment, supported by Bugles, Pipes and Drums of the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Regiment, will form part of the annual Veterans Evening in Conway Square, Newtownards, on Friday 24 September at 7pm.

The event will be hosted by Ards and North Down Borough Council, in partnership with the Royal British Legion, and will recognise the invaluable contribution of men and women from across the Borough who served their country, both at home and abroad.

The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Mark Brooks, said:

“We have many serving and past members of the Armed Forces living in the Borough. This annual event pays tribute to our veterans and it is a time to remember those who served, sacrificed and fought for our freedom. I look forward to the event and hope that many of our residents will line the streets in support of our veterans.”

Starting from Court Square at 7pm, the band will follow a route to Conway Square (via Court Street and South Street) where it will be received by the Lord Lieutenant of County Down.

A Beating Retreat ceremony, with a colourful cavalcade of military music, tradition and precision drill, will then take place, with Royal British Legion veterans parading alongside members of the many regimental associations from the Borough and beyond.

The band will follow a return route from Conway Square to Court Square via High Street, Mill Street, Gibson’s Lane, Regent Street, Frances Street, Castle Place and Castle Street.

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Ards And North Down

‘Chatty Bench’ Installed in Bangor to Tackle Loneliness

Hester Kelly (Good Morning Call Volunteer) with the Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Mark Brooks, and Dorothy Beattie (Manager, AGE North Down & Ards) on the Chatty Bench in Bangor Castle Walled Garden. Photo Credit: Ian Pedlow

Ards and North Down Borough Council has placed its first ‘Chatty Bench’ in the beautiful surroundings of Bangor Castle Walled Garden.

Designed to help tackle loneliness and support positive mental health within the community, Chatty Benches are popping up all around the country to provide a place for people to come together, chat and connect.

After more than a year of social distancing, the brightly coloured bench is designed to attract attention and encourage people to talk to each other.

The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Mark Brooks, said:

“Chatty Benches are an excellent initiative to tackle loneliness in our community. They provide designated places that encourage people to meet and talk, even if they don’t know each other. The Council will soon install a second bench in Newtownards’ Londonderry Park, so if you feel like you want to chat with someone, simply take a seat on a Chatty Bench.”

Bangor Castle Walled Garden is an award-winning park that holds a prestigious Green Flag Award. It is a popular destination with residents and visitors to the Borough.

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