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Belfast City

Everything You Need To Know About Q-Con 2019

Q-Con, an annual three day gaming and anime convention held at Queen’s University in Belfast returns on August 30, 2019.

Who are Q-Con?
The Q-Con event, ending on September 1, has taken place at the University for over 25 years and is hosted by the Queen’s University Belfast Dragon Slayers society every year since 1994.

Who goes?
As the gaming community has grown exponentially over the past two decades so has Q-Con, which is now morphed into a beast in its own right, so it’s fortunate we’ve got some Dragon Slayers on hand. With gamers and anime fans travelling from all over the world to be there, it’s estimated to attract over 6,500 attendees over the whole weekend.

What about the kids?
Sunday, the third day of the event is especially friendly for younger children and families. It will include face painting, speed drawing and even a puppy café to support the charity Cavaliers in Need. There will also be viewings of the groundbreaking anime Ponyo as well as the webtastic film Spiderman: Into The Spiderverse, and finally Disney’s Treasure Planet. The screenings will be held at the Queens Film Theatre at different times throughout the day.

What else is happening?
Fans of the K-Pop scene and fitness fanatics will also be catered for in a fun combination of K-Pop and exercise. The group K-PopX will be putting on a 50-minute workout set, which will feature music and dance routines of the most well known K-Pop artists. The Irish Video Game Orchestra (IVGO) will also be hosting their Unplugged event, playing some of gaming’s most iconic themes that will surely be something to remember. IVGO will be playing on Friday night at Elmwood Hall, starting at 7pm.

Ever fancied proving to your kids that you’re better than they are at Fortnite? Now’s your chance as families will be able to take part in a Fortnite Battle Royale which will earn the winners bragging rights for weeks to come. This will just be one of the gaming events held that weekend. The Battle Royale will be held at Queens Computer Science building on Friday and Saturday.

Cosplay
Don’t forget that attendees are invited to cosplay as their favourite characters. There will be prizes for those who have the best outfits at the Cosplay Masquerade, with judging starting at on Sunday at 12pm at Elmwood Hall.

Doom fans
For older fans who have enjoyed games since 1994 the will be an opportunity to confront DOOM’s creator John Romero in multiplayer matches. As the DOOM series has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years, being able to defeat the man himself at his own game will be a dream come true for many gamers. Come and show John what you’re made of at The Peter Froggatt Centre, Ground Floor, Room 024 on Saturday at 11am until 3pm.

Traders
When visiting Q-Con make sure to stop by at Artists Alley where traders from all over the world will be showing off and selling their unique and customer artwork. Many of these artists will only be here for this one weekend, so this is a fantastic opportunity to find some original and unique artwork to decorate your home or bedroom.

The stats
Over 6,500 attendees

50+ traders

50+ artists

50+ console bays

100+ eSports PCs

100+ Tabletop Games

50+ special events

Tickets
Tickets are £18 (+booking fee) for a weekend pass if purchased in advance from >> https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/q-con-xxvi-registration-56286927716

On the day: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday Day Passes £13 cash at the door.

Special Sunday Family Ticket is £20 for 2x Adults & 2x Children

For a comprehensive breakdown of the events and times at Q-Con, or to purchase tickets, please visit their website here http://www.q-con.org.uk 

Belfast City

Cathedral Quarter BID Celebrates Success Of Street Beat Police Presence In Area

An initiative that saw additional dedicated police officers patrolling Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter has been welcomed as a proven success story by Destination CQ’s manager Damien Corr.

The Ballot for the continuation of the Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District (BID) is currently open until September 22. In an independent survey carried out in advance of the ballot, the Street Beat (#streetbeat) programme was seen as one of the key projects that adds value for businesses and organisations in the area, over 90% of respondents prioritised it for inclusion in the Business Plan for the next 5 years.

The StreetBeat officers are paid for by the BID and are additional to the normal policing provided by PSNI. The initiative was a direct response to local business owners’ concerns regarding antisocial activity within the areas. 

BID manager Damien Corr said: “As the businesses are paying for the service, it was essential that they felt in ‘control’, accordingly the officers have a designated phone which our Cathedral Quarter businesses can call direct 07787432635. This ability to bypass the general PSNI Switchboard is key to a more effective localised response.”

The officers patrol the area on foot and in their distinctive CQ street beat branded vehicle, dealing with anti-social behaviour and criminal activity. They also visit premises offering practical security and personnel safety advice and equipment.

StreetBeat PSNI officer Michael Gillies added: “Being given the time and support both by the BID and PSNI management, I have been allowed to focus my work specifically within the Cathedral Quarter and its needs. 

“This has helped to strengthen relationships already made with businesses and also to forge new ones. It’s back to basics Neighbourhood policing, only this time the neighbourhood is my local business community”.

However, the future of the scheme in the Cathedral Quarter relies on a ‘yes’ vote for a new five-year term for the Business Improvement District organisation Destination CQ.

With ballot papers already issued and voting by post closing on September 22, Mr Corr is keen to remind voters of what could be lost without their votes.

“The BID levy payers have told us that they really appreciate the work done by our Street Beat officers who, between them, have provided 2080 extra policing hours targeted patrolling,” he said. 

“They were particularly effective over lockdown when lots of properties were left unattended. Our officers continued to patrol, checking on closed business premises and providing assurance and practical assistance to those who continued to work.

“It is a simple reality, that unless we get a yes vote in the ballot, aloof this additional targeted policing will be lost to Cathedral Quarter.”

Sorcha Woolsy, Operations Director of Beannchor with a number of businesses in the BID area said the BID has carried out a number of projects that have impacted the Beannchor suite of businesses.

“The one that really stands out to me is the provision of the City Centre Beat Officers,” she added.

“It’s a really good example of an initiative that a BID can provide that an individual business could not on their own. 

“For me, it is imperative to vote yes on the re-ballot of the BID. The collective energy and brainpower and money of a group of businesses all pulling in the same direction for the betterment of this area will inevitably gain better results than individual businesses doing little bits and pieces on their own.”

For more information on the work of Destination CQ and Street Beat go to cathedralquarterbelfast.com or contact Damien Corr on 02890 314 011.

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Belfast City

CQ BID Celebrates Five Years Of Being Voice For All In Cathedral Quarter

Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District, Destination CQ, has for five years been the collective voice for every business in the area, lobbying and consulting with local and regional government and government agencies.

Destination CQ Manager, Damien Corr said the ability to go to these organisations and speak for everyone in the Cathedral Quarter, Smithfield and Union, is one that can’t go unnoticed.

“We are involved in most stakeholder groups in the city and that’s something that our levy payers don’t see a lot of,” he explained. 

“It takes up a lot of our time but it’s very worthwhile.

“The ability to lobby for individual businesses, or for the entire area, direct to departments is important, and we work away on issues until we are successful or reach an acceptable compromise.”

The pressures of the pandemic, shop closures and the complete halt to tourism have affected the economy as a whole but it also had a significant effect on the Cathedral Quarter. This inner-city neighbourhood, characterised by arts, culture, restaurants, entertainment and independent shops relies on tourists and visitors to survive.  

Over the past five years, Destination CQ has represented business interests at City Reopening Stakeholder Group, City Centre Anti-Social Behaviour Action Group and the Small Business Forum.

At present there is a ballot to continue the BID’s work for a further five years and voting Yes to the BID means local businesses can present a unified front and have a collective voice when engaging with the various stakeholders, either local government or assembly level.

When asked about the importance of banding together to present a collective voice, Sorcha Wolsey, Operations Director for the Beannchor Group and Destination CQ BID Board member said it was important that businesses come together.

“The collective energy, brainpower and money of a group of businesses all pulling in the same direction for the betterment of this area will inevitably gain better results than individual businesses doing little bits and pieces on their own,” she said.

The business improvement district has been actively championing the area, partnering with promotional activities such as the government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme to help restaurants in the area recover from the effects of the pandemic. 

There have been numerous BID led initiatives that greatly benefited businesses in the neighbourhood. Culture Night and Restaurant Week are just some examples of the projects that make CQ a vibrant place to do business. 

Board member and Director of Quigg Golden, Gavin Hendrie said Cathedral Quarter needed a body to explain the issues and promote the area.

“We need a champion for the area,” he explained. “We need the BID to help advertise the CQ as a place to come, to maintain the sense of vibrancy that we’ve known in the past and perhaps lost in the last 18 months.”

Supporting local businesses remains one of the three pillars the Business Improvement District plans to focus on in term two. Collective advocacy is still a priority with creating a strong alliance among stakeholders and ensuring BID members’ voice is heard in key city-wide discussions.

Les Hume, Vice-Chair of CQ BID explained why it is crucial to be represented as a collective:

“By being part of a collective we can present a reasoned, well thought through debate, we can actually bring our concerns and our troubles to the people who make the key decisions,” he said. 

“I think that in the next five years we’re going to have even greater challenges as we try to build Belfast back better.

“To vote yes for this BID process means that your voice can be heard, along with mine hopefully. Together we’ll make Belfast better.

“Individually we will struggle. That’s what I think is good about a Business Improvement District, so please do consider voting yes.”

For more information on how the work of Destination CQ BID can benefit your business go to cathedralquarterbelfast.com or contact Damien Corr on 02890 314 011.

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