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Belfast City

St Anne’s Cathedral Set To Come Alive In Aid Of The Black Santa Charity

Christmas visitors to the Cathedral Quarter this year be able shop for unique seasonal gifts while being entertained and supporting those less fortunate.

St Anne’s Cathedral Belfast will open its doors to a stunning Art and Craft Bazaar this Christmas in aid of the Black Santa Charity.

The Black Santa Night Time Bazaar runs from 5pm to 10.30pm on Saturday December 14.

Set to be a magical night, the event will see more than 100 stalls of the best art and crafts, vintage and food.

A woodland walk through the crypt will lead to a stunning stretch tent packed with artisan food vendors and Live DJs

The Jazz Bus is making its first appearance this Christmas, where you can sip a craft beer, cocktail or a hot drink and listen to stunning live jazz. There will be music from local seasonal choirs with special guests and the best DJs in the city.

The bazaar is a fully family-friendly evening with lots of surprises.

Organiser Caroline Baker of Little Fox Events says there will be something for everyone – and that’s no exaggeration.

“From entertainment, music, drink and food, to the best artisan and craft items available, there will be plenty to see and do and buy.

“As well as helping the Black Santa charity appeal, you will also be supporting small, local, independent businesses and keeping the carbon footprints down!”

“So, get into the festive spirit and make it a date to come down to Belfast Cathedral and join in the fun.”

The event is supported by the Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District initiative and Belfast Music City Council.

CQ BID manager Gareth Neill says it’s an exciting new development for the Quarter over the Christmas season.

He said: “Everyone involved in the BID is looking forward to the bazaar which is the latest offering in the area.

“It involves small local business, entertainers and musicians, artisan foodmakers, crafters and best of all, while people are shopping and having fun, they can donate and support those less fortunate at this festive time of year – what’s not to like?

We hope people will come out in their droves to support the bazaar, and the Black Santa charity, as people have been doing loyally here for many years.”

Belfast City

£10million Investment in Transformation of New Train Station for York Street

Nichola Mallon pictured with Chris Conway from Translink.

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has announced a £10m investment project that will see the construction of a new train station at York Street, Belfast. 

Having recently secured planning permission, this exciting regeneration project will be the next station to be transformed into a high-quality sustainable transport hub, to attract more people to make public transport their first choice for greener and healthier travel.

Announcing the funding, Minister Mallon said: “I am committed to delivering sustainable infrastructure that will transform communities, improve lives and help tackle the climate crisis.  Key to that commitment is ensuring we have a functioning and thriving public transport network and that is why I want to invest in our infrastructure and our rail infrastructure in particular, which will deliver for local people and visitors now and well into the future.

“Last year I launched a public consultation on proposals to redevelop this new train station at York Street. Following the completion of the consultation process, and the subsequent receipt of planning approval, I am delighted to confirm that this £10million project can move towards construction phase. 

“Our public transport network is vital in our recovery from Covid-19 both economically and socially. Pre-covid the current facility was one of the busiest train stations in Northern Ireland. With the move of Ulster University to this part of Belfast, it is expected this will grow further with improved facilities, including better links to walking and cycling options in the area, making it even easier for people to choose sustainable travel as their smarter travel mode.”

The Minister added: “As well as improving connectivity and making public transport a more attractive offering the redevelopment of the station will also help to secure jobs in the local construction industry.  I look forward to seeing work commence later this year and the completion of the new station in 2023.”

Chris Conway, Translink Group Chief Executive said: “This is really good news for the city. It will provide better connectivity for everyone particularly with the opening of the new Ulster University campus this year and the planned City Quays development.  

“Passengers will enjoy modern, more accessible amenities including a new Changing Places facility and better links to walking and cycling options with more access to cycle parking and local cycle networks.  A new footbridge will link to wider platforms and new canopies.

“The external design will boast an enhanced station layout with high quality landscaping and provision of a public realm area at the front of the station.

“We would like to thank the Minister and her department for the essential funding to deliver this vital infrastructure scheme which will significantly shape the future of this area.  It will provide the people of North Belfast with connections that can improve the area’s liveability and the community’s employability. We will continue to work with all our stakeholders as the development progresses”, Chris concluded.

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Belfast City

Stormont Play Park ‘Quiet Hour’ Launched

Photo Credit: Michael Cooper

Finance Minister, Conor Murphy has announced a special ‘Quiet Hour’ at the Mo Mowlam Playpark on the Stormont Estate, making the facilities more inclusive for all.

The playpark, which is designed for children of all abilities and includes a dedicated sensory area, will now be opened one hour earlier each Wednesday morning during July, creating a calmer environment for children with additional needs.

The Quiet Hour will run from 8.30am-9.30am for an initial four-week trial and if successful, will become a regular fixture.

Speaking during a visit to the playpark along with Health Minister this morning, Minister Murphy said: “Inclusive play is at the heart of this wonderful facility which is extremely popular with families and children.

“We recognise that due to its popularity, the playpark can get very busy and this can be overwhelming for some children. So we’re delighted to be able to open the gates an hour earlier one day a week to allow those with additional needs to be able to play in a quieter setting.”

Health Minister Robin Swann said: “I am delighted to support this initiative and to meet the young people and their families for whom it will undoubtedly prove a popular addition to the facilities available with the Stormont Estate. Making all aspects of society as accessible and inclusive as possible to all our citizens and in particular the young is an ambition which we must all continue to work towards.”

Welcoming the initiative, Autism NI CEO Kerry Boyd said: “It is great to see that the playpark will be introducing a special Quiet Hour for children with additional needs. Many of our autistic families have enjoyed the facility since it has opened and will benefit greatly from the park opening an hour early. We hope others will follow this great example and help to build an inclusive society for everyone.”

The Quiet Hour was championed by a number of parents who have been engaging with Stormont Estate staff in recent weeks. After meeting with parents and children at the park, Minister Murphy said: “I was delighted to speak with parents who have been instrumental in making this a reality. It’s so important that children of all abilities can continue to enjoy this excellent playpark as much as possible. I’m very pleased to be able to facilitate this Quiet Hour and I hope it proves to be a great success.”

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