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Lisburn and Castlereagh

Get Blogging Courses Launch In Northern Ireland Libraries

Libraries NI roll out new learning series with TrainingMatchmaker

Aspiring bloggers will have the opportunity to create, promote and deliver their own blog with a three-week, free course in Holywood and Belfast’s Lisburn road libraries.

Libraries NI has appointed to deliver the digitally focused workshops with expert Trainer – Chartered Marketer Christine Watson.

The ‘Get Blogging’ courses will offer training to help library users develop their skills and grow their confidence to enable them to become successful bloggers.

Margaret Bell, Deputy Head of Service, Libraries NI said: “We have been delighted with the success of the Blogging Inspiration events and the educational courses that have delivered so far and are confident that these new workshops will be a tremendous opportunity for library users to enhance their digital capability and grow their online footprint in a positive way.”

Trainer Christine Watson, who founded said that the course will benefit individuals, businesses, communities and charities.

“Over the three week programme the Get Blogging workshop will focus on helping attendees develop the skills relevant to the creation, distribution and monetisation of their blogs.”

There are many benefits from upskilling in the art of blogging including enhanced employability, proven digital competence, confidence, access to a peer community of bloggers, mental health and personal wealth.

The brand new three week courses follows a series of Blogging Inspiration Sessions, featuring active local bloggers in talks in libraries across Northern Ireland and an inaugural ‘Get Blogging’ programme in Lisburn City Library.

Christine said that getting online via a blog has many advantages.

“Active blogging helps individuals develop the specialist skills that many organisations and communities need to help keep pace with and benefit from the latest technology and working practices.

“Many businesses have reported that using blogs, as part of their digital marketing strategy, has helped sales growth, which they believe is directly attributable to improvement in the digital performance of their businesses coupled with a real sense of service by providing content sought on the web.”

Lisburn Road Library in south Belfast will host learners on February 26 and March 4 and 25.

Holywood Library in south Down will host learners on March 5, 19 and 26.

These courses are free to attend and places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

Individuals interested in participating in the free three week ‘Get Blogging’ course by for Libraries NI can find further information or register a place via

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Lisburn and Castlereagh

Ribbon Cutting for Blaris Greenway Extension

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has opened Phase 3 of the Blaris Greenway which connects Sprucefield Park and Ride with the Halftown Road providing a safe route to walk, wheel or cycle. Joining Minister Mallon to cut the ribbon are Sustrans Routes and Network Officer, Thomas McConaghie , Lady Mayoress of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council Sarah Trimble and Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Councillor Nicholas Trimble.

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has officially opened an extension to the Blaris Greenway scheme.

The latest phase of the scheme links Sprucefield Park and Ride to Halftown Road, a distance of 1.4 kilometres. This brings the total length of the Greenway to 2.8 kilometres from Halftown Road to Blaris Road where it connects with Union Locks, Lisburn and the Lagan Towpath, providing a virtually traffic free route of around 24 kilometres into Belfast city centre. 

The path is four metres wide along the majority of its length and also incorporates a series of passing bays along the route to allow local access for agricultural vehicles, providing ample space for everyone to share safely.

Joining Minister Mallon for a walk and cycle as she opened a 1.4 km extension to the Blaris Greenway between Sprucefield Park and Ride and Halftown Road are Lady Mayoress of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council Sarah Trimble, Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Councillor Nicholas Trimble and Sustrans Routes and Network Officer, Thomas McConaghie.

Minister Mallon said: “As more of us are choosing pedal power or walking over the traditional car this latest safe traffic-free route will be a welcome addition to the increasingly popular Blaris Greenway by those from local communities who wish to walk, wheel or cycle as a form of leisure or as part of their daily commute.

“The path is conveniently located within reach of Culcavy and Hillsborough,  provides access to  Maze-Long Kesh and has direct public transport connections to Belfast from the Sprucefield Park and Ride site.

“It was important for me that the local farming community also had access to their agricultural land and I am pleased that we have been able to incorporate passing bays along the path, providing safe passage for all who travel along it.

“I remain committed to creating more active travel opportunities and developing sustainable infrastructure projects and I will continue to work with Executive colleagues, councils and other partners to help deliver cleaner, greener, sustainable active travel infrastructure across our island.”

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon enjoys a cycle with Sustrans Routes and Network Officer, Thomas McConaghie as she opened Phase 3 of the Blaris Greenway which connects Sprucefield Park and Ride with the Halftown Road providing a safe route to walk, wheel or cycle.

Caroline Bloomfield, Sustrans Northern Ireland Director said: “It is fantastic to see this high quality, safe walking and cycling route all the way from the Maze village in Co Down to Belfast. It enhances the National Cycle Network, extending NCN Route 9 via the Lagan Towpath to give more than 20 kilometres of virtually traffic-free walking and cycling. Greenways are essential to ensure walking and cycling can be for everyone, whatever their ability. With so many people living along this corridor there are huge benefits for people’s physical and mental health, as well as the environment.”

Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Councillor Nicholas Trimble added: “We are delighted that the Blaris Greenway is progressing and connecting more of our rural areas with Lisburn city centre and the towpath into Belfast.  I am confident that cyclists will enjoy the opportunity to cycle further off-road and can use it to get to any events that may take place at the Maze-Long Kesh site in the future.  I would like to thank the Department for Infrastructure for their continued investment in our area.”

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Lisburn and Castlereagh

Exciting Development at Dundonald Ice Bowl as Planning Permission Approved

Dundonald Ice Bowl Artist Rendering

Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council has approved planning permission to redevelop Dundonald International Ice Bowl with plans that will see it transformed in to a top class attraction with state of the art facilities in a sleek, modern fit for purpose building.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Chairman of the Capital Projects Committee said: “I am delighted to see this project pass a key milestone. The innovative plans include a new Olympic sized ice rink, the only public one on the island of Ireland putting Lisburn and Castlereagh on the map in the professional skating world.

“Along with tenpin bowling and a children’s soft play & adventure play area, we will attract visitors from across NI and beyond, ensuring we retain our status as one of NI’s leading visitor attractions.

“The local community will also benefit from new primary health care and community facilities including an outdoor children’s play area. There will be restaurants, offices and new car parking, all surrounded by contemporary landscaping. I am excited to see how this develops.”

Alderman Michael Henderson MBE, Chairman of the Leisure & Community Development Committee added: “The success of Dundonald International Ice Bowl speaks for itself, welcoming over 600,000 people through its doors each year. Its importance as a regional attraction is evident, supporting tourism, economic activity, job creation and now providing services to the community under these new plans.

“The new Dundonald International Ice Bowl will bring so many benefits to the area and the surrounding businesses. Plans will be phased so that visitors can continue to enjoy the Ice Bowl and all that it offers during development and so that jobs can be sustained throughout the process.

“I welcome the approval of planning for this project and am excited to see the plans progress.”

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