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Mid and East Antrim

‘Eggcellent’ Online Fun With Mid and East Antrim Council

Easter celebrations will go virtual this year with a fantastic programme of activities planned by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council for all the family to join!

Current restrictions mean that this year’s celebrations will take place online, with a number of activities organised for Wednesday 7, Thursday 8 and Friday 9 April.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Councillor, Peter Johnston is encouraging everyone to join in MEA’s 2021 Virtual Easter Scheme: “Our online Easter Scheme is packed with activities aimed at keeping the mind and body healthy and well during these challenging times.

“Our Schemes have always been extremely popular and as we are unable to physically get together to take part, Council have worked hard in planning a fantastic fun filled three days of activities for all the family to enjoy.

“So join us on our social media channels from Wednesday 7 to Friday 9 April, from the comfort of your own home, and take part. From Tennis Relay to Make your own Putty this programme is sure to keep you and the little ones busy over the Easter holidays.”

10am12 Noon2pm
Wednesday 7 AprilTennis Relay Gemma-Be ActiveMake your own Putty Lesley-Keep LearningEaster Race Robert-Be Active
Thursday 8 AprilMulti Movement Game Robert-Be ActiveSpring Sensory Tray Lesley – ConnectBoccia Fun Gemma –Be Active
Friday 9 AprilCatch the Eggs- featuring Roddenvale School Robert-Be ActiveNo Bake Birds Nest Lesley-Keep LearningScavenger Race Robert-Take Notice/ Keep Learning

This Scheme takes into account the Public Health Agency’s Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing guidelines, which encourage us to Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give.

Before attempting any of the activities, please visit for information on staying safe. Parental guidance is also recommended when undertaking any activities.

Mid and East Antrim

The Gallaher Trust Funds New Initiative to Boost Innovation in Ballymena

Pictured at the launch of the 4i Innovation project which is aiming to create over 50 jobs in the Ballymena area with funding from The Gallaher Trust are, from left, Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI Director of Innovation, Research and Development, Stephen Scullion, Ballymena Business Centre’s 4i Innovation Manager and Lauren McAteer, a member of The Gallaher Trust’s Board of Trustees.

A TOTAL of 54 new jobs are set to be created in Ballymena over the next five years, through a unique pilot project entitled 4i Innovation designed and managed by Ballymena Business Centre and in association with Innovate NI.

The project will coach businesses how to improve their innovation and it’s hoped that the programme will boost the innovative capabilities of local businesses and improve the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s overall innovation ranking within Northern Ireland. 

Open to all businesses within the Ballymena area, regardless of size or sector, project participants will undertake Innovate NI’s Self-Assessment to discover where they are on its ‘Innovation Framework’. The project will support businesses to progress through Innovate NI’s Framework using the latest business modelling tools from, FourSight individual profiling, innovation coaching and business support including access to potential funding.

Claiming that alongside boosting job prospects, Lauren McAteer, a Trustee of The Gallaher Trust’s Board said that the project would go a long way towards helping Ballymena businesses to become more agile in turbulent market conditions.

“On behalf of The Gallaher Trust, we are delighted to support the 4i Innovation project,” she said.

“We are confident that this project will help businesses to learn to adapt to changing times and to become more agile in the face of turbulent market conditions. Not only that but the project will also improve employment opportunities for those living in the wider Ballymena community, which is one of the Trust’s main objectives.

“Through this project, we hope to help improve the region’s innovation capabilities, which would be a major achievement.”

Speaking about the idea behind the programme, Stephen Scullion, Ballymena Business Centre’s 4i Innovation Manager said: “We are all natural innovators; we solve problems every day using our own creativity, but we are all creative in different ways. Understanding how we think and look at things differently can help us to understand how we approach a challenge or solve a problem. When we combine this understanding within a framework for innovation alongside new ways to look at business modelling, we can create real sustainable value for customers with increased profits.

“We’ve established the 4i Innovation project in a bid to address low levels of innovation. We’re aiming to demystify what innovation is and create a common language to help businesses understand how to apply innovation and in turn, how to utilise innovation to grow and expand their business.

“The Ballymena Business Centre has been a one stop shop in terms of supporting businesses since 1989 and this project is another example of how we provide business solutions tailored to meet the current economic demands and opportunities.”

Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI Director of Innovation, Research and Development added: “This unique partnership will provide businesses with a valuable insight into how to turn their ideas into value – working through the Innovation Framework will guide companies through the four essential stages of successful innovation – ideation, selection, development and commercialisation.

“Over the past 18 months, Northern Ireland businesses have shown how strong and resilient they are; local companies have adapted, pivoted and innovated to survive the economic challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic. This project will provide the Ballymena business community with the opportunity to foster this culture of innovation for years to come.

“I would strongly encourage anyone interested in growing their ideas to avail of the innovation support available to do this successfully; the 4i Innovation project provides a great avenue for business to access the help they need.”

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Mid and East Antrim

Borough’s Young People Affected by the Pandemic Share their Stories

Cameron Wilson from Carrick Connect, Ethan Kells of UpLift, Sophie Grier of UpLift, Mayor Cllr William McCaughey and Mackenzie Cornish of YMCA

Young people from across Mid and East Antrim have been sharing their stories of how the Coronavirus pandemic affected them as part of Good Relations Week 2021.

The video series, available on Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s YouTube channel, tells the real life experiences of young people across the borough throughout the past year, the challenges they’ve faced and how they’re now coping. It also includes performances from Uplift Performing Arts.

Good Relations Week runs annually and showcases a mix of arts, history, music, sport and culture-based events from a diverse range of organisations across Northern Ireland.

The theme for this year is ‘Brighter Days Ahead’ which celebrates the efforts of young people in their everyday lives to break down barriers, unite communities and act as a catalyst for peace building and cultural diversity in our society.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr William McCaughey said: “We’re proud to celebrate our young people and hear their moving stories as part of this year’s Good Relations Week. Statistics show that young people are one of the most affected groups during the Pandemic. Thanks goes to those who took part and to Carrick Connect, UpLift and Carrickfergus YMCA for helping us create this video series.

“Sharing ideas as young people navigate becoming part of the diverse wider community in today’s post-conflict society is so important. Young people have had to adapt and embrace new technology, develop new skills and form online relationships whilst still learning and becoming involved in global issues and changes as a result of Covid.

“I would encourage anyone of any age to watch these videos, and even though very timely now, they will become part of our history during this time soon enough. The accounts are refreshingly honest, showing the depth of spirit and innovative approaches these young people have taken whilst progressing their own development, life experiences and careers. We hope this series will inspire new ideas and promote respect and understanding in our future generations.”

The Community Relations Council co-ordinates the week with the support of a Steering Committee comprising of The Executive Office, Department for Communities, Department of Justice, Education Authority, Libraries NI, Cathedral Quarter Trust and The Nerve Centre.

Jacqueline Irwin, Chief Executive of the Community Relations Council added: Huge thanks to everyone who has contributed to this year’s dynamic programme of events, helping to make Good Relations Week a modern celebration of our diverse culture and heritage. We are once again thrilled to be able to deliver this showcase of cross community and multi-cultural arts, history, music and culture.”

This project is funded through Mid and East Antrim’s Good Relations Programme. Good Relations Week is co-ordinated by the Community Relations Council and supported by The Executive Office. It contributes to delivering the Together: Building a United Community Strategy.

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