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Gobbins Crafts Jewellery Studio Becomes 11th NI Tourism Business To Be Granted Économusée Status

Gobbin’s Crafts, a jewellery studio owned by goldsmith and designer Heather McFadden, is the 11th business in Northern Ireland to be granted Économusée status.

Today (May 13th) Causeway Coast & Glens Heritage Trust invited guests along to an online launch celebrating the launch of Gobbins Crafts’ workshops into the Économusée programme.

After graduating from Art College in the 1980s, Heather McFadden specialised in goldsmithing to combine her love of sculpture and working with metals. She started out designing and creating commissions, wedding, and engagement rings, crafting beautiful  pieces for clients who wanted something unique.  

Heather’s workshops offer classes in the art of jewellery-making, she now joins the elite network of food and craft artisans who open their doors to visitors and tourists to share the story of their journey and acquire knowledge, skill, and passion.  

Graham Thompson, Chief Executive of Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust, who are a lead partner of the Économusée Artisan at Work project in Northern Ireland said: “In a difficult year when many businesses have struggled to survive, it is encouraging to see the network grow and Heather’s workshop brings yet another diverse and unique authenticity to this network of Économusée businesses. 

“We are delighted to welcome Gobbins Crafts to the Économusée network in Northern Ireland.” 

Guest speakers at the launch included Carl-Éric Guertin, Director of the Économusée  Network Society in Quebec, Martin Graham, Tourism NI, Ciaran Doherty, Tourism Ireland, Cllr Peter Johnston Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council as well as CCGHT CEO Graham Thompson.

Tiérna Mullan, CCGHT project officer added: “By visiting Économusée workshops, visitors will  gain an enhanced experience; learn about the history of the craft and the business; the enthusiasm of the artisan along with the added opportunity of meeting the artisans face to face and discovering the beauty and authenticity of the products made and sold onsite.

“We are thankful to our partners in Mid & East Antrim Borough Council and Tourism NI who have continued to support and enable us to expand the Économusée network in the area”. 

Économusée Artisans at Work is a concept that was developed in Québec and involves  partners from Canada, Norway, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, Haiti, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.  

Speaking of the achievement, Heather said: ‘Whilst the current restrictions prevented me from accommodating people today in person at my workshop.

“I hope for a brighter future when you can visit my studio to see me at work and hear my story. 

“I would like to express my thanks to everyone who has made me feel so welcome into the network and I look forward to growing with you and sharing my skills and knowledge. 

“As part of my commitment to the Économusée network I will offer visitors pre-booked  jewellery making classes and tours of the workshop where they will see the storyboards  which tell the history of the area and my personal journey.”

Within Northern Ireland the other ten Économusée workshops are; Broighter Gold  Rapeseed Oil in Limavady, Scullion Hurls in Loughgiel, Steenson’s Jewellers in Glenarm, Hillstown Brewery in Ahoghill, Hot Milk Forge in Martinstown and Ursa Minor Bakehouse,  Broughgammon Farm, North Coast Smokehouse in Ballycastle, Audrey Kyle Arts in Islandmagee and the Creamery Can in Glarryford. 

Each workshop is situated on or close by  the famous Causeway Coastal Route making it an ideal craft trail for visitors.  

For more information on the Économusée network contact tierna@ccght.org/07595413239 or go to economuseees.com

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Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon

South Lake Leisure Centre ‘Go Award’ Winner!

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough (ABC) Council together with Farrans have recently scooped a prestigious ‘Go Award’ for the brand new, state-of-the-art South Lake Leisure Centre build.

Taking place virtually on 27 May 2021, the Government Opportunities (GO) Excellence in Public Procurement Northern Ireland Awards recognise innovative public procurement practices within local and central government as well as the private sector.

Bagging the Social Value Award for its contribution to the local area, the South Lake Leisure Centre project helped bring together over 10,000 individuals to take part in progressive education and employment programmes during its construction.

With a shared vision to leave a lasting legacy, the collaborative initiative focused on creating a thriving economy underpinned by the skill set of the local people; empowering and strengthening communities; and tackling social inequalities.

“What a fantastic achievement!” commented Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Alderman Glenn Barr.

Aspiring young engineers being shown the ropes at Farrans’ International Women in Engineering Day event at the South Lake Leisure Centre site in 2019.

“This award win is a testament to everyone’s hard work, dedication and determination to continually go beyond normal standards in order to make a real difference to the lives of people in the local area. I would like to congratulate everyone involved in this impressive project – very well done!”

During the South Lake Leisure Centre construction, the project exceeded apprenticeship targets and work experience targets by 37% and 73% respectively.

Sarah Fearon, Community Business Partner for Farrans, said:

“As a business we recognise our ability to have a positive and lasting societal impact through the delivery of our social value programmes, which bring economic, social and environmental benefits to the communities in which we operate.

“Our core business operations enhance prosperity through our commitment to procuring goods and services locally, supporting SMEs, creating apprenticeships and job opportunities, and working closely with our supply chain to drive innovation.

“We were pleased to have the opportunity to work collaboratively with Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, social enterprises, schools, local suppliers and the community to ensure that we placed the needs of the people at the heart of our operations at South Lake Leisure Centre.”

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Derry City & Strabane

Delight as Donemana Village Renewal Project Completed

Derry City & Strabane District Council Mayor Graham Warke cuts the ribbon to mark the official reopening of the Donemana Village Renewal Project.

Work has now been completed on the Donemana Village Renewal Project which included a new and improved outdoor space in the village.

The work carried out has seen the installation of an outdoor garden with seating, raised beds, and planting as well as a small kickabout area with artificial grass and a goal wall including a basketball hoop. It also includes new steps to improve access to the outside area.

It was the fourth and final of a series of Small Parks Village Renewal Projects carried out by Derry City and Strabane District Council, with other projects completed in Artigarvan, Ardstraw and Drumahoe.

In Artigarvan and Ardstraw there were upgrades to play areas, with new equipment for each including a wheelchair accessible ground flush roundabout, basket swing and zip line, as well as landscaping improvements, while, in Drumahoe, an improved access pathway, adult exercise equipment, landscaping and signage was installed.

The combined cost of the four projects was £200,000 and they were delivered by Derry City and Strabane District Council with support from funding allocated by Derry and Strabane Rural Partnership under Priority 6 (LEADER) of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and the European Union.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, who is also the Chair of the Derry and Strabane Rural Partnership (LAG), said the completion of the project is fantastic news for Donemana and for the Drummond Centre Project after some challenging years.

“I’m absolutely delighted to visit Donemana and to see this work first-hand which provides a great space for the Drummond Centre Project and the Donemana community to enjoy.

“The green space ties in with our Council commitment within the Green Infrastructure Plan, and the recreational facilities are a space for young people to get some exercise in while socialising with friends.

“Facilities like this are so important for our rural communities and following the flooding of the original Drummond Centre Project’s premises in 2017 this is certainly a massive and well-deserved step forward for them.

“As Mayor and as Chair of the Derry and Strabane Rural Partnership it is my pleasure to attend the official opening of these new facilities and I want to wish the Drummond Centre Project and everyone in Donemana well as they enjoy this wonderful space.”

David Buchanan, The Drummond Centre, added: “This is a great day for everyone here in Donemana and for ourselves at The Drummond Centre Project.

“We have experienced a lot of ups and downs over the past few years so to have this facility now complete is a very positive achievement. It’s a space that we know will be so deeply appreciated and well-used by our young people and by everyone within the village.”

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