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Mid and East Antrim

Learn Jewellery Making On The Inspirational Causeway Coastal Route

With more than 30 years-experience making jewellery and teaching others, Heather McFadden’s Gobbins Crafts offers the perfect opportunity to learn a new skill.

Gobbins Crafts gives visitors the chance to learn to make their own bespoke pieces with Heather, in an intimate setting on the Causeway Coastal Route.

Heather, 62, has developed a unique experience where people with no experience can learn the skills and techniques professionals use when making jewellery.

“I developed Gobbins Crafts classes to help people discover the joy that can be had from making your own pieces,” explained Heather. 

“Those that attend the classes receive individual guidance every step of the way to create their own beautiful piece of jewellery made from sustainably sourced silver.”

Heather McFadden of Gobbins Crafts Photo Credit: by Kaja Choma / Excalibur Press

Heather has extensive experience at not only making bespoke pieces, such as wedding and engagement rings, but also teaching at Belfast Metropolitan College and advising City and Guilds on developing goldsmithing courses.

“I wanted to create classes that are intimate to allow everyone to move at their own pace and make sure I can explain and demonstrate the techniques needed,” said Heather. “We have had all ages and abilities and I’m pleased to say that as well as having fun many have wanted to learn more at my weekly classes for those who wish to develop their skills further.”

In the scenic setting of Islandmagee, shaped by sea and stone in County Antrim, Heather teaches each intimate class of up to four people from her personal studio where they will have their own set of equipment and will be able to see Heather’s own work in progress, as well as completed items.

“In our most popular silversmithing workshop, each session will see guests shown the basics of jewellery making and go on to create their own set of stacking rings, knot rings or pendant,” said Heather, adding: “They will be shown how to take silver sheet and wire and cut, shape and solder it into their own unique piece of jewellery to take away as a tangible memory of the time spent.”

Heather’s experience in teaching means that each participant is taken through the experience at their own pace throughout the three hour session, allowing them to embrace the spirit of the experience.

Gobbins Crafts also offers shorter classes for tourists, taster classes, weekend half day classes and a four-week short evening course is available.

“I have found that the simple joy of creation is something uniquely satisfying for everyone that has attended,” said Heather. “And, while most of the participants have an interest in some form of crafting, we have even had hen parties attend for that different experience.”

Bookings can be made by contacting Heather via

Mid and East Antrim

Local Groups in Mid and East Antrim celebrate ‘Brighter Days Ahead’ for Young People

Pictured with The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor William McCaughey is Martin McDonald, Chair of The Community Relations Council and Sophie Grier and Evie Dorrian from Uplift Performing Arts.

Local Groups in Mid and East Antrim will celebrate the peace building and cultural diversity efforts of young people and the challenges they face with a creative programme of cross-community and multicultural events as part of Good Relations Week 2021.

Good Relations Week 2021, co-ordinated by the Community Relations Council, will run from Monday 20th to Sunday 26th September, with a mix of arts, history, music, sport and culture-based events from a diverse range of organisations across the region.

This year’s colourful programme will include the return of face-to-face events, alongside an expanded online offering of virtual events and digital content. This will include workshops, lectures, panel discussions, feature talks, podcasts, film, music and dance performances, storytelling and exhibitions.

The theme for Good Relations Week 2021 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.

It will explore how society can better meet the needs of young people and explore the issues affecting their culturally diverse lives today, including sectarianism and racism, dealing with the continuing impact of the past, mental health, isolation, education, faith, the pandemic, and the environment.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr William McCaughey said: “We’re proud to be supporting Good Relations Week for yet another year. We hope this week of events will inspire new ideas and promote respect and understanding in our future generations. Armed with these skills and knowledge, there is no stopping our young people.

“Good Relations Week is an excellent opportunity to celebrate all aspects of our culture and heritage, promote cultural diversity and work together to address sectarianism and racism. It’s also important for many young people who have faced isolation this past year, to reconnect and learn from their peers to foster a future that is truly beneficial to them and their local communities.”

Martin McDonald MBE, Chair of the Community Relations Council, says: “Good Relations Week 2021 will showcase over 200 highly entertaining events that will shine a light on ground-breaking projects and initiatives that tackle sectarianism and racism and promote cultural diversity – all aimed at building brighter days ahead for everyone.

“We are delighted that over 100 different event and content organisers have embraced our ‘Brighter Days Ahead’ theme and helped to shape a truly remarkable Good Relations Week 2021 that demonstrates imagination, enthusiasm, and commitment to building a united community in our everyday lives.”

Jacqueline Irwin, Chief Executive of the Community Relations Council adds: 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. We have a packed programme of face-to-face and virtual events, as well as online material. There is so much to attend, watch and experience, don’t miss it! I would encourage everyone to plan their week of events by checking out the programme at”

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. 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.

For more information on the Good Relations Week 2021 programme of events visit www.goodrelationsweek.comor keep up to date on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #GRW2021.

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Mid and East Antrim

Council Seeking Views on Regeneration of Larne

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is encouraging local businesses and the wider public to feed in their views on the proposed pedestrianisation of Dunluce Street and Lower Cross Street in Larne.

Council is currently developing an application for funding from the Department for Communities (DfC) to invest in the Public Realm in this area.

Mayor Councillor, William McCaughey said: “As part of the overall regeneration scheme we are proposing to pedestrianise both Dunluce Street and Lower Cross Street, and to extend the public footway on Bridge Street by removing the two on-street parking bays.

“We envisage that by pedestrianising the two streets it will create a vibrant and attractive space with the opportunity to develop a café culture and a plaza type area to host small events that will increase footfall in Larne town centre.”

Cllr McKeen, Chair of Councils Borough Growth Committee, said: “A few years ago public realm improvement works were completed in Larne with significant investment put into new streetscape, furniture and lighting, however this work did not extend to Dunluce Street and Lower Cross Street.

“It is hoped that the regeneration works will act as a catalyst for further private and public sector investment in Larne, and with the development of a new hotel planned for this area in the near future now is an opportune time to focus on upgrading Dunluce Street and Lower Cross Street to further enhance the area as a whole.”

In order to assist in the preparation of the funding bid and associated planning application Council are actively seeking the views of businesses located in the area and also from the wider public.

Cllr McCaughey said: “We want to hear from you on your perceptions of this area and your opinion on the proposed pedestrianisation of Dunluce Street and Lower Cross Street.

“An online survey has been created and I would encourage as many of you as possible to complete it before the 20 September deadline.” The online survey and proposal plans may be inspected by visiting here.

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