- NI 100 programme unveiled by Council
Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council has launched its NI 100 programme to coincide with Northern Ireland’s 100th anniversary.
Marking a century since Northern Ireland’s inception on May 3rd 1921, Council has created a wide range of initiatives including civic events, exhibitions, tree planting and an interactive documentary series developed in partnership with Ulster University.
Launched against the iconic backdrop of the Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland’s only World Heritage Site, the once-in-a-life anniversary encourages us to ‘Glance Back, Look Forward’ while showcasing Causeway Coast and Glens’ unique achievements, people and places.
The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Alderman Mark Fielding said: “As Mayor of the Borough I am honoured to introduce our NI 100 programme of events on the occasion of Northern Ireland’s centenary. As a Council we want to mark this important date by focussing on our Borough and its place within Northern Ireland. We have a rich past and generations of people who have made an enormous contribution to all facets of life throughout the past century and into the present day.
We’re proud of where we live and we want to showcase this through our programme of events which will take place between now and the end of the year.”
Councillor Knight McQuillan added: “The development of our NI 100 initiative has brought together all aspects of Council to create a varied programme which we are delighted to share with you today.
“This week, the Mayor will plant a native oak tree in each of our District Electoral Areas with further community tree planting planned for later in the year. There’ll be online exhibitions, including one which will shine a light on 100 of the Borough’s famous sons and daughters and another featuring our Good Relations creative arts competition. Commemorative coins will be presented to the centenarians of 2021 while we’ll also be recognising those organisations or businesses in the Borough who celebrate their 100th anniversary this year.
“We also want our communities to get involved by holding their own activities and projects which Council will support through our NI 100 Small Grant Programme. It remains open until noon on Wednesday 5th May so please get your application in.”
“It is our aim to build a shared understanding of our collective history in a way that can build good relations and I would encourage all of our residents to engage with the programme to help us achieve this.”
Later this month, the Freedom of the Borough, Council’s highest civic accolade, will be bestowed on Royal Portrush Golf Club in recognition of its successful hosting of The 148th Open in 2019.
The programme of events will run throughout 2021 with other highlights including an Eat Local Celebration in association with Taste Causeway which will celebrate our thriving local food sector, the installation of a commemorative stained glass window in Coleraine Town Hall and an interschools event which will celebrate the unifying power of sport.
- Queen sends centenary message
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth has sent a message to the people of Northern Ireland.
“A century ago, the Government of Ireland Act came into effect, and today marks a significant centenary for both the United Kingdom and Ireland. This anniversary reminds us of our complex history, and provides an opportunity to reflect on our togetherness and our diversity.
In Northern Ireland today, there is, perhaps more than ever, a rich mix of identities, backgrounds and aspirations, and an outward-looking and optimistic mindset. The political progress in Northern Ireland and the peace process is rightly credited to a generation of leaders who had the vision and courage to put reconciliation before division. But above all, the continued peace is a credit to its people, upon whose shoulders the future rests.
It is clear that reconciliation, equality and mutual understanding cannot be taken for granted, and will require sustained fortitude and commitment. During my many visits to Northern Ireland, I have seen these qualities in abundance, and look forward to seeing them again on future occasions.
I also wish to recognise the important contribution made by our friends and closest neighbours towards the success of Northern Ireland. I look back with fondness on the visit Prince Philip and I paid to Ireland, ten years ago this month. I treasure my many memories, and the spirit of goodwill I saw at first hand.
Across generations, the people of Northern Ireland are choosing to build an inclusive, prosperous, and hopeful society, strengthened by the gains of the peace process. May this be our guiding thread in the coming years.
I send my warmest good wishes to the people of Northern Ireland.
- Foster and O’Neill praise preparations for re-opening of sectors
First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minster Michelle O’Neill have praised the efforts of businesses, organisations and individuals across sectors in preparing for reopening.
The Ministers said the resumption of more services and activities from tomorrow are steady steps forward that will make a significant difference.
Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill were speaking as they visited the Mid Ulster Sports Arena in Cookstown ahead of the return of competitive sports from tomorrow, 23 April.
The full range of relaxations coming into effect from 23 April are:
- Re-opening of close contact services, including training;
- Resumption of driving instruction and theory tests;
- Driving testing can resume;
- Competitive outdoor sport organised by a club, individual or individuals affiliated, with participant numbers not exceeding 100 and no spectators permitted, can return
- Outdoor sport organised by a club, individual or individuals affiliated extended to include squad training;
- Re-opening of outdoor visitor attractions including outdoor activity centres;
- Resumption of Equine Assisted Therapy and Learning (EATL) on an indoor and outdoor basis in gatherings of up to 30 people; and
- Static band practice/rehearsal will be permitted in agreed outdoor locations.
First Minister Arlene Foster said: “Thanks to the efforts of people across Northern Ireland, we are now ready to mark another steady but important step forward on our road to recovery.
“Our focus as we move out of restrictions has been on young people, families, wellbeing, and restarting our economy. The relaxations that are now coming into effect, and those that will follow before the end of the month, will make an enormous difference to the wellbeing of people and our economic recovery.
“I am grateful and proud to see the impressive levels of innovation and energy from businesses and organisations, across all sectors, to ensure a safe and smooth re-opening of services and activities. We must all continue to do our bit to stop the spread of Covid-19 to enable us to keep moving forward.”
Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “Tomorrow is a day that many have been looking forward to, as some of the things that are so important to people will open up again.
“The success of our vaccination programme, coupled with the efforts of the public, has enabled us to make good headway and we are beginning to see the benefits as we gradually restart our society. These next steps represent more positive progress. The relaxations coming into effect – from the reopening of our hairdressers, to the resumption of competitive sport – are good news for people’s physical and emotional wellbeing. And it’s great news for those businesses and workers who will be able to restart.
“Incredible work has taken place across sectors to ensure they are operating in the safest possible environment. We must all do everything we can to stay on top of the virus and support more progress.”
- Let’s go Nordic walking
Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Sports Development Team is offering residents of all fitness levels the chance to try Nordic walking.
A series of six guided group walks, using Nordic walking poles, will take place across some of the Borough’s most beautiful forests, parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty during May and June.
Each walk will begin at 11am and last between 60 to 90 minutes. They have been graded with a difficulty level of low, medium and high, allowing everyone the chance to enjoy a group walk at a pace and location that is suitable to them.
The Nordic Walk dates are: May 6th at Garvagh Forest, May 13th at Mountsandel Forest, May 20th at Roe Valley Country Park, May 27th at Portballintrae, June 3rd at Castlerock and June 10th at Ballypatrick Forest, Ballycastle.
Nordic walking has been shown to offer many health benefits including weight loss, strengthening muscles, bones and joints, improving heart and lung health, boosting circulation and helping mental health.
The cost per walk is £2, which includes use of sanitised walking poles, with a maximum of 20 participants (2 x groups of 10).
You can register for individual walks or the full series by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Mayor expresses condolences on death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip
The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council has expressed his sincere condolences on the death of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
Alderman Mark Fielding said: “On behalf of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council I wish to express my profound sadness and deepest sympathies on hearing the news that His Royal Highness Prince Philip has died.
“The Duke of Edinburgh has supported Her Majesty The Queen in her Royal duties for more than 70 years and his unfailing service and dedication to the nation will remain an inspiration to us all.
“Through his stalwart support of charities and the lasting legacy of The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, Prince Philip has had an incredibly positive impact on the lives of so many, including many young people here in the Borough.
“His loss will be mourned across our community, our nation, the Commonwealth and beyond.
“I had the privilege of meeting HRH Prince Philip during Her Majesty The Queen’s visit to Coleraine in 2014 and to Royal Portrush Golf Club in 2016, and Prince Philip’s charm and humour was evident to all who met him on both occasions.
“I wish to express my sincere sympathy to Her Majesty The Queen and to all members of the Royal Family on this sad day. As a Borough our thoughts and prayers are with them all at this difficult time.”
Flags at the main Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council civic buildings have been lowered to half-mast as a mark of respect.
A Book of Condolence to allow members of the public to share their own sympathies and pay their respects will also be opened.
- Council shows support for World Autism Awareness Day
Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council is marking World Autism Awareness Day by shining blue lights on Cloonavin today (Friday 2nd April 2021).
It’s part of an annual campaign to raise awareness about autistic spectrum disorders including autism and Asperger syndrome.
The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Alderman Mark Fielding said: “Following a request from Councillor Margaret Anne McKillop, Cloonavin, like many other landmarks and buildings around the world, will be illuminated in blue light this evening as a sign of our support for those living with these conditions in our communities, their family members and wider support networks.
“Autism NI is calling on all of us ‘to be kind to different minds’ and I hope this is something we can all pledge to live by. We all have a duty to demonstrate respect and understanding to our family members, friends, colleagues and neighbours who are a part of the autism community.
“Everyone deserves to live in an inclusive society and I’m pleased that we are able to express our commitment to this by lighting up Cloonavin on World Autism Awareness Day.”
You can find out more, including information about autism support services, by going towww.autismni.org.
- Cloonavin to light up in memory of lives lost in the pandemic
Cloonavin will light up in yellow tonight (Tuesday 23rdMarch 2021) as Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council takes part in a tribute to those who have lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The gesture, which comes on the anniversary of the first pandemic lockdown, follows a request from Brenda Doherty, whose mother Ruth Burke was one of the first people to lose her life to coronavirus in Northern Ireland.
Since March last year, the virus has claimed the lives of more than 125,000 people across the UK, with more than 2000 of those deaths here in Northern Ireland.
The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Alderman Mark Fielding, said: The pandemic has taken an immense toll on communities, families and each of us individually. The profound sadness of losing so many lives cannot be overstated and it is important to commemorate this loss and express our solidarity with those whose loved ones have passed away.
“Alongside this, the pandemic has also seen truly inspiring examples of strength and resilience from healthcare professionals, essential workers, our community and voluntary sector and families whose day-to-lives have been changed by home-schooling and working from home.
“I hope this day of reflection will bring comfort and demonstrate our support for the bereaved as we collectively remember the lives that have been lost. Together, we can look forward with a sense of renewed hope for the future and brighter days ahead.”
A year on from the onset of the pandemic, Northern Ireland’s vaccination programmes continues at pace and some school pupils have returned to the classroom for the first time since Christmas.
Alongside this, it’s important that we continue to work together to stop the spread of COVID-19 by:
- Follow all public health advice.
- Regularly wash our hands.
- Wear a face covering where required.
- Practice social distancing.
- RNLI lifeguards ready for a summer of ‘staycations’
The RNLI has been working with partners behind the scenes through the challenges of lockdown to recruit, train and prepare their lifeguards for what is expected to be another busy summer on Northern Ireland’s beaches.
The charity will deliver their usual lifeguard service across the Causeway Coast and in county Down this year, in its standard phased approach. Five beaches on the Causeway Coast will go on service for the Easter period, with a daily patrol from Good Friday, 2 April to Sunday, 11 April. RNLI lifeguards will then start a weekend service on the same beaches along with Tyrella in county Down from Saturday 1 May, prior to the full-time daily season starting on all 11 beaches on Saturday 26 June.
In 2020, RNLI lifeguards in Northern Ireland responded to 225 incidents and came to the aid of 285 people, six of whom were lives saved.
Lifeguards responded to a range of incidents and performed various actions including water rescues, casualty care and minor first aid as well as helping to reunite missing children with their families.
During last year’s season, there were approximately 358,412 visitors to RNLI lifeguarded beaches. In addition to rescues, lifeguards carried out thousands ofpreventative actions to keep visitors safe. This work included providing safety advice to people on weatherand sea conditions as well as conducting timelyinterventions to ensure visitors were on the safest area of the beach and in the correct flag zone for theirspecific activity.
Speaking ahead of the Easter period which will see a daily patrol from 11am to 7pm on Benone, Portstewart, Portrush East, Portrush West and Whiterocks until Sunday, 11 April, Karl O’Neill, RNLI Lead Lifeguard Supervisor, said:
‘RNLI lifeguards are at the forefront of the charity’s lifesaving work, offering preventative safety advice to visitors and rescuing those in difficulty in the water. Not only do they receive the best training but the best equipment too, so they are able to deal with any emergency situation as professional first responders.
‘Each year the RNLI works in partnership with our local authorities and landowners to set up and roll out the lifeguard service, which is complex in normal times even without the challenges of doing so during a pandemic. However, we have been here before, and with the added benefit of being able to plan ahead, we have developedcontingencies should things change.
‘The protocols and measures introduced last year because of coronavirus will continue. We are working with local authorities and landowners, who ask us to provide a lifeguard service on their beaches, to make sure the environment for lifeguards to return to is safe.We will continue to monitor the risk to our people and the public in relation to the pandemic.’
The daily full-time seasonal service will be extended to Downhill, Castlerock and Ballycastle on the Causeway Coast and to Murlough and Cranfield in county Downfrom Saturday 26 June.
The RNLI is encouraging the public to follow government advice on social distancing, travel and contact with others when visiting the beach to keep themselves and our lifeguards safe.
Michael Thompson, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager, said:
‘RNLI lifeguards play a vital role in keeping beach visitors safe, but they can’t be everywhere, so will be supported by the charity’s 24/7 lifeboat service and water safety work. This comprehensive water safety education programme involves working with partners, local communities and the public to helpeveryone enjoy a safe visit to the coast.
‘Coastal areas provide a great opportunity to enjoy fresh air and open space but it is important to remember it can be an unpredictable and dangerous environment, particually during spring and early summer when air temperatures are warm but water temperatures remain dangerously cold, increasing the risk of cold water shock. We’d therefore remind anyone entering the water to take extra care and avoid unessessary risks as early season conditions are more challenging.
‘Whatever your chosen activity though, basic precautions can greatly reduce the risk of getting into difficulty, and also improve your chance of being found quickly should you need rescuing. For activities like kayaking and paddleboarding we’d recommend you carry a means of calling for help on your person, such as a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch, and ensure you are wearing the right kit. A wetsuit will keep you warm and help you float in an emergency, but wearing an appropriate buoyany aid or lifejacket is still vital. For open water swimmers and dippers, please also remember to aclimatise slowly and be visible with a bright hat.’
The RNLI is urging anyone choosing to visit the coast to make sure they keep themselves and their families safe by following beach safety advice along with the government’s advice on travel and social distancing:
• Visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags
• Check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage to understand local risks
• If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float.
• In an emergency dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
You can keep up to date with relevant water safety advice on social media by searching #RespectTheWater so that you can have an enjoyable and safe time at the coast.
If you are a local business near the coast you can help the RNLI share key water safety messages and save lives by becoming a local amabassdaor. As a local ambassador you can help be the eyes and ears in your community by helping the RNLI share important water safety messages with more people. To find out more visit: https://rnli.org/support-us/volunteer/volunteering-opportunities/rnli-local-ambassador
- Mayor voices support for Census 2021
The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council is calling on all residents to recognise the importance of participating in the 2021 Census.
Alderman Mark Fielding made his appeal ahead of Census Day on Sunday 21st March.
For the first time, the census is taking place predominantly online via a digital form, with paper versions available on request.
In his message, the Mayor said: “The information collected in the census is hugely significant. It will help to shape the planning and funding of services we all rely on, including education, transport and health. The provision of vital facilities like schools, doctors’ surgeries, hospitals and libraries is informed by census data.
“This is our opportunity to help influence how public money is allocated and how services are planned. By completing your form, you will help to create an accurate overview of the needs of our population which will determine future investment across the area.
“Your individual digital census form can be conveniently completed online and will take less than 20 minutes per household to complete or you can ask for a hard copy instead. Whatever your preference, please remember to do this before Census Day on March 21st, or as soon as possible afterwards.
“I hope all our residents recognise the importance of the census and play their part in shaping our future.”
The census takes place every 10 years, and in 2011 it counted 53,722 households in Causeway Coast & Glens made up of 140,877 people.
For more information or guidance go www.census.gov.uk/ni or follow @NICensus2021 on Facebook and Twitter.
- Apply now for Causeway Coast and Glens PCSP rural crime prevention scheme
The rural community across Causeway Coast and Glens is being urged to sign up for an innovative crime prevention scheme before the final deadline later this month.
The successful pilot project, initiated by Causeway Coast and Glens Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) and the PSNI, aims to tackle the blight of rural crime.
Applications made up until today (Friday 5th March) will be assessed for eligibility next week.
If you can’t meet this deadline, there’s another opportunity to apply by Friday 29th March.
The scheme, in partnership with Cantrack Global Ltd, supports farmers and rural dwellers to install tracking devices which act as a theft deterrent, helping to protect and track valuable agricultural equipment.
Successful selected applicants will benefit from a subsidised PROTECT tracking unit alongside a reduction in the cost of an annual subscription for the first year. This allows monitoring and tracking to assist in the recovery of stolen vehicles and equipment