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KENNEDY CENTRE INTRODUCES RELAXED SANTA VISITS

KENNEDY CENTRE INTRODUCES RELAXED SANTA VISITS

Kennedy Centre
Pictured with Adam Lockheart is Santa, Angela Lamont from Enchanted Events and John Jones, Centre Manager for Kennedy Centre

West Belfast’s Kennedy Centre – often dubbed ‘Curley’s’ – is leading the way forward on accessibility and inclusivity this Christmas with extended support for children with additional needs when visiting the centre’s magical Christmas dome to meet-and-greet Father Christmas.

Teaming up with Enchanted Events, Kennedy Centre is offering relaxed Santa sessions this holiday season for children with additional needs. Relaxed Santa sessions cater for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), physical disabilities and other additional needs by opening the centre from 9am to 1pm every Sunday until Christmas so that any potential anxiety or mobility issues caused by large crowds of Christmas shoppers is alleviated. Centre retailers also remain closed and no noise or music is emitted from PA systems.

Recent reports show a 67% increase in the incidence rate of school age children diagnosed with ASD rising from 4,570 to 6,046 between 2011/12 and 2014/15 (Department of Health and Social Care, 2015) further cementing the need for such services in public venues.

Commenting this year’s relaxed Santa sessions, John Jones, Centre Manager, said:

“Kennedy Centre has always been a cornerstone of the community here in West Belfast. We are a community-based shopping centre and with that comes the responsibility to ensure we take into consideration the additional needs and support members of the community within the catchment area require.

“We’re delighted to have the Enchanted Events team return to Kennedy Centre again this Christmas to support us as we continue to deliver our services to all members of the local community.”

Now widely adopted in Northern Ireland, Kennedy Centre is largely credited for introducing the concept to fast-paced shopping centres in 2015.

“Visiting Santa should be a magical and memorable experience; one without mobility issues or anxiety. However, not all children are afforded this luxury. Similar relaxed Santa sessions are now a regular feature in the Christmas events calendars of shopping centres throughout Northern Ireland, who open their doors at midday on Sundays. But, Kennedy Centre is leading the way forward by extending these sessions from 9am until centre opening hours of 1pm,” explained Angela Lamont, owner of Enchanted Events.

Should a child become anxious, frightened or if access issues arise during their visit, Santa will greet them at a more convenient point around the Christmas installation for photographs.

Kennedy Centre relaxed Santa sessions take place every Sunday (9am – 1pm) until December 18th.

For more information, contact Kennedy Centre on 028 9030 0734 or visit www.kennedycentre.co.uk.

SNEAK PEEK: LISBURN CITY CENTRE GIFT GUIDE 2016

SNEAK PEEK: LISBURN CITY CENTRE GIFT GUIDE 2016

Sneak peek into the new and first ever Lisburn City Centre Gift Guide for Christmas. Rumour Mill PR worked with Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council to produce a 50 page booklet on gift guides for her, him and kids plus much more form  recipes, competitions and discount vouchers. Out now.

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*only a snapshot of the booklet. Prices are for guidance, please check instores for more details.

Artwork by Oranga Design

PINOCCHIO COMES ALIVE AT THE MAC THIS CHRISTMAS

PINOCCHIO COMES ALIVE AT THE MAC THIS CHRISTMAS

pinocchio-comes-alive-this-christmas-at-the-mac-pic-2This Christmas the MAC, Belfast’s multi award-winning arts venue, is thrilled to introduce a new generation of theatre-goers to the magic of Pinocchio. The modern retelling of the classic tale by the hugely successful children’s theatre company Cahoots NI, is proudly sponsored by Phoenix Natural Gas and will take to the stage over the festive period from Tuesday 29 November until Sunday 1st January 2017.

This is the simple story of a puppet who longed to be a real boy. Searching for a family to call his own, Pinocchio’s adventures take him to school, to The Land of Grand Illusions and ultimately back to his father Gepetto in his quest to become a real boy.

This family musical is perfect for six years plus, but younger audiences will enjoy the live music and the dazzling magic that local company Cahoots NI is renowned for. Directed by Paul Bosco McEneaney, expect thrilling acts of illusion that will leave you bewildered.

Paul explains: “The story starts with us meeting Gepetto, who like every parent, doesn’t always get it right. In his wood cabin one magical day, he begins to work on his latest carving and can’t believe it when that piece of wood begins to talk back. Young audiences will love seeing Pinocchio come to life, literally, on stage.

He then gets into all sorts of mis-adventures and antics but you’ll be willing him to do the right thing along the way. In the end, it’s not about Pinocchio being naughty or telling the odd white lie, but about the age-old truth that children need to discover the world for themselves. We’ve worked hard to create a magical, but realistic world for Pinocchio on stage – we recommend that you keep your eyes peeled as there will be things going on that you just won’t quite believe.”

Speaking about this year’s family show, Simon Magill, Creative Director at the MAC said:

“I’m so pleased that we’re working with Cahoots NI again in this all-new coproduction. We have promised to bring the magic of Pinocchio to local audiences this Christmas at the MAC. It’s a classic tale that many of us are familiar with, but Cahoots NI have done an incredible job in making it their own; this is sure to unlike anything you’ll have seen before.

“As a creative hub for everyone, the MAC works hard to ignite the imaginations of all our visitors from young to old. That’s why we have put lots in place to surround the Christmas show so that from the moment you step into the building, the whole experience is magical. From Gepetto’s log cabin, recreated in our front window to the amazing Phoenix Wishing Wood created by artists on the ground floor where families can place their Christmas wish, there’s lots happening for all ages – much of it free.

So, if you’ve never been before, I’d highly recommend a visit to the MAC over the Christmas period – even just to pop in to check out our free family room and huge Christmas tree, everyone is welcome.”

Cathy Magovern, Marketing Manager at Phoenix Natural Gas, said:

“After 20 years in Northern Ireland, Phoenix Natural Gas is at the heart of many homes and we are delighted to continue to support growing families through sponsoring the MAC’s Christmas production of Pinocchio. It’s an exciting production and a world-class creative venue which we are proud to sponsor this holiday season.

We’re particularly looking forward to opening the very special Phoenix Wishing Wood in the heart of the MAC, as a free experience for families when they visit. Simply make a wish at the Phoenix Wishing Well and Phoenix will be making that wish come true for one lucky child this festive season. Soak up the magic of the MAC as it sparks the imagination to inspire your wishes, and it could be your family having a dream come true this Christmas.”

Tickets for Pinocchio at the MAC are now available, priced at £10 for children and £16-25 for adults. For more information about the show or to book a ticket, visit themaclive.com or call the MAC on (028) 9023 5053.

 

ENDS

SPOON STREET SERVES UP A THIRD STORE

SPOON STREET SERVES UP A THIRD STORE

(L-R) Harry Wang and Katie Waddell celebrating their third Spoon Street store on Lisburn Road Pic 1
Harry Wang and Katie Waddell celebrating their third Spoon Street store on Lisburn Road

Spoon Street, the brand largely credited for introducing the recent frozen yogurt craze to Northern Ireland, opened the doors to its third store on the Lisburn Road in South Belfast. The opening of this new Lisburn Road self-serve ‘froyo’ branch, which is creating 13 local jobs, marks yet another milestone in the brand’s short history here – three thriving stores in just over two years.

First experiencing self-serve frozen yogurt while working in New Jersey, entrepreneurial couple Katie Waddell (24) and fiancé Harry Wang (31) soon adopted the US-inspired concept and began the process of transporting it to Northern Ireland in 2014.

A relatively new phenomenon to Northern Irish taste buds, ‘froyo’ – a popular acronym used to describe the treat – is a frozen dessert most commonly made from yogurt and is a popular treat of choice among young consumers.

Growth in the frozen yogurt market has been significant in the UK. Frozen yogurt is a healthier alternative to ice cream by as many as two in five ice cream and frozen yogurt users* which highlights the potential for the segment to grow further.

Spoon Street has garnered endless awards and built up a strong, loyal customer base in a relatively short period. Speaking on the opening of the Lisburn Road store, co-owner of Spoon Street, Katie Waddell, said:

“This new store marks our commitment to expanding our business offering in Northern Ireland and is reflective of our success. This is our biggest opening to date and we have introduced new state-of-the-art technology to elevate our service delivery and ensure our customer experience is first-class. We are trying to create a multi-media experience and customers can now expect to find tablet flavour screens, iPad POS systems with customer display units, feature lighting and an area dedicated to screening family-friendly films.

“It was only last month that we celebrated the two-year anniversary since the opening of our Ballyhackamore store in East Belfast. We had always set out to create a chain, one that embraced creativity in a fun setting and the Lisburn Road was the next logical step in that process, bringing the Spoon Street brand to an entire new audience.”

Talking on the job creation, Katie adds:
“As we continue to expand the Spoon Street brand, we are also continuing to grow the Spoon Street family. We’re delighted that the anticipation and expected customer-base around opening of our newest store has allowed us to create an additional 13 jobs.”

Built upon a motto of cool creativity, Spoon Street affords consumers complete freedom in creating their preferred frozen yogurt treat; from self-serving the yogurt itself, to the broad choice of toppings which include, but are not limited to, mixed fruit, berries and nuts, as well as more indulgent options such as jellies, biscuits and all manner of chocolatey treats.

Spoon Street prides itself on the ability to source weird and wonderful toppings from around the world, such as Japanese Mochi, Taiwanese juice balls and coconut jelly. It also offers a wide range of dietary requirements including dairy free options, gluten free options, lactose free options, sugar free options and vegan friendly options.

For more information, visit www.spoonstreet.com or connect via Facebook and Twitter.

ENDS