Blog : Public Relations



The much loved Six by Nico restaurant in Belfast will once again open its doors on Wednesday 15th July serving up ‘The Chippie’ menu.

The conceptual dining experience is the brainchild of Scottish-Italian chef, Nico Simeone – the man behind the cherished restaurant brand.

Following 12 weeks of closure due to Covid-19, the team can reveal that the eagerly anticipated first six-week menu is ‘The Chippie 2.0’. The popular theme first introduced to launch the Belfast restaurant in 2019 has been elevated and refined to offer Six by Nico customers an extraordinary new food and drink adventure.

‘The Chippie 2.0’ will re-ignite the series of evolving concepts – which includes a six-course tasting-menu, providing a nostalgic nod to the traditional fish and chip shop. Items on the menu are creatively re-imaged with an extra contemporary twist, giving people a fun and unexpected dining experience.

Dishes on ‘The Chippie 2.0’ menu includes; Chips & Cheese (Parmesan Espuma & Crisp / Curry Oil / Brandade Croquette / Vinegar Powder / Brown Sauce); Scrabster Monkfish(Cheek / Dill Emulsion / Gribiche / Peas / Beurre Blanc); Steak Pie (Speyside Beef Shin / Burnt Onion Ketchup / Mushroom Duxelle / ‘Meaty Salsa’); Fish Supper (Shetland Cod / Pickled Mussels / Confit Fennel / Samphire / Beer Emulsion; Smoked Sausage (Trio of Pork / Apple / Black Pudding / Salt Baked Celeriac / Choucroute) and finally back by very popular demand, Deep Fried Mars Bar for dessert (Chocolate Pave / Blood Orange Sorbet / Cocoa Nib). A separate vegetarian menu is also available.

Chef Nico Simeone said; “The Chippie was originally designed to bring a sense of fun and nostalgia, and when talking to our team and Six by Nico community about which menu we wanted to re-open with, it was clear we wanted to bring those feelings back.

When we first opened here in Belfast, ‘The Chippie’ was hugely popular so not only does this mean our existing customers get the opportunity to experience a new version, but it gives us the chance to share it with even more people the second time around”.

The restaurant will re-open with a reduced capacity, allowing 60 guests to dine in one sitting.

Nico added; “I’m really proud of the work the team has put in behind the scenes throughout the pandemic. The Six by Nico experience is something that is really special to us and while we have a reduced capacity, the experience will not be compromised.”

Six by Nico continue to work extremely hard behind the scenes to make everything as safe for their team and customers as possible. With this in mind, they have introduced a new ‘Wellbeing’ policy across their restaurants in line with UK government guidelines. Please visit, to learn more.

In April, Chef Nico Simeone launched Home by Nico across Belfast, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh to allow people to experience Six by Nico in their homes. Home delivery kits proved a huge success from the restaurant brand serving over 100,00 customers during lockdown. Home by Nico will be paused as the teams focus on re-opening all Six by Nico restaurants and plans for the food delivery business will be revealed later this year. Six by Nico London, located in Fitzrovia, will also open for the first time ever on Monday July 20th.

Diners can book a table now for ‘The Chippie 2.0’, which runs from Wednesday 15th July – Sunday 6th September 2020. Open from midday, Monday through to Sunday, each six-course menu will be available from noon to night. The menu will be priced at £29 per person and diners will have the option to enjoy an expertly selected wine pairing for an additional £26. ‘The Chippie’ themed snacks of Sourdough Bread, Shellfish Butter and Filo Cannelloni / Taramasalata / Lemon Gel / Keta Caviar are also available at £5 per person.

From today, Six by Nico bookings are now live. To make a reservation or to find out more, visit



One of Northern Ireland’s award-winning theatre companies, Prime Cut Productions, is delighted to announce a new cohort of artists for their latest programme, Reveal 2020. After an extensive recruitment campaign, five new recruits are joining the company and will be working on various collaborative projects over the next two years.

With a surge of interest in the programme, came over ten times as many applications as there were places to fill, highlighting the need for greater support for independent Northern Ireland artists. The quality of submissions exceeded the expectations of the Prime Cut team, making the decision to choose the final five a challenge, given the calibre of talent.

The new artists are; Dominic Montague, Reveal Artist; Katie Richardson, Reveal Artist; Natalie Murphy, Associate Producer and Michael Patrick and Oisin Kearney, who received the Reveal Playwriting Commission.

This latest Reveal Programme was supported by prestigious arts funding from leading independent funder Jerwood Arts’ Development Programme Fund, the Funding and Development Agency and Arts Council Northern Ireland.

Emma Jordan: Artistic Director of Prime Cut Productions said: “Now more than ever the necessity of supporting NI independent theatre artists is crucial in creating a society in which we can all be proud to belong to. In these challenging times along with our basic necessities we need artists with the vision of our new cohort to try and help us make sense of a world which has altered irrevocably in the past few months.

Una NicEoin, Executive Producer of Prime Cut Productions said: “There was huge interest in Reveal and the quality of the applications was second to none, making our job in selecting the final four roles extremely difficult. It’s testament to the creativity and tenacity of Northern Ireland’s independent artists and we look ahead to an exciting couple of years with the Reveal programme. Given current circumstances this is a challenging time for all, especially the arts sector. We must continue to support, protect and nurture our local talent. Therefore, our aim is maintaining the successes of previous Reveal Programmes ensuring the artists get the recognition they deserve.”

Lilli Geissendorfer, Director, Jerwood Arts said: “We congratulate the five artists on their appointment. The Reveal programme has proved to be a huge success in previous years. Since 2014, with investment from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and latterly Jerwood Arts, Prime Cut Productions has made and co-produced work with eight Reveal Artists that have led to three internationally touring award-winning shows, a further four showcasing at Dublin and Edinburgh Fringe as well as Island of Ireland Tours, ongoing career development for many more and two major industry events. We have no doubt these five artists will develop powerful new work for Reveal 2020.”

The Reveal programme has proved to be a huge success in previous years. Since 2014, with investment from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and latterly Jerwood Arts, Prime Cut Productions has made and co-produced work with eight Reveal Artists that have led to three internationally touring award-winning shows, a further four showcasing at Dublin and Edinburgh Fringe as well as Island of Ireland Tours, ongoing career development for many more and two major industry events.

Established in 1992, the Prime Cut Productions ethos has been to delve into subjects that matter across various communities; making international work that resonates with local audiences.



Communication is the cornerstone of every organisation’s success. It’s even more important in times of crisis. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic is having an affect on everyone and there are no signs of the spread slowing down anytime soon.

As the news unfolds daily, we are in unprecedented times that no one could predict. Quite often a crisis communications strategy is on standby in the instances of avoiding a certain situation. No matter how large or small, your business or organisation will not be able to avoid what is going on right now.

It is however key to have a communications plan in place that will assist in you sharing accurate, honest and trustworthy information, both internally and externally.

External Communications

It would be a real luxury to have a communications plan in place for COVID-19, but we did not predict the severity of its impact.  Now is the time to put communications into play – if you already have some form of communications plan in place, great. It is most likely changing daily as the government guidelines are continuously evolving. If you have no comms plan in place, you must!


Know your tone of voice and team member(s) the messaging should come from. It is important that the messaging is trustworthy and from a reliable member of the team or management.


At times like this, communications can feel overwhelming. Ensure all content shared is factual, having following guidance from professional or government guidelines.


Depending on the nature of your business or organisation, you may already use a variety of communication outlets. Emails, marketing material and social media will all have their uses. In times like these, social media is of great benefit to generate proactive messaging which is essential during a crisis. Using social media channels allows for content to be updated regularly and accurately. However close media monitoring should be implemented.

Internal Communications

Not only is this a troublesome time for your clients or customers, you most likely will have staff to think about. Do not overlook your employees or avoid communicating with them. This may lead to:

  1. Employees becoming worried and confused
  2. Employees being misinformed
  3. Chaos and negative atmosphere develops within the workplace causing disruption to operations

Management should keep things simple in a time of crisis: Be honest and produce facts.

We have provided valuable crisis communications support over the years. We will never forget when the famous NI tourist attraction, The Gobbins opened, then five months later had to close suddenly Dec 31st…we managed the comms for this as the bells rang in the New Year. Crisis comms at its finest!

Remember, effective crisis communications can define or destroy your business. Having a helping hand can save you precious time, resources and reputation. If you would like to find out more about how Rumour Mill could help, get in touch today at



United Wines is delighted to announce the launch of i heart Gin into Northern Ireland.

As current distributors of the Freixenet Copestick’s i heart Wine range, United Wines is working to promote this latest addition to the best-selling range. The introduction of i heart Gin also marks a move by Freixenet Copestick’s into spirits for the first time. The launch brings two new gins to the ever-growing spirits market, i heart Gin & i heart Pink Gin, just in time for Mother’s Day and Easter.

Gin is considered to be a favourite spirit to enjoy by the Northern Ireland consumer. Gin sales have increased by 40% in the past 12 months in the UK, according to WSTA, (Wine and spirits trade Association, 2020) proving that the spirit market is in high demand.

The move into spirits is starting with a 40% abv classic juniper gin alongside a 37.5% abv pink gin which is flavoured with strawberry, juniper and herbs.

Emma Haughian, United Wines Brand Manager said: “We are delighted to expand the availability of i heart Gin within key Northern Ireland stores.  We have had great success with the i heart brand previously and to have this latest gin as a brand-new option, we anticipate there will be a real draw for consumers. Gin sales are on the increase here and having two flavours in the range is an added bonus.”

I heart Gin and i heart Pink Gin are available in all participating good independent retailers from 1st March 2020, RRP: £16/17. The launch will be supported with a social media influencer campaign and in store visibility drive.



Gander, a world-first award-winning app created to reduce food waste, has transformed the spending habits of Northern Ireland shoppers with a significant soar in downloads and increased sales of yellow stickered foods since its launch last August.

Earmarking Northern Ireland as the initial launch pad for the app, over 41,000 downloads have taken place in the last four months, placing it in the top 12% of apps nationally. In addition, up to 45% more reduced-price food have sold which means 45% more has been kept from going to waste. These improvements mean that stores on average are selling between 85-100% of their reduced product shown on Gander, with yellow-stickered items selling 40% quicker since the introduction of Gander; and often at higher prices as shoppers are interested in getting the reduction as soon as it appears.

Gander integrates directly with a retailers POS which enables retailers to automatically display to shoppers in real-time all reduced-to-clear food on the shelves within their local store.  Furthermore, Gander does this automatically, meaning nothing changes in store at all and no additional staff training. The app allows the customer ultimate control over what reduced priced goodies they search for, whether it is by location, favourite stores, reduction, food type and even dietary.

Speaking on the success, one of Gander’s founders, Ashley Osborne says: “The traction and growth of Gander has been amazing. We had expected a decent level of interest, but never envisaged the degree of downloads – especially when only trialled in Northern Ireland initially. The level of positive buy-in demonstrated by customers and retailers alike has been phenomenal and testament that Gander’s proposition is a great fit for consumers out there.

“Customer feedback has been incredibly supportive and the interest in high quality reduced food is impressive, now that they can actually see what is available whereas previously you would have to go to the store and hope to find something reduced. Plus, shoppers are feeling empowered thanks to Gander, aiding them to be more sustainable in their shopping choices. This supports the app’s endeavour to decrease and prevent food waste and create a more sustainable environment has also proved highly effective.”

Ashley adds: “All in all this has led to not only a substantial reduction in surplus and waste, but an increase in overall sales of reduced items, with up to an 800% return on investment for a retailer using Gander.”

Gander launched initially by integrating with Henderson Technologies award winning EDGEPos system to display all of the yellow stickered produce from their stores in real time. Gander went live in 310 participating SPAR, EUROSPAR, ViVO and ViVOxtra stores.

Due to the successful launch of Gander, it has attracted a lot of interest from additional retailers, many of whom will be rolling out with Gander in the next few months across UK and ROI.

The Gander app can be downloaded via the Apple or Android app stores



After announcing its largest line-up to date with headliners such as Orbital, Denis Sulta, and the long-awaited return of Laurent Garnier and Fatima Yamaha, AVA has revealed a first glance of its new site plans and stages for the now outdoor festival. Set for May 28th-31st, AVA makes its debut at Boucher Road Playing Fields Belfast, along with an opening show and free conference at the MAC with closing events in the city.

In keeping with the ethos of AVA Festival, this year sees an uncompromising approach to the design and creativity, collaborating with the very best of local artists and bringing back some of the most exciting international performers to the city. The festival landscape will have a distinctive set up by merging industrial stage design with visual & electronic art and music across four enclosed intimate experiences.

The AVA Main Stage will maintain the warehouse style for the Festival, by providing a large enclosed headline-ready setting, complete with the iconic AVA lighting and visual show, set to show-case Orbital, Laurent Garnier, Denis Sulta and many more in the best possible light to Belfast.

Returning, will be the infamous Boiler Room and Red Bull Stages, AVA has sourced and will utilise shipping containers, accompanied by lighting installations designed and developed by local creative Oisin O’Brien, who runs Visual Spectrum.

‘Immerse AVA’ is a new edition and a groundbreaking concept from the team supported by Future Screens NI; the scaffolding stage will create a fully immersed ‘drenched’ like experience of light and visuals, incorporating surround sound systems to create a unique experience, that is set to tour beyond the Festival in Belfast.

Festival Director & Founder, Sarah McBriar said: “Working with a blank canvas is exciting, as the opportunities are endless. We have been developing the new site design for some time, incorporating the elements we believe will showcase the artists in the best way and make this year’s AVA experience unique.  The breadth of local and international artists in the line-up is a testament to the successes and growth of previous years. We are proud to bring AVA to one of the best crowds in the world for our sixth year running.”

Beyond the dancefloor, AVA will once again deliver a full programme of art installations and music/art/culture led conferencing at the MAC, chill spaces, local food traders, a new cocktail bar experience and visual art exhibitions, plus much more. Full festival passes can be bought online at £75 as part of a group ticket or £85 as a stand-alone, with a deposit scheme from £25. Tickets to AVA Festival are on sale via




Prime Cut Productions, one of Northern Ireland’s award-winning theatre companies is pleased to announce it has secured significant Arts funding from leading independent funder Jerwood Arts, the Funding and Development Agency and Arts Council Northern Ireland. This combined support will enable Prime Cut to continue delivering its Reveal Artist Development Programme for the next two years.

Reveal 2020 will aim to develop both individual artists and the sector through various strands of practice. In this next two-year iteration, Prime Cut is bringing on board four new practitioners in collaboration with international partners in Manchester, Paris, Sibiu, New York and Washington. It will continue to provide bespoke support to several artists developing projects independently and broader sectoral provision.

The first iteration of Reveal was delivered between 2014-18 and culminated in the Reveal-Ed Showcase in January 2019 at the MAC, Belfast where audiences had the opportunity to experience a curated variety of works created by 10 independent Northern Irish Artists including, performances in progress, rehearsed readings, short films and rare insights into artist development.

Una NicEoin, Executive Producer of Prime Cut Productions said: “Reveal was first made possible when Emma Jordan, Artistic Director of Prime Cut Productions was awarded The Paul Hamlyn Foundation Breakthrough Award in 2014 and used it to create the Programme. The aim was to empower our artists to seek out new opportunities to develop and grow both and home and abroad. We are now excited to continue doing this with vigour as we support our passionate and talented artists. The original Reveal proved extraordinarily successful, developing as it did, internationally successful shows such as Hard To Be Soft, Scorch and Removed and we look forward to being able to continue to develop and showcase thought-provoking theatre, community engagement and artist development into the future.”

Jon Opie, Deputy Director, Jerwood Arts said: We are delighted to support Prime Cut’s Reveal programme over the next two years. The company’s track record in dedicated support for performance makers in Northern Ireland is outstanding, and these new opportunities for a theatre maker, playwright and producer will provide much-needed, sustained development for them to create exceptional work at a time when there is very little direct funding in NI for independent creatives.

Caoileann Curry Thompson from Arts Council NI adds her support by saying: “Prime Cut’s ambitious and highly specialised programme of artistic development, Reveal 2020, is the only one of its kind in Northern Ireland. The programme’s reach, creative ambition and tailored nature make it an invaluable and no doubt game changing experience for any emerging artist. Prime Cut’s high artistic quality, and outward looking, progressive nature is writ large across this programme. The Arts Council Northern Ireland is proud to support this venture and look forward to see the results of its fruition.”

Established in 1992, the Prime Cut Productions ethos has been to delve into subjects that matter across various communities and isn’t afraid to shy away from Northern Ireland’s chequered past as it explores topics within society that provokes conversations about diversity, inclusion and community.



Employment initiative, Let’s Work has received just under £1.7m funding from Northern Ireland Executive’s Social Investment Fund under the Delivering Social Change framework.  The programme aims to increase employment in areas of socio-economic needs across Northern Ireland and has welcomed over 50% participation since the scheme launched in September 2019.

Carrickfergus Enterprise is project managing the scheme alongside employability specialists, Network Personnel and it is set to be completed by December 2020 as its aims to engage with up to 160 participants from the top 10% or 20% socially disadvantaged areas including: Larne, Ballymena, Carrickfergus, Newtownabbey, Antrim, Coleraine, Magherafelt, Cookstown, Moyle and Ballymoney.

The employment training programme will widen access to job opportunities and create meaningful pathways to employment.  The goals of the project include, reducing the number of unemployed people in the Social Investment Fund Northern zone, improve skill levels of long term unemployed, and increase personal confidence.

In just over 3 months, 53% of 160 participants are positively benefiting from “Let’s Work” and the next year will see further engagement to support people to enhance their skills, encourage training accreditation and convert work placements into full time equivalent roles.

Vice Chair of Carrickfergus Enterprise David McIlhagger said: “This significant investment and support for those who are unemployed is really encouraging. Our ethos at Carrickfergus Enterprise is to create jobs and we have already seen great success in terms of placing participants with key employers as well as developing participant skills and knowledge. Let’s Work encourages participants to strive toward a fresh start in employment as well as supporting businesses in gaining a skilled and knowledgeable work force. Through working closely with the project partners, we are seeing real change not only in attitudes but in lowering unemployment in lower socio-economic areas across Northern Ireland.

“Carrickfergus Enterprise has been responsible for a breadth of employability and business successes across the province.  This large-scale project can make positive changes to peoples lives and can go some way towards addressing some of the key barriers to employment and create positive news for the area.

Alex McKee from Network Personnel said, “We are delighted to be the Service Delivery Organisation for “Let’s Work”. The person-centred ethos of the project perfectly complements our existing suite of employability provision, bridging the gap for individuals who are furthest removed from the labour market and who will benefit most from a structured programme of support during their first few months of employment. By facilitating a perfect match between employer needs and participant aspirations, we can ensure a rewarding and mutually beneficial experience for both parties. “Let’s Work” is a fantastic grassroots stepping stone which will vastly enhance the long term employment prospects for a great number of people in our local communities”.

Dr Mark Browne – Director of Strategic Policy, Equality & Good Relations in the Executive Office added: “The Social Investment Fund was designed to find solutions to deliver real, lasting benefits for communities that need it most.  I am delighted that the £1.7m allocated to this project will assist with improving training and employment skill levels to enable access to job opportunities. It is great to see how this project is already benefiting those most in need across the SIF Northern Zone and adding to the great work already supported by SIF.”



The highly-anticipated ‘Silent Santa’ initiative has returned to Foyleside Shopping Centre, enabling children with particular needs to visit Father Christmas in the comfort of a quiet environment.

On Wednesday evenings from 6-8pm – which is the Centre’s staple Quiet Shopping Night of the week – families with a child who has autism or sensory difficulties can visit Santa with the Centre’s background music turned off and tannoy announcements kept to a minimum.

The Silent Santa initiative was introduced to make the experience of visiting Saint Nick inclusive and accessible to children who may potentially become anxious in the face of excessive noise, queues or crowding during busy periods.

Centre Manager of Foyleside, Fergal Rafferty, said the service has had a positive impact on visiting families in previous years.

“Our Silent Santa initiative proved to be extremely beneficial and well-received last year by parents and children, so we felt it was important to ensure this returned to Foyleside to create an entirely inclusive Centre for those who want to enjoy Santa the same way others can, but in a calm and considered way.

“At Foyleside, we have made a number of significant changes to support those with additional needs in the last 12 months, including our new Sensory Room, which features fibre optics, bubble tubes and customisable sound and light levels to help remove anxiety and distress. We have worked very closely with Autism NI to become more autism friendly and our staff have also been provided with specific training – so we really are making great improvements to make the Centre as accessible as possible.”

Silent Santa will run every Wednesday evening until 11th December. Quiet Shopping Nights are every Wednesday 6-8pm.

For more information on Foyleside’s special needs services, visit:



Extra Care, Northern Ireland’s longest established domiciliary care charity is set to launch its three-year Strategic Plan, ‘Finding Our Way’, at a VIP event in Stormont this week.

Despite recent challenges within the Social Care sector in Northern Ireland, Extra Care has taken a heads-on approach to move the charity forward and embrace ambitious opportunities in the future. After undertaking in-depth consultations in 2018 with staff and service users, it was identified that a three-year Strategic Plan would place the charity in a stronger position to continue providing the best possible care for service users, whilst maintaining a positive staff support and training system.

The ‘Finding Our Way’ Strategy will signpost how Extra Care delivers its services, connects with communities, develops partnerships and celebrate its staff and service users in the future, through the Charity’s Purpose, Vision and Values.

In the past year, Extra Care has welcomed significant changes to include an investment in excess of £190,000 creating 28 new jobs, as well as the opening of three new support hubs in Belfast, Carrickfergus and Cookstown.

Brian Hutchinson, CEO of Extra Care said, “We are delighted to announce the launch of our Strategy 2019 – 2022.  We believe this forward-thinking plan will allow us to continually provide the best Person-Centred care, whilst strengthening our links within the community. It is also an opportunity to broaden and strengthen staff training as well as provide career support to enable growth within Extra Care.”

Brian adds, “The launch is a chance for like-minded people from across the Health and Social Care Trusts, local politicians and elderly care charities to familiarise themselves with the positive work we do and establish new collaborative relationships going forward. We are privileged to have just welcomed our new Chair, Dame Joan Harbison and the Board is optimistic for the future of our organisation.”

Extra Care was established in 1935, providing health and social care services in Northern Ireland, operating across four of the Trust areas. Currently the organisation employs over 300 staff, committed to providing service users with the support they need to maintain living in their home their way.

For more information about Extra Care visit: