Playdate for Kinley and Cathy as they get set for the races

Looking forward to a day at the races, PR and fashion guru Cathy Martin joins three-year-old Kinley Brown at Mencap�s Segal House Nursery in Belfast for a playdate to officially launch Mencap�s annual Race Day that will take place at Down Royal on 20 June 2014 to raise funds for the learning disability charity.

Three-year-old Kinley Brown, who attends Mencap’s Segal House Nursery in Belfast, had a fun playdate today (3 April) with PR and fashion guru Cathy Martin to officially launch Mencap’s annual Race Day at Down Royal on 20 June 2014. 

Looking forward to a day at the races, Cathy Martin, who is a member of Mencap’s special events committee which organises the day said that Race Day has become an institution in Northern Ireland’s sporting and social calendar. 

“With great opportunities for corporate hospitality, it’s a fantastic day out for those of us who enjoy fine dining in an opulent setting and the thrill of the sport of kings. For one, I’m really looking forward to it.” 

Bringing together an eclectic mix of discerning professionals, fashionistas and racing enthusiasts for a day of glamour with a sense of purpose, Justine Fleck, Mencap in Northern Ireland’s area fundraising manager, said that the fact that Race Day is in its 15th year is testament to its popularity. 

“Our vision is a world where people with a learning disability are valued equally, listened to and included. By supporting our annual Race Day we can continue to support Kinley and her friends, young people and adults with a learning disability and their families to fulfil their dreams and potential,” she said. 

Tickets are £100 per person and tables seat ten. Larger parties can be catered for. Further details email

Junk Kouture "Cleans" up at European Week for Waste Reduction Awards

Junk Kouture wins Creative Industry category at the European Week for Waste Reduction Awards held at "The Barge" Lagan Legacy Facility on Wednesday 23rd January 2013: Junk KoutureL-R Alex Attwood Environmental Minister, Elizabeth O'Donnell Founder of Junk Kouture and Suzie McDonald from Junk Kouture

The Junk Kouture recycled fashion competition 2013 in association with European Recycling Platform (ERP) received an award at the European Week for Waste Reduction Awards in the Lagan Legacy Facility, The Barge.  The fashion design competition, which seeks to transform junk into pieces of fashion art, was accredited for its pop up ‘Trashionista’ fashion show held at Victoria Square in November.  Junk Kouture’s founder Elizabeth O’Donnell from Londonderry was presented with a specially commissioned trophy, alongside six other Northern Irish finalists. 


The awards event was organised in conjunction with WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) which administers the EWWR on behalf of the Department.  The Minister for the Environment Alex Attwood was also in attendance and praised the achievements and the success of organisations in raising awareness for Rethink Waste and the European Week for Waste Reduction. 


Speaking of Junk Kouture’s prestigious achievement founder Elizabeth O’Donnell had this to say, “I am truly humbled and delighted that Junk Kouture has been awarded this prize from EWWR.  The event in Victoria Square was the perfect visual, live example of the ethos of the competition- fashion, art and recycling.  It was great to link with the European Week for Waste Reduction and be able to raise awareness for this great scheme in a highly unique way!  The deadline for entries this year is at the beginning of February and I really cannot wait to see what the students have in store for us this year!”


Created in 2010 by entrepreneur Elizabeth O’Donnell and businessman Troy Armour, Junk Kouture has seen thousands of teenagers’ work submitted over the past two years with some spectacular and awe-inspiring pieces gracing the competition’s regional and national catwalks.  Sponsored by ERP, the only pan-European compliance scheme for electronic waste and battery recycling, Junk Kouture is the leading fashion and art competition for secondary school students across Ireland and has a reputation, among many, as being the most creative.


The Junk Kouture recycled fashion competition 2013 in association with ERP is open to all second level students. The competition closes for entries on 8th February 2013. For further information, please log on to or visit the Facebook page at:



Eco-friendly and ethical Belfast business ReFound debuted a unique blend of 'fashion meets furniture' at its city centre location as part of West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK.  Some of Northern Ireland’s top designers used their textiles, fabric and form know-how to upscale previously loved furniture in a surprising and exciting way.


Jill O’Neill, owner of ReFound said:  “We were stunned by the results achieved by the designers which included Belfast milliner & jewellery designer Grainne Maher; textiles designer Katie Brown; Mary Murphy of Sioda Lingerie; exciting graduate Dave Henderson; Lisa McCabe with her Nor Lisa brand; knitwear specialist, Mary Callan and Larissa Watson of Goddess & Swift.


“We gave 10% of the purchase price paid for the customised one-off pieces to ReFound’s nominated charity Kidzcare ( which supports orphaned and vulnerable children in Tanzania.”


Cathy Martin, Director of FASHIONWEEK said:  “Fashion isn’t just about the clothes we wear or how we look – we all love to fill our homes with beautiful pieces of furniture so by teaming up with ReFound and our amazing designers some lucky people have picked up bespoke pieces  and helped raised money for charity.”


Supported by the Creative Industries Innovation Fund, the Arts Council and DCAL, ReFound is a unique platform to promote local creative talent and design while offering furniture buyers an alternative in home styling.


ReFound can be found at 7 Wellington Place, Belfast – for more information log on to


For further information on West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK log onto or


This year’s Belfast FASHIONWEEK opened with an event for yummy mummies and their fashionable kids.  ‘Style Stories in association with The OUTLET and W5’ treated families to an afternoon filled with catwalk shows and workshops in W5’s Atrium. 


Organisers wanted to inspire young people with an interest in the many aspects of the fashion and beauty industry by giving them access to some of the best professionals in Northern Ireland.


Siobhan McKeown, Marketing Manager at The OUTLET said: “W5 was the perfect setting for this event as we wanted to encourage children’s curiosity and provide fun ways for them to learn about fashion and beauty.


Stephanie Berkeley, Marketing Manager at W5 said:  “The hand-picked hair, beauty, photography, fashion and nutritional experts were really put through their paces as the children were able to ask questions and really get involved.  We hope their experiences have ignited a passion for fashion, photography and science within some of the young people who attended.”


The fabulous fashion show previewed stunning autumn/winter ranges for ladies and kids all of which can be found at The OUTLET in Banbridge plus striking designs from Lizzie Agnew whose unique take on fashion is inspired by the glamour of 1930s and 50s.


Fourteen seasons is a long time in fashion, but since its inception in 2005, Belfast’s West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK continues to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to providing the latest looks and hottest trends for fashion conscious stylistas.


The event, which will take place from 13 – 21 October across various venues in the city, will include kids’ shows and workshops sponsored by The OUTLET at W5 as well as chic afternoon teas at the Merchant Hotel, the Diet Coke Design Award, the Fashion ReFound project and the super stylish Style Sunday event at James Street South restaurant as well as the main catwalk shows in the Europa FASHIONWEEK Centre.


Cathy Martin, director of FASHIONWEEK said:  “This season we will feature the finest established and up-and-coming designers as well as the best boutique and high street brands from all over Northern Ireland to create a fast-paced, exciting and irresistible slice of fashion in the city. We sell out every season and hopefully above all trends, that one will continue as we look forward to seeing what is making style queens weak at the knees for Autumn/Winter.


She added: “What will we see on the catwalk? Well, in terms of fabrics we’ll be seeing lots of Jacquard weaves, brocade and felting and, as far as shapes go, there will be a lot of military coats and capes. Looking at colours, it’s all about red or royal blue as well as pyjama prints and a lot of monochrome and hounds tooth this winter. These looks, and many more, have all made their mark on the international catwalks and with our sense of style and adventure here, we hope to offer some amazing days and nights of fashionable fun for all ages.”


Karen Anderson from West Coast Cooler added: “The fashion buzz really begins once FASHIONWEEK launches and this season seems to be no different with fashionistas already keen to snap up the limited edition front row seats and sit back with a West Coast Cooler to enjoy the shows. There’s such a variety of shows, events  and workshops that there really is something for everyone, no matter what their budget or fashion favourites are.”



Retailers from the high street taking part include Benetton, Marks & Spencer, French Connection, Exhibit, George at ASDA and Jigsaw; with Designers at Debenhams, Miss Selfridge, Warehouse and Dorothy Perkins also showcasing (among others) as part of the CastleCourt shows. Then Oasis, Next Clearance, L.K. Bennett, Olsen and Staccato will all be part of the OUTLET’s collection on the main runway as well as at the ‘yummy mummy’ shows at W5.


Designer emporium Cruise in Victoria Square will host a stunning Afternoon Tea at the Merchant Hotel on Saturday 20 October. The stylish afternoon will include an array of teas, delicious sandwiches, pastries and chic cakes, as well as an intimate fashion show and a sparkling welcome cocktail from sponsor West Coast Cooler.  Seasoned stylists from Cruise will talk through this autumn’s key looks from top designers including Victoria Beckham, Amanda Wakeley and Armani as well as answering personal styling dilemmas for ladies of all shapes, sizes, and shopping budgets.  Places cost £30.00pp and are available at the Merchant Hotel directly on 02890 234888.


Boutiques from right across Northern Ireland will also be highlighted with Natoria in Larne and Diamond Dolls in Banbridge leading the way in the boutique show. Jourdan, Blush and Harrison from the Lisburn Road will also sit alongside key pieces from Una Rodden and Grainne Maher at this show on Thursday 18 October and then a full selection of home grown designers – from Derry milliner John Paul to new fashion graduate Saba Akram will showcase at the NI Designer show on Saturday 20 October.  Ones to watch out for on the catwalk include very edgy  designers Reudi Maguire and David Henderson as well as Fermanagh’s Lisa McCabe with her silk prints, weaver Jude Cassidy with luxurious hand woven scarves and Katie Wilson who has been quietly working and selling under Una Rodden for three years since graduating. Knit designers, Sean Henry, with his Van der Simon label and Mary Callan will showcase the best in wools while former stylist and retail manager Stephen Mageean takes to the catwalk in a stunning debut of evening gowns and says he intends to ‘wow the audiences’.


New talent will also feature in the form of the Diet Coke Design Award which celebrates its third season at FASHIONWEEK, and three is a magic number for the competition this year, as not one, but three designers will be shortlisted to have their ideas made up by Una Rodden and showcased on the catwalk at FASHIONWEEK, where judges will decide which lucky fashionista will go on to win a mini scholarship to the London College of Fashion plus a shoot with photographer Khara Pringle. But before the judges decide, fans on Facebook will also be able to vote to help bolster support for entries, which are already flooding in. Entry forms are available to download from the Belfast FASHIONWEEK website and entrants don’t have to be designers or from a design background -


In addition to the catwalk shows, some of the local designers have also teamed up with ReFound, a unique and chic-onomic platform to promote local creative talent and design, while offering furniture buyers an eco-conscious alternative in home styling.  For the first time, ReFound is hosting a bespoke ‘FASHION REFOUND’ show at the ReFound building in Wellington Place. Taking place throughout FASHIONWEEK, this exhibition, where Fashion meets Furniture, will  see up to ten up-and-coming fashion designer/makers apply their designs and creativity to a home interior piece, exclusively for ReFound.

Closing up the week’s events is the ever popular Style Sunday event and private show, which will once again include the best hair, beauty, make up and fashion advice from top experts including make-up artist Paddy McGurgan and hair stylist Andrew Mulvenna. Places for this event, which supports NI’s leading learning disability charity Mencap, can be purchased directly at James Street South for £40.

International hair stylist and salon owner Andrew Mulvenna will take care of styling the hair throughout the week-long event and he is very excited about the prospect saying: “My artistic and creative team headed up by Judith McKay has worked on lots of fashion events in the past including London Fashion Week and the Central St Martins fashion show, but we are all looking forward to getting our hands on some of Ireland’s top models at FASHIONWEEK. We’re planning some show-stopping styles as well as some beautiful and easy-to-create looks for the audience.” 


For further information on West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK log onto or  & look out for updates.


Northern Ireland is catching its breath after the largest event of its kind ever staged here, Land of Giants, was performed in front of thousands of ecstatic audience members at the Titanic Slipways on Saturday night (30 June).


The team behind the massive outdoor happening managed to keep quite a few surprises up their giant sleeves as an enthralled capacity-crowd followed every step of the epic story, despite the rain.


Throughout the 45 minute night-time extravaganza the central character, Grace, took the audience on a thrilling journey visiting fictional characters from Northern Ireland’s history, starting in 1869, while referencing the many giants visible in our cultural and natural heritage, such as Harland and Wolff’s, Samson and Goliath and Cave Hill’s Sleeping Giant - which is allegedly the inspiration behind Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver.


At one point the tiny star of the show took a dramatic charge from one end of the 150m stage towards the Titanic Building and after a breath taking leap, suspended from a crane barely visible in the dark skies, she appeared as an animated character on the Titanic Building which transformed into the pages of a massive storybook. The Titanic was also ‘raised’ on the site where it was built using pyrotechnics and spectacular light effects – much to the delight of the wowed audience.


Throughout the show, snapshots of the lives and voices of the people of Belfast were narrated visually or in music, and the story touched on the hay day of the linen industry, the building of the Titanic, the First and Second World Wars – right the way up to the present year.  


Moira Swinbank, Legacy Trust UK who part-funded the event said:  “The people involved in delivering this event; from the volunteer performers, acrobats, actors to the costumiers, production and operations teams, and many more, have gained invaluable experience that truly can’t be bought. 


“The knowledge gained and contacts made will help develop their talents and prospects and ensure a bright future for events in Northern Ireland for many years to come.”


Land of Giants was delivered by a consortium which included Belfast City Council, Beat Carnival, Belfast Community Circus and Young at Art and was funded by Legacy Trust UK with additional support from Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council and Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure.


Ruth Mackenzie, Director of Cultural Olympiad, said:  Well done Belfast for the stunning images of the London 2012 Festival – these will go round the world and be an amazing legacy for Belfast.”


Cian Smyth, London 2012 Creative Programmer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said:  “This is a new and exciting era for outdoor arts events in Northern Ireland.  An event of this scale and calibre, involving so many people, has never been staged here before and sets a high standard for the sector.  The development of our arts performance and events sectors as a result of the show can’t be underestimated.”


The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Gavin Robinson said:  “Belfast really shone last night and the show was everything we thought it would be; epic, exciting, colourful, breath-taking, and at times utterly moving; but most importantly it was about Belfast and its people who were the lifeblood of the story and the stars of the show.”


Minister Carál Ní Chuilín, Department of Culture Arts and Leisure said; "The success of last night's show demonstrates our ability to stage large, world class events.  I am sure this will be one of the highlights of the 2012 Festival. I want to congratulate everyone involved, and I know this was the result of many months of hard work.  I am sure everyone who made it along to the Titanic slipway will have enjoyed the show and its mix of pyrotechnics, music and daring aerial performances."


Tourism Minister, Arlene Foster said: "People in Northern Ireland, whether locals or visitors, are just spoilt for choice over what to see and do at the minute. From the sell-out Irish Open and the Clipper Round the World Yacht race to amazing events such as the Land of Giants. We are continuing to show the world that we have so much to offer visitors and securing our place as a great country to visit."


Legacy Trust UK is an independent charity creating a lasting impact from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by funding ideas and local talent to inspire creativity across the UK.


Land of Giants was part of London 2012 Festival, the spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration running from 21 June until 9 September 2012 bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK.



Issued on behalf of Giant Events Company by CMPR. For further information on Land of Giants, please contact Michael McCrory at CMPR on T +44 (0) 2890324437 or via email/mobile: +44 (0)7816537762.





  • Legacy Trust UK is an independent charity set up to create a lasting cultural and sporting legacy from London 2012 in communities across the UK. The Trust is funded by a £40 million endowment from the Big Lottery Fund (£29m), Department for Culture Media and Sport (£6m) and Arts Council England (£5m), and is a Principal Funder of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival.


  • Northern Ireland Tourist Board

Northern Ireland Tourist Board is supporting the project as a Tier 1 event in NI2012 Our Time, Our Place, an inspirational programme of events which aims to capitalise on a unique year for Northern Ireland increasing tourism numbers and changing the profile of Northern Ireland internationally.


  • London 2012 Festival in Northern Ireland

The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements. Spread over four years, it is designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and inspire creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people. The finale of the Cultural Olympiad will be the London 2012 Festival, a spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK, from Midsummers Day 21 June running until the final day of the Paralympic Games on 9 September 2012.


The London 2012 Festival will celebrate the huge range, quality and accessibility of the UK’s world-class culture including dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, fashion, film and digital innovation, giving the opportunity for people across the UK to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.


Principal funders of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival are Arts Council England, Legacy Trust UK and the Olympic Lottery Distributor. BP and BT are Premier Partners of the Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Festival.


The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure is responsible for coordinating delivery of the Northern Ireland legacy strategy for the 2012 Games, across three key themes – sport, social, and economic.


The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is responsible for coordinating delivery of the Northern Ireland legacy for culture, contributing to the social legacy of the London 2012 Games for Northern Ireland. It hosts the office of the London 2012 Creative Programmer for Northern Ireland and leads on the Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Festival, in Northern Ireland.


For more details on the programme, to download the London 2012 Festival official guide and to sign up for information visit


  • Arts Council of Northern Ireland

The Arts Council is the lead development agency for the arts in Northern Ireland. Arts Council of Northern Ireland provides support for artists and arts organisations, offering a broad range of funding opportunities through Exchequer and National Lottery funds.


  • Belfast City Council

Belfast City Council is responsible for providing and delivering an extensive range of services which play a key role in improving the quality of life of our citizens by helping to make Belfast a better place to live in, work in and visit. Inclusive of these services the community engagement and development, which is complemented by the Council's work on culture and arts and tourism initiatives.


  • Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure

The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure is responsible for coordinating delivery of the Northern Ireland legacy strategy for the 2012 Games, across three key themes - sport, social, and economic.

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