Open Farm Weekend is Back on Farms for 2022

Open Farm Weekend is Back on Farms for 2022

Pulse PR is back working with Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend as it makes a welcome return back on farms on Friday 17 June to Sunday 19 June.

This is the first time since 2019 that farms are able to host in-person and 20 plus farms from across the province are looking forward to throwing open their gates and welcoming visitors inside. 

The initiative, led by the Ulster Farmers’ Union, with Bank of Ireland renewing its title sponsorship, is yet again set to capture the imagination of families and foodies from across the province and give a real behind the scenes snapshot of the local farm to fork story.

Richard Primrose, Bank of Ireland UK Agri-Business Managersaid: “We all know how vital a thriving agri-food industry is to communities within Northern Ireland and we’re proud to once again be the title sponsor of this event to show our support. Building on the success of the growing online audiences these past few years, we’re looking forward to farmers having the chance to showcase their farms in person once again. Being back on farm will provide the perfect opportunity to practically illustrate and educate consumers on how our local food is produced and continue to help foster the growth and prosperity of this industry.”

The last two years saw Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend take on a virtual format, and although the in-person interaction with farm families was missed, the event did reach a new audience from across Northern Ireland and beyond. With this in mind, selected farms will be streamed through Open Farm Weekend’s social media channels throughout the Friday and Saturday.  

Ulster Farmers’ Union Deputy President David Brown added; “We are delighted to be in a position to host Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend back on farms this year. The last two years have been a challenge for all our farm families and being able to welcome the public and share their passion and enthusiasm will be great to see. We are indebted to our title sponsor Bank of Ireland whose support has enabled us to deliver an engaging Open Farm Weekend programme of activities across the three days.

“Our aim with Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend is to showcase the outstanding contribution our farms and farm families make in producing the quality food we so often take for granted. Throughout this year’s event we will focus on Women in Agriculture, environmental issues and the farm to fork story and I encourage everyone to visit our farms, speak to our farm families and really celebrate the wonderful produce available right here in Northern Ireland.”

Participating Farms for Open Farm Weekend 2022 include: Acton House| Armagh Cider Company| Bessvale Farm| Blackberry Hill Farm| Bullsbrook Farm| Broughgammon Farm| Castlescreen Farm| Chesnutt Farms| Churchview Farm| CAFRE Greenmount Campus| CAFRE Enniskillen Campus| D&D Holland| Donagh Cottage Farm |Hollow Farm | Jamison Potatoes| Laurel View Farm| Long Meadow| Millbank Farm| Ranelly Farm| Seaview Farms

More information at www.openfarmweekend.com

Future Looking Bright for Local CleanTech Company

Future Looking Bright for Local CleanTech Company

Pulse PR is delighted to be working with award-winning Northern Irish CleanTech company LUMENSTREAM as it signs a framework agreement for financing £5m of a pipeline of future projects with investment and asset development company Aquila Capital, accelerating its broader expansion across the UK energy efficiency market.  LUMENSTREAM and Aquila Capital share a common goal to contribute to the global energy transition.   

LUMENSTREAM offers an innovative “Pay as you Save” platform it calls LED Lighting as a Service to some of the world’s largest energy-consuming businesses. This new bespoke funding deal will activate the delivery of its growing pipeline of commercial contracts.

The company’s clients already include global organisations such as SIEMENS and CIMC Group.

Following its launch in 2019, LUMENSTREAM upgrades commercial buildings to LED lighting with sensor controls for no upfront capital cost.  This enables companies to save up to 85% on their lighting costs while dramatically reducing their carbon emissions and removing maintenance requirements for the contract duration.

A fraction of the energy saving is then paid to LUMENSTREAM as a monthly subscription fee for the initial five years, meaning its customers generate positive net cash flow immediately following project upgrade.

Aquila Capital is a sustainable investment management and asset development company, headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, that successfully launched the Aquila Energy Efficiency Trust PLC on the London Stock Exchange in June 2021.

Chief executive officer for LUMENSTREAM, Alistair Brown, said that the new deal has long been a part of their strategic development. “Aquila Capital is a leading infrastructure investor in the energy efficiency and renewable energy space. Its track record of investing in contemporary business models is second to none, and we view it as the ideal long-term partner for achieving LUMENSTREAM’s plans for growth.”

Alex Betts, a senior investment manager at Aquila Capital said, “We are delighted to be supporting LUMENSTREAM’s projects. Improving the energy efficiency of lighting is a key area to reduce primary energy consumption, offering economic savings and CO2 reductions for commercial businesses in the UK. This agreement with LUMENSTREAM represents our first energy efficiency investment in the UK, a market we are keen to establish our presence in. We plan to deploy substantial capital in UK in line with our Energy Efficiency Trust’s investment strategy”.

Building a New Future for Arbour Housing

Building a New Future for Arbour Housing

Pulse PR has been working with Arbour Housing, one of Northern Ireland’s larger providers of social housing, as it reveals plans to develop 180 new homes across the province. This is in addition of 150 in the coming months and alongside this is rebranding with a new name and brand identity.  

The current developments are in Newcastle, Newry, Newtownabbey, Lurgan, and Lisburn and future developments in Omagh, Derry and Portadown will go some way to addressing the social housing challenge that currently exists in Northern Ireland. 

Arbour Housing’s ambitious growth over the last three years prompted the organisation to re-think its brand and name to reflect more accurately who it is rather than where it operates. Previously under the name of South Ulster Housing Association, Arbour Housing, was established more than 40 years ago and since its inception in 1978 is well-known for developing social housing in areas of high housing need.

Chief Executive of Arbour HousingKieran Matthews explains, “We have a very ambitious growth agenda for the Association and have recently appointed three new Board members to help with strategic guidance throughout this period. Our new identity is a major part of helping us to fulfil those growth plans. 

“When we started the process, we knew that we wanted something that expressed our vision of being more than a landlord. We also put our tenants’ voice at heart of what we do. That fed into discussions, workshops and research and in the end we all agreed on Arbour. We liked the natural element of shelter and protection it suggests. It feels like a very good fit for us.”

While the signage in its headquarters in Portadown will change, there will be very little change for tenants. There will be no impact on their rents or tenancy agreements, and Arbour is confident it will continue to provide exceptional service and support. 

Grainia Long, Chief Executive of The Housing Executive, who spoke at the launch, said; “Social housing providers are a key partner for us in addressing housing need across Northern Ireland. Arbour Housing have a strong track record of delivery and they have ambitious plans– I look forward to working with them in the future.”

New Electric Vehicle Charger Powers Up in NI

New Electric Vehicle Charger Powers Up in NI

Pulse PR client Triex EV Limited, a market leading company for providing electric vehicle charging solutions, has installed the first ‘pay-as-you-charge’ electric vehicle charging point in residential apartments – and with it a quick and easy solution to help with the inadequate charging infrastructure currently available in Northern Ireland.  

Located at the luxury Adnahona apartments in Coleraine, is the first time this particular charger has been installed commercially in Ireland and its innovative technology and ease of use is proving to be a hit for residents and the public in the area who need a quick top-up of charge for their electric vehicle. 

This installation comes hot in the heels of the Electric Vehicle Association Northern Ireland (EVANI), who is the driver’s representative body, reporting to Stormont’s Infrastructure Committee that the number of broken chargers across Northern Ireland are making people less inclined to convert to electric cars, thus prompting almost 60% of drivers to consider returning to petrol or diesel vehicles because of the poor state of the countries charging infrastructure. 

The key customer benefits of Triex EV’s chosen charger is there is no need to download an app, users simply arrive at the charger, plug in their charging lead, chose the amount of time or value they would like to charge for, tap the front of the unit with their bank card, mobile phone or alternatively using chip and pin in order to pay. The funds are taken immediately from the customers bank account and are deposited into the bank account of the property management company in charge of paying for the landlords metered supply. The system is fully monitored using a remote back-office system, with any changes or updates being applied remotely.   

This simply yet effective process is something Triex EV’s managing director, Mark McGillion says will have mass appeal. He says “These electric vehicle chargers make life easier for everyone. Previously landlords that provided electric chargers would add the electricity cost into the overall management fee, which was absorbed by all tenants whether they used the chargers or not. This was not an attractive proposition and led to many complaints. Our chargers are extremely convenient as residents and visitors simply pay straight away and only for the charge they use.” 

The benefits have also caught the attention of Invest NI who signed Triex EV Limited as its first ever EV company, as well as other business sectors who also see the value in this forward-thinking technology.  

Mr McGillion added, “Since installing this unit we have had a spike in enquiries from business owners, property developers and retail parks who also see the value of this type of charger. The main selling point is that they bill each user separately through a key fob or card using a RFI code, as well as a pay-as-you-charge function for visitors using their debit or credit card. Individual tariffs can be set at the request of the site owner, and in any currency. This is the most convenient way to provide EV charging. We have installed this type of charger in England and Scotland and it’s great to see it here in Northern Ireland. We know we have a long way to go to be on par with other countries when it comes to electric vehicle infrastructure, but we believe it is a positive step in the right direction.” 

Northern Ireland currently has around 4,700 electric vehicles, which falls short of the 15,000 it should have at this point to meet government targets. 

Mark McCall from EVANI said, “We welcome all public and private investment around electric vehicle charging in Northern Ireland. Our members love their EVs and building out the infrastructure to support their growing numbers is vital as we transition to sustainable transport.” 

Photo Caption: Pictured are Triex EV managing director Mark McGillion with electric vehicle user John Wilkinson

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It’s a Dog’s Life: New Luxury Dog Boarding Facility Opens

It’s a Dog’s Life: New Luxury Dog Boarding Facility Opens

Pulse PR is pleased to announce that a purpose built five-star dog hotel designed to give its four-legged guests a comfortable and stress-free stay has recently opened in Ballybogey, and despite the pandemic, business at Country Canines is booming.

Inspired by owner Amy McIhatton’s two Great Danes, Theo and Lincoln, she and husband Jason decided to build a home-from-home type facility on their 70-acre Ballymoney farm. 

Made up of ten suites on site, each with its own large private grass run, adjustable underfloor heating, comfy bed and a flat screen TV to help dogs climatise to their new surroundings, Country Canines is proving to be a hit with dog owners from Ballymoney, Coleraine, Belfast and even as far away as Portadown and Larne. 

Amy McIhatton explained: “I’ve always loved dogs and looked after other people’s pets but it was only when we got our own that I realised how hard it would be to leave them. We have two Great Danes who enjoy their home comforts and I knew we would struggle to find suitable boarding. This really drove our decision to set up Country Canines – it’s the type of place we would feel comfortable leaving our dogs.

“Thankfully other people feel the same and we have been overwhelmed by the interest and success so far. As boarding goes hand-in-hand with holidays, we were worried about having no immediate bookings and therefore no income from the business, however customers have been using us for their staycations and sole nights away now restrictions have eased.”

CCTV throughout gives owners peace of mind because Amy can see what the dogs are doing when she’s not with them and makes sure they are settling in and also offering different care packages has proved popular with local residents.

“Local customers in particular like the daycare package if they are doing home improvements, attending a function or have work commitments as dogs have full access to their own suite, as well as two country walks. The dogs’ wellbeing is paramount in everything I do. I keep owners informed of their dog’s daily activity with regular photo updates, in fact customers often comment that we are more like a hotel than dog kennels! Amy added. 

More information can be found at www.countrycanines.com