Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend Celebrates its 10th Year

Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend Celebrates its 10th Year

Pulse PR is delighted to be representing Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend, which takes place virtually on Friday 30 July-Sunday 1 August, is celebrating its tenth anniversary with a packed schedule of virtual activities to showcase Northern Ireland food and farming at its best.

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.

Edwin Poots, Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, said: “Our agri-food industry in NI is renowned worldwide for producing high quality, wholesome, nutritious and award-winning food. Educating and making consumers aware of the source of their food, and the hard work by our farmers in continuing to produce these high quality products, has an important part to play in maintaining demand for our local produce. My Department’s continued support in the delivery of Open Farm Weekend helps meet that task.”

“I would like to thank the Bank of Ireland for their continued commitment to this important initiative, which is now in its 10th year, to the UFU in leading delivery along with all the other supporting partners. To the farms that are participating, I know that it can be a challenge to prepare and open up your farms to the general public, even in the virtual world, but I commend the hard work and passion that the host farms put in to making the weekend so successful. I would encourage people to view the virtual events to gain an understanding of the efforts of our farmers and industry in continuing to provide food on all our tables, especially during a very challenging year.”

Although visitors are unable to physically attend farms again this year due to Covid-19 restrictions, the online activities shown throughout the weekend on Open Farm Weekend’s social media channels and website will still give the public the chance to connect with more than 20 farms from across the province.

Richard Primrose, Bank of Ireland UK Agri-Business Managersaid: “The growth and prosperity of the wider NI economy relies heavily on a thriving agri-food industry. The last year in particular has shown how vital this industry is to communities within NI and we’re proud to be the title sponsor again to show our support. By continuing the online format for Bank of Ireland Virtual Farm Weekend, it will give farmers the chance to showcase their farms to new audiences. It will also provide the perfect opportunity to practically illustrate and educate consumers on how our local food is produced.”

Online viewers will get the chance to discover the wonderful range of fresh farm produce from Northern Ireland and celebrate our food heroes by interacting online with farmers who have been providing vital food and drink supplies over the last number of months.

Ulster Farmers’ Union Deputy President David Brown added; “We are delighted to be in a position to host Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend again this year, especially as this is the tenth time our farm families have so enthusiastically stepped up and embraced the event, albeit it in a slightly different format. 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. The last 12 months have brought about a heightened awareness of where our food comes from and puts the local supply chain at the forefront of our minds. We encourage everyone to get behind this year’s event and celebrate the wonderful produce available right here in Northern Ireland.”

Sponsors for Open Farm Weekend 2021 include: Bank of Ireland | Asda | NFU Mutual | Livestock and Meat Commission NI (LMC) | Moy Park| Irish Farmers’ Journal

 More information can be found at www.openfarmweekend.com

Online Event to Support Returning to the Workplace Post Lockdown

Online Event to Support Returning to the Workplace Post Lockdown

Life coach Siobhan Kearney, who specialises in supporting companies with employee wellbeing, is hosting a free online workshop on Tuesday 23 March to address the significant rise in individuals who are concerned about returning to the workplace after lockdown. 

Available for all business sectors, the workshop will offer practical advice and steps for employers who want to provide a safe working environment for employees and also for employees who need space to think through how they feel about returning to the workplace and how they can prepare for it.  

Siobhan, who owns and runs At One Wellbeing and has more than 10 years’ experience in the area of mental health and wellbeing, has worked with businesses across the board who recognise the importance staff wellbeing has on productivity. Throughout her career, particularly since the pandemic, she has offered practical support to help companies develop bespoke approaches to the wellbeing of their staff.  

She said, “Lockdown has caused many of us to feel overworked, stressed, and worn out, but returning to the workplace also presents its own challenges. Preparing to return to work can cause fear for personal safety while commuting to work using public transport, the anxiety of seeing colleagues again face to face after a prolonged separation or if they have lost family members during the pandemic, and the fact that having been in lockdown for such a long time, they may have suffered from mental ill health themselves.”

Having a well thought out strategy that is structured and planned in advance, Siobhan believes will give employers confidence and make employees feel that their mental wellbeing is being valued by their employer.

She added, “A first point that could be considered by employers even before staff return to a working environment, is to find out how they feel about returning to working in the office or on site. A health and wellbeing survey could be completed with employees to gauge the main issues from lockdown and results may be used to inform any future wellbeing programme. This is only the tip of the iceberg and during the workshop we will tease out other ideas and help formulate a checklist of activity to give everyone confidence going forward.”

Topics that will be covered in the workshop include:

  • The importance of communication 
  • Physical changes to the office environment
  • New protocols and procedures 
  • Finding a balance between safety and anxiety
  • How to foster optimism

The workshop will take place on zoom on Tuesday 23 March at 12.30-1.15pm. To register for this free event please email siobhan@at-onewellbeing.com. Minimum 10 participants.

Online sales are in fashion for Northern Irish retailers on IRP platform

Online sales are in fashion for Northern Irish retailers on IRP platform

Two leading fashion retailers that use the IRP e-commerce platform to sell their collections online have seen a combined increase in sales of almost 400% in the past six weeks. 

DV8 Fashion, who has 50 stores on the island of Ireland and offers a portfolio of the world’s best fashion retail brands, as well as family run womenswear retailer Jonzara, whose anchor store is in Lisburn’s Bow Street, have seen an explosion in online sales since the latest lockdown restrictions temporarily closed retail outlets across Ireland. 

Selling mainly to customers in the UK and Ireland,  the IRP platform also shows through data from its Insights Terminal, that shoppers in the Republic of Ireland are seemingly at the front of the queue when it comes to purchasing a new wardrobe, with combined sales for DV8 and Jonzara increasing by 500% over the same period in 2020. 

Philip Macartney from IRP Commerce, the e-commerce platform that has transacted over £1 billion in online sales for Irish companies puts the increase in clothing sales down to several factors including the new regulations introduced for online retail on the back of Brexit.

“A percentage of sales are down to seasonal changes as we move from winter into spring and also because many of us have more disposable income as we aren’t going on holiday this year. However, after closely studying data from the IRP Insights Terminal, we believe the uplift is because shoppers in the Republic, when purchasing from Northern Irish retailers, do not incur the VAT and excise duty costs they currently face when shopping from an online retailer in Great Britain. 

“Ultimately our IRP Insights show that our Irish customers, such as DV8 and Jonzara have an excellent opportunity to sell to their domestic market and outperform significantly in terms of online growth. Our team and technology and the IRP ecosystem as a whole, have delivered in very challenging circumstances and proved yet again that our profit focussed approach is the best road to success for Irish retailers in online selling.”

More information on IRP Commerce can be found here

//ENDS

Moovellous New Food Delivery Service Launches

Moovellous New Food Delivery Service Launches

Fresh food home delivery company, Moo to You, which was established at the beginning of lockdown last year, has now introduced a new line of home cookery kits with locally sourced ingredients and an easy step-by-step recipe guide.

The ‘Meals by Moo’ meal kits were created after customer research showed households in Northern Ireland wanted convenient recipe ideas to cook at home since lockdown restrictions have temporarily closed many restaurants across the province. 

Similar to Hello Fresh which, along with other UK home delivery companies currently supply more than 5,000 meal kits to households in Northern Ireland, Moo to You is hoping to tap into this lucrative market by offering a local delivery service, using local produce from local suppliers. 

Moo to You founder Chris Wilson, along with business development manager Stephen Lynn, a former Flybe pilot who lost his job before the first lockdown, are confident in the longevity of the new service after he saw the success of Moo to You over the last 12 months. 

Chris says, “Our Moo to You delivery service has gone from strength to strength and based on our customer feedback and requests for a local version of convenient meal kits we felt it was time to introduce Meals by Moo.

“What makes them so popular we believe is because our fresh ingredients are locally sourced from quality Northern Irish producers. This uses minimal packaging and reduces food miles as our deliveries are made by our friendly drivers and not couriered by air from Great Britain. Not only is this much better for the environment but it also means we can deliver at a very competitive price.

“Meals by Moo also offers convenience and flexibility, we do not employ a subscription service like other home food delivery companies, meaning customers can order what they want, when they want. We hope the simple to follow meal kits will help retain and enhance our loyal customers’ experience and expand our new customer base.”

Examples of Meals by Moo meal kits include Thai Green Curry and Garlic and Herb Chicken. 

Moo to You employs 10 staff and operates from its hub at Streamvale Farm in Dundonald. Its fleet of vans deliver to households across Northern Ireland. Find out more about Meals by Moo at www.mootoyou.co.uk

Pulse PR Director Delivered Social Media Course to Maximise Community Outreach

Pulse PR Director Delivered Social Media Course to Maximise Community Outreach

Grainne McGarvey, Director of Pulse PR delivered a free four-week online course to community groups to help them get the most out of their social media channels.

The sessions included;

  • Learn about the benefits of social media
  • Get advice on how to maximise your Group’s social media channels
  • Learn how to post engaging content on Facebook & Twitter
  • Learn when & what to post on Facebook & Twitter for best engagement
  • Get examples of content that is best suited to Facebook & Twitter
  • Find out why tone of voice is important
  • Get examples of posts to increase ‘likes’ ‘shares’ and engagement
  • Learn how to use Facebook Live
  • Get examples of when social media advertising works
  • Get a real-life case study to show what can work for rural communities
  • Learn about the difference between PR & advertising (online & offline)
  • Get examples of creating a regular content schedule for your activities
  • Get advice on how to best link in with key media influencers
  • Get examples of how to use of video content
  • Learn about social media analytics

This programme is supported by the PHA (Public Health Agency) through the NICHI Project, which is managed by CWSAN (Cookstown & Western Shores Area Network)

Free to NICHI Model Community Groups & members of Health Alliance NI. To become a member sign up for free here

Pulse PR 2020 Highlights

Pulse PR 2020 Highlights

Prepping for our first new client project of 2021 has given us the chance to reflect on 2020. A year packed with challenges, rescheduled events and of course the never-ending zoom calls!

We were lucky to work with well-known digital clients such as IRP Commerce and Catalyst that kept us busy online launching successful entrepreneurial programmes and highlighting significant achievements in the e-commerce sphere. We continued working with Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend, which went virtual in 2020, but still allowed us to connect with the fabulous farm families and lush countryside across Northern Ireland! Sadly many events and conferences such as Big Motive’s Design Thinkers Academy training programme and Ecomm Live didn’t go ahead in its physical form, but they gave us the opportunity to showcase these companies to a wider business audience online. We also found that communication came into its own as keeping in touch with contacts, clients and colleagues came more important than ever.

On a personal note we also celebrated our 10th year in business in 2020 and although it was a very low key affair, we marked the milestone by taking the front cover spread for Ulster Business magazine. Being featured in the ‘Leaders in Business’ edition put us in very good company.

We are heading into 2021 with renewed optimism and look forward to working with existing and of course new clients! Here are some of our most memorable projects of 2020.

Catalyst, Invent 2020 Programme Launch: Catalyst launched its annual Invent competition and hoped to attract more than 100 innovators and entrepreneurs from across Northern Ireland. Pictured with Kerry from Catalyst and Gavin from Bank of Ireland is Invent success story CropSafe – an app that utilises artificial intelligence and satellite imagery to photograph crops from over 100 satellites orbiting the earth.

Bank of Ireland Virtual Farm Weekend, Goat Yoga: Mum and daughter Wendy and Lucy Gallagher gave goat yoga a try in preparation for the virtual event. Who knew all Clyde the pygmy goat needed was a few custard creams to strike a pose!

IRP Commerce: Ecomm Live Panel. We returned as compere for a panel discussion of retailers and e-commerce experts during Ecomm Live’s virtual event. We hopefully look forward to participating in a physical event in 2021!

Bank of Ireland Virtual Farm Weekend, Co-Presenting with Rory Best: Probably best known for his rugby career, Rory Best also has another passion – his herd of pedigree Holstein cows. He showed off his farming experience co-hosting one of the live events at the Virtual Farm Weekend. It was great to work with such a pro and all round good sport!

NI Rural Women’s Network: SELFIE Programme Launch: In this instance SELFIE was an acronym (self-esteem, leadership, friendship, influence and empowerment), but also came from a statistic that most women will take just over 40 selfie photos before finding one they are happy to post on their social media. This clearly spoke to us of a lack of confidence women feel in their daily lives and the pressure they are under to conform. 

Big Motive, Design Thinkers Academy Training Launch: One of the world’s leading design driven innovation companies, The Design Thinkers Academy, who counts Nike, Google, Philips and Shell as clients partnered with Big Motive in Belfast. The event, due to take place in The Mac, would have given participants fundamental skills to develop and deliver change, generate innovative ideas and build the mindset required to tackle big challenges within their organisations. 

IRP Commerce, Success for the 8th time in Deloitte Fast 50 Awards: Having previously won seven Deloitte Fast 50 awards (in Ireland, the UK and EMEA), IRP Commerce was shortlisted for the eighth time in 2020. This win confirmed IRP Commerce as the tech company to watch in 2021.

Pulse PR, Celebrating 10 Years in Business: When this edition of Ulster Business magazine hit offices across Northern Ireland, little did we know that the following month would see the beginning of a global pandemic impacting our professional and personal lives. Thankfully 2021 looks more promising with a vaccine and return to ‘normal’ life as we know it. 2020 ended a challenging 10 years that’s seen us work with more than 70 businesses across the island of Ireland. We are grateful for the support we’ve had and look forward to another 10 years!