Belfast Telegraph

On the grapevine - January 19


Free swimming trips

Free swimming trips are available for men from Kilcooley via the Kilcooley Tenant Support Project’s Men’s Club. The trips take place on Tuesday mornings.

If you are interested in going you can contact Stuart at Kilcooley Tenant Support Project on: 02891-470666.


Youth urged to act up!

Young people in Ards are being urged to ‘act up’ in 2011, and join the Ards Arts Youth Drama Club.

Teenagers aged between 13 and 16 can join the drama club, now in its second term and beginning again next Monday January 24. The club offers youngsters an opportunity to develop their theatrical skills and confidence, while exploring a range of drama techniques, including characterisation, improvisation, performance styles, vocal techniques, working with text, devising and directing.

Formed by Ards Arts, Ards Borough Council’s arts service, the group is led by one of Northern Ireland’s leading drama professionals, Orla Makeagney.

“The drama club’s first series of 10 sessions were very well received and drew quite a number of young people, no doubt because many of them were keen to learn from someone of Orla’s experience and talent. While we’ll be welcoming back many of the young people who joined the club in the first term, there is plenty of room for more teenagers who have an interest in drama or who are studying the subject at school, and I’d encourage them to get in touch,” said Amy McKelvey, community arts development officer with the Council.

The Youth Drama Club begins its second term on Monday January 24 at Ards Arts Centre, Conway Square, Newtownards and runs for 10 weeks each Monday from 7pm to 8.30pm. For further information contact the Arts Centre on 028 9181 0803.

Fashion exchange

Local charity Cruse Bereavement Care and UTV personality Tina Campbell have launched a new opportunity for all fashion conscious females.

From 3pm on Saturday 5 February St Marks Parish Centre in Newtownards will host the first Fashion Exchange for the North Down and Ards area. It provides an opportunity for girls of all ages to swap unwanted good quality clothing and accessories and recycle those unwanted Christmas presents.

The event will provide afternoon tea, tips on recession dressing, dressing to suit your shape, fitness and beauty with a surprise guest makeover.

Tickets cost £10 and donations of clothes and accessories can be delivered to the Cruse Charity Shop by Friday February 5 or St Mark’s Parish Centre by 12pm on February 5.

Get ready to strum or sumba

Local people can get ready to strum or ‘zumba’ in the most extensive programme of leisure classes ever offered by Ards Arts Centre.

Old favourites, including patchwork, pottery and floral art, are now on offer alongside some exciting new opportunities, all beginning at the end of January.

New to the line up is a ‘Zumba’ dance class. ‘Zumba’ fuses a mix of Latin rhythms like Salsa, Merengue, Cumbia and Reggaton, with easy to follow body sculpting movements, and is the latest dance fitness craze. Facilitated by ArtsEkta, the classes will be relaxed and easy going, but with a lot of energy.

For the first time, the programme also includes a four week introduction to illustration, led by local artist and illustrator Bernice Anderson which will look at illustration techniques in pen, pencil and watercolour. And master calligrapher, Jaquie Brachi, will also be back at the Arts Centre to facilitate a calligraphy class which this time will investigate the versatility of the capital letter.

Young people can also take advantage of increased artistic opportunities. A pottery class by local artist Angela George for children aged 5 to 7 has proven so popular that another has been added to the programme, this time for 8 to 12 year olds.

Art for Kids also returns with the 2011 theme of Medieval Magic where children will delve into a magical world of knights in shining armour and princesses in fairy castles, creating 2D and 3D work to take home.

Enrolment for all classes (except watercolour with Ray Elwood) is on Wednesday January 19 between 9am-5pm. Watercolour enrolments will be accepted in person only on Tuesday January 18 at 10am, 2pm and 7pm respectively. Prices vary. For a full list of leisure classes and further information, contact Ards Arts Centre on 028 9181 0803 or visit


Group trip organisers

The Northern Ireland Tourist Board is calling all group trip organisers to attend a ‘Days Out Fair’ on Saturday January 29 designed to showcase the best that the country has to offer with great ideas for day trips and group visits.

The event at the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum will cater for group organisers from all walks of life from church groups to sports and social clubs, community groups to retirement associations, from gardening groups to Rotary clubs and many more; with each group that registers being offered two free tickets to attend. Free transport will also be provided on a first come, first served basis by local members of the Federation of Passenger Transport NI.

Those wishing to register should contact the Northern Ireland Tourist Board on 028 9044 1506 or email

Pensioners’ parliament

The Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament is coming to Belfast on Friday March 4, and the organisers of the event are encouraging local people to become involved.

A series of ‘Local Parliaments’ are planned for March and April and all older people from the area are encouraged to fill in a short questionnaire to ensure their view is recorded.

Bill Carson, Chair of Age Sector Platform, said: “Not only will the results of the questionnaires filled out determine what will be covered in each local parliament; they will also form the basis of what we will be saying to local MLAs and Councillors on the back of the Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament.”

If you would like to attend the Belfast Parliament or would like to fill in a questionnaire, please visit or phone 028 9031 2089.

Belfast Telegraph


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