Belfast Telegraph

On the grapevine - March 16


Saddle up with march medley

A charity that is soon to be providing riding therapy with donkeys to children with special needs and disabilities is organising a musical fundraising evening on March 29 from 7.30pm at Barnabys Restaurant to raise funds for its newest centre at Templepatrick, County Antrim.

The Elisabeth Svendsen Trust (EST) in Belfast will be providing donkey riding therapy from Easter 2011 and ‘March Medley’ will be an entertaining evening filled with music performed by local singing group ‘Gaslight’ plus an extra special performance on the harp and the dulcimer by Dick and Sabina Glasgow.

‘March Medley’ will be taking place at Barnabys Restaurant, 153 Ballyrobert Road, Ballyclare, BT39 9RT from 7.30pm until 10.30pm.

Tickets cost £10 to include supper and can be purchased by contacting Tina Symington on 07739 323 474.

EST Belfast will welcome around 150 local children with special needs and disabilities to the centre each week for therapeutic riding sessions. The charity will also provide outreach visits with donkeys to residents of nursing homes, hospices and care homes.

For more information about EST visit

Muddy boots

The Muddy Boots horticultural programme is a fun initiative, delivered by horticulturist Tom O’Sullivan, set up to teach local groups how to grow their own vegetables and fruit.

A novel feature of this tailored project is that sessions are delivered at the premises of interested groups, establishing a vegetable garden at a location convenient to participants.

In addition, each participant will receive a Fresh Food Route to Healthy Living guide which contains a wide range of fresh food recipes and useful reference sections.

A restricted number of free places are available up until March 2011.

If your group would like to get involved please contact the Muddy Boots team on 028 9034 0160 or email


a little birdie told me... may be able to volunteer an hour this year to support RSPB.

The RSPB is holding Love Nature Week from May28 to June 5 this year and it is looking for as many volunteers to help out as possible.

To step out for nature with the RSPB, call 02890491547 or email

Up for an adventure

The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) has teamed up with to encourage people across the country to get outdoors and try something new by taking part in the first ever Northern Ireland Adventureland Weekend which takes place on Saturday April 9 and Sunday April 10.

The weekend will see 23 outdoor activity providers across Northern Ireland offering more than 100 adventure ideas from canoeing or mountain-boarding to rock-climbing or surfing for only £10 per person.

Families and individuals can try coasteering, kayaking or Sea Safari. The Adventureland Weekend also marks the launch of an entire summer of outdoor activities in Northern Ireland.

As a special bonus, all those taking part in activities during the launch weekend on April 9 and 10 will receive a 10% discount off further bookings before the end of September 2011.

To get people started, NITB and have compiled a list of sample providers and activities on offer during Adventureland Weekend with more information and ideas available at

Big bus drives cancer service

Northern Ireland’s leading local cancer charity, Action Cancer is bringing its mobile unit, the Big Bus, to Ards, as part of its ongoing tour of the region.

The unit, which is the first of its kind in Europe, will be hosted by the Ligoniel Healthy Living Centre and located at Ligoniel shops, Ligoniel Road BT14 on Friday March 18.

It will be hosted by North Belfast Women’s Initiative and located at the Everton Complex, Ardoyne Road BT14 on Thursday April 7.

The 18 metre-long articulated vehicle with expanding side pods, houses cancer prevention and early detection services and staff on the unit also provide information about support services.

Services provided on the Big Bus, which is fully accessible for people with disabilities by means of a wheelchair lift, include digital breast screening for women aged between 40 and 49 and over 70 and health promotion and MOT health checks for men and women.

A weightloss clinic using the latest technology provides clients with a full body composition analysis and offers tailored guidance on reaching and maintaining an ideal weight.

Big Bus staff can provide information on complementary therapies and other cancer support services such as counselling, a Listening Ear Service and support groups, which are available for cancer patients, their carers and families at the charity’s headquarters in Belfast and at other locations.

Anyone interested in making an appointment for the Big Bus should telephone Action Cancer in advance on 028 9080 3344. Appointments will be available from 10am to 3pm each day.

Bookings are taken on a first come first served basis as there are a limited number of appointments for all services.

Action Cancer Head of Professional Services, Geraldine Kerr said: “Cancer detection and prevention are crucial with cancer rates set to increase by 54% in the next 20 years.

“The emotional support provided by our services will also help many people coming to terms with a cancer diagnosis themselves or deal with the devastating effects of a family member getting cancer.”

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph