After hundreds of nominations from across the country we can now reveal the names of the 2016 family superstars who will be joining us at Belfast City Hall on Monday June 27 for a spectacular gala awards ceremony in their honour.
Once again this year we were overwhelmed by the record number of nominations received and by the stories we read of the amazing children, parents, grandparents, teachers, charities, businesses and coaches who consistently go above and beyond. It was such a difficult task to select a final shortlist in each category – and a huge challenge for our judging panel to then select just three finalists in each category – which is why this year in some categories we have up to five finalists!
Congratulations to everyone who made it onto our shortlist this year – you are all outstanding and on behalf of families in Northern Ireland – we thank you for all that you do. But ultimately, our judging panel had to select the final few that topped their list for being everything a family superstar should be. After hours of deliberation and discussion the verdicts are in… and here are the results.
Our 2016 Finalists Are:
FAMILY VISITOR ATTRACTION OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Foster Care Associates
The Jungle NI, Magherafelt
Rosepark Farm, Ballymoney
Slieve Gullion Forest Park – The Giant’s Lair, Newry
EVENT OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Odyssey Cinemas Belfast
Belfast BabyDay, Replay Theatre Company
Big Wild Sleepout, RSPB
A Night on Broadway, Moneyreagh Primary School
FAMILY SUPPORT ORGANISATION OF THE YEAR
Down’s Syndrome Association
The Lighthouse Trust, Donaghadee
COACH OR TUTOR OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Specsavers
Greg Brennan, Mountain Trail, Holywood
Ciara Faloona, Playball NI, Belfast
Michael Jackson, East Belfast Football Club
PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHER OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Forestside
Elaine Aiken, Maghaberry Primary School
Yvonne Finnegan, St Brigid’s Primary School, Downpatrick
Ashleigh Hall, Andrews Memorial Primary School, Comber
Fiona McGoldrick, Loughview Integrated Primary School, Belfast
FAMILY RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR
Café Nosh, Dundonald
Slim’s Healthy Kitchen, Belfast
Happy Days Afterschool, Belfast
Happy Days Community Childcare, Ballymoney
Keith Kennedy, Childminder, Belfast
FAMILY FRIENDLY BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
Debbie Doolittle’s Wildlife, Antrim
Scallywags Play Centre, Banbridge
Sensations NI Learning Support
MUM OF THE YEAR
Grainne Ashe, Belfast
Laura Casey, Lurgan
Leigh Dunn, Ballybogey
Julie Hull, Lisburn
DAD OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Q Radio
Gerard Casey, Dungannon
Henry McTasney, Belfast
Ivan Mullan, Limavady
CHILD OF THE YEAR
Ellsa Alexander-Adams, Newtownards
Amy Brennan, Belfast
Xander Burrows, Banbridge
Aimee Hughes, L/Derry
Lucy Park, Castlewellan
GRANDPARENT OF THE YEAR
Julie Anna Doyle, Belfast
Catherine Ferns, Newry
Elsie Sloan, Lambeg
THANK YOU FOR NOMINATING!
Ni4kids would like to thank every single one of you who made a nomination. Without you this event would not be possible. To celebrate the awards this year Ni4kids will host a special preview screening of a big family blockbuster movie this summer, courtesy of Odyssey Cinemas Belfast. Everyone who made a nomination will be entered into the draw to win a family pass to attend. Good luck!
Find out more about our amazing finalists at ni4kids.com/familyawards where you can also view all shortlisted nominees.
MEET THE 2016 JUDGING PANEL
Top row: Left to right. Gary Hamilton, Managing Director of Family Media Group; Gareth Stewart, Q Radio; Alex Kane, political commentator and columnist. Bottom Row (L to R) Shauna McCarney-Blair, mum-of-four and Managing Director of Heavenly Tasty Organics, Pauline Leeson, CEO of Children in Northern Ireland. Also on the judging panel is Mary Roulston, Principal of Millennium Integrated Primary School and a former Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year in Education.
Foster Care Associates, sponsor the Family Visitor Attraction of the Year Award. Marketing Coordinator Nicola Lambert commented: “Foster Care Associates have been delighted to be part of the NI4Kids Awards 2016 and sponsoring the award for Family Visitor Attraction of the Year has been a pleasure as we feel that spending quality time exploring new things, revisiting favourite places and embarking on exciting journeys is what encourages development, confidence and enthusiasm towards learning in children and young people. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners this year!”
Lee Cutler, Centre Manager, Forestside who sponsor the Primary School Teacher of the Year Award said: “Forestside is delighted to once again sponsor the Ni4Kids award for Primary School Teacher of the Year. Here at Forestside we work very closely the primary schools in our catchment area through the Forestside Life programme and see first-hand the outstanding calibre of primary school teachers supporting our children through their most formative years. Our customers are passionate about the NI educational system and are delighted that we can help put the spotlight on the amazing work that our primary teachers do. We know that the judges will have had an incredibly tough job selecting the winner from such a talent packed field from all across NI and that the overall winner will be someone very special indeed. We very much look forward to meeting them and all the finalists at the awards ceremony.
Brian O’Kane, Chairman, Specsavers Northern Ireland commented: “The entries for our Coach of the Year category were outstanding, it was a very tough call to whittle down the shortlist, but a privilege to read each and every submission. Our three finalists have shown a clear dedication to their crafts; from sports coaching and allowing kids to understand the importance of teamwork, to tutoring individuals and helping them realise their full potential, our finalists have helped children in Northern Ireland grow with confidence and ability. We wish each of them all the best from everyone at Specsavers in Northern Ireland.”