Sunday, 25 February 2018
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Halloween 2017

Hot topic news, products, people and places this October

A New Stick Man Trail

Much-loved picture book character Stick Man is to feature in a new free activity trail opening at Colin Glen Forest Park, Belfast, to encourage children to get outdoors and explore the natural world. Stick Man, created by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, will join another of their favourite children’s characters, The Gruffalo and his friends at the park as part of a pilot scheme devised for community nature sites across the UK. The initiative is part of a UK-wide campaign called Local Heroes, which aims to get more people, including children, involved with their local community growing groups, such as city farms, community gardens, woods, forest and orchards. The Forest Park has been chosen as the first venue in Northern Ireland to launch the self-guided trail, which offers an interactive learning experience for three to seven-year-olds. It's hoped that, if the pilot trails are successful, the scheme can be expanded so that thousands of parents and young children will ‘twig' how much fun the trail can be and become new and regular visitors to their local growing group. To find out more about the Local Heroes campaign, visit
Image (credit © 2008 & TM Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler)

Little Stars Bursary Scheme

Little Wing Pizzeria is spreading its wings into the local community and dishing out bursaries to local children’s clubs this November. Since the scheme launched in 2014, eighteen clubs from across NI have benefitted and this year eight clubs will receive a bursary of £500 each. The programme is open to all clubs for kids under the age of 13 located near any Little Wing branch. Branches include: Ann Street, Lisburn Road, Ballyhackamore in Belfast, Holywood, Bangor, Lisburn and Enniskillen. Little Wing is also extending the bursary scheme to local clubs in Newtownards to mark the pizzeria’s expansion into the area with a new restaurant opening in the town in early 2018. To apply, children’s clubs simply need to submit a 300-word entry or create a two-minute video, explaining why they need the bursary and what it will be used for, along with the location of the club’s nearest Little Wing restaurant. Entries should be emailed to before the closing date of November 10.

Image caption: Ethan Cowieson, Carter Smith and JD Morrison from Ojika NI kids club, Little Stars winners of the last scheme, with Luke Wolsey, Managing Director of Little Wing Pizzeria.

Keeping Childcare Vouchers Open To Parents

The Government plans to close the existing employers Childcare Vouchers scheme to any new entrants from April 2018 (although anyone who is already using Childcare Vouchers can continue to do so as long as they are eligible). NI charity Employers For Childcare are campaigning to keep Childcare Vouchers open and are supporting a petition to have the issue debated in Parliament as research carried out by the Childcare Voucher Providers Association revealed that 93 per cent of parents want the workplace Childcare Voucher scheme to continue. Employers For Childcare are urging the Government to keep Childcare Vouchers open to new entrants, alongside the new scheme, Tax-Free Childcare, so parents can choose the financial support that best suits them. Many families will receive more support under Childcare Vouchers compared to Tax-Free Childcare. You can find out more about both schemes and which one is most beneficial to you at or find the petition at and search ‘keep childcare vouchers open’.

Number Facts

1/5 The number of children who think the sound of dial-up internet is a Dalek from Doctor Who.

1 in 8 The number of children who are embarrassed by their parents’ dancing.

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