It won’t be long now until the sun sets on another school year but how best to fill those long hazy days of July and August and avoid the dreaded school holiday lament of “I’m bored!”? A good summer scheme provides the perfect opportunity to make new friends, try something different, learn a skill or indulge in an activity they love. We all want our kids to have an enjoyable break away from the classroom so here’s our thumbs-up round-up of what’s on offer for a sensational summer…


  • What is the ratio of staff to children?
  • What is your policy on bad behaviour and bullying should it occur?
  • What does my child need to bring each day?
  • Are there trained first aiders onsite at all times?
  • Are there any additional activity fees not included in the quoted weekly rate?
  • If it’s an outdoor activity, what are the bad weather plans?
  • Do the instructors have the necessary qualifications and how are staff and visitors screened?
  • What does a typical daily schedule involve?
  • If I am late to collect my child will they still be supervised and is there a late collection charge?
  • Is there supervision at all times?


The STARCAMP ethos is, “Believe in yourself and you can achieve anything!” And as STARCAMP kicks off their biggest and best summer camp line up to date, they teamed up with the renowned mind magician Keith Barry to send out a reminder to parents that the use of the imagination, courage and self-esteem are incredibly positive tools for children for life. “Children simply need to play, pretend, dream and be happy in a safe environment, where they are encouraged and praised” said Aideen O’Grady, Starcamp Director.

“STARCAMP is for everyone, not just the born performers” says Keith. With over 40 per cent boys now in attendance, it truly is a camp with broad appeal.” STARCAMP 2019, as always will include singing, hip-hop, acting, arts & crafts, confidence building, news-reporting, camp games, superheroes, star Olympics, surprises galore – but there will be a special focus this year on magic, the use of the imagination and…. comedy! A memorable winner on Dragon’s Den, STARCAMP has won numerous awards and is widely recognised for leading the way in what itdoes. Suitable for ages four to 12, camps run in the following locations for five days from 9:30 – 2:30pm: Belfast 15-19 July & 5-9 August, Ballymena 22-26 July, Carrickfergus 29 July-2 August, Enniskillen 15-19 July & 5-9 August, L/Derry 22-26 July. Places are limited so book now at or Tel: +353 (21) 437 7900.


School summer holidays in Northern Ireland are two months LOONNGG as every parent in the country can testify. That’s the best part of nine weeks in which children need to be motivated – hopefully away from a screen and controller. Thank goodness for a well-run summer camp!

The first Paul Acheson camp atCampbell College was in 1993.Which means that the Paul Acheson Summer Sports Weeks programmes will celebrate an unrivalled 27 years this summer. The longest-running camp in the country has welcomed thousands of happy children in that time, establishing a secure environment, rich and varied programmes and outstanding staff.

Back for seven weeks this summer, beginning on July 1, this is one of the few summer camps to provide swimming every day. There are courses for children aged four to 15 featuring all sports, or sports with arts & crafts and drama and exciting programmes for ages four to six – Super 4s and Superkids! Prices from only £20 per day. Check out the website: for details.


Newry, Mourne and Down District Council is delighted to announce that they will be running summer schemes across the district during July and August.

The supervised schemes, for children aged six to 11-years-old, offer them the chance to have great fun over the summer. Activities in the schemes include arts & crafts, athletics, trips, swimming, sports and much more.

Registration opened on Monday June 3 and places can be booked by contacting your localcentre. The schemes offer children a greatopportunity to learn new skills, make new friends, and have fun. They also encourage children to ‘Be Active’ to improve their health and wellbeing, linking in to the Council’s Be Active campaign, which encourages residents to undertake regular physical activity.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Charlie Casey said, “We have great facilities across the district and it is fantastic to see children taking advantage of these and enjoying themselves. These schemes certainly allow children to learn, develop and grow andmost importantly of all Be Active.”

Download the app NMD Be Active or


Calling all kids to the Burnavon, Cookstown this July & August!

The return of the much-loved Ballet Ireland Summer School gives young participants a taste of what it is like to work as a professional ballet dancer. Children will create their very own ballet complete with props and design costumes which will be showcased to friends and family at the end of their week of dancing fun. The Burnavon Summer Scheme is perfect for children with an interest in crafts, Lego, textiles, clay, painting and slime! Running for a week, this summer scheme allows children to explore a wide range of techniques through fun filled workshops.

New for 2019 are the Summer Coding Workshops which explore the fundamentals of coding, robotics and more. Traditional Music Summer School provides instrument tuition and music theory on guitar, tin whistle and mandolin, finishing the week with a fantastic showcase.

For more information on any of the summer schemes at the Burnavon or for upcoming events call Tel: 028 8676 9949 or go to

Heather Black

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