A high-level delegation of senior UK diplomats visited Londonderry in Feb as part of a two day visit to gain a wider understanding of the political structures, strengths, and unique offer of Northern Ireland. The visit was an opportunity to engage local interests and discuss how the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with other partners, is delivering support internationally for all parts of the UK, including Northern Ireland. During their visit, the group met with the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Councillor John Boyle and senior officers of council where they were given an overview of the council’s Strategic Inclusive Growth Plan and the work the council is doing to secure national growth in the city region. Mayor John Boyle said the meeting was very positive in identifying opportunities the Foreign and Commonwealth Office can help to represent the city and district’s interests abroad and to assist in helping the city region achieve its ambition.

Visting Heads of Mission Discuss Derry City and Strabane Growth Plans

He said it was an excellent opportunity for the council and its stakeholders to engage directly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to discuss common interests in terms of business, trade and investment and education opportunities. The delegation also met with representatives from Invest NI before they travelled to Seagate Technology and the Ulster University. The delegation participated in a walking tour of the Historic City Walls before sampling a range of the finest local food and drink produce a food and drink tasting event at the Bishop’s Gate Hotel that was hosted by Invest NI, before an evening reception hosted by the Mayor. Speaking after the visit the Mayor extended his thanks to the delegation saying it was hugely significant in forging links with the FCO and in sharing information that will help the region with its current business and education challenges.

He said: “This visit by the UK senior diplomats was a very important visit for the city and wider region. It was a great opportunity for us to showcase our city and the really positive work we are doing through our Strategic Growth Plan to attract investment, invest in research and education and improve our health and wellbeing. We were able to show the benefits of strategic partnership working between council, the Ulster University and Seagate and welcome the commitment of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in representing the interests of Northern Ireland Internationally.”

The Guildhall underwent a dazzling makeover on Saturday as it was transformed from civic hub to catwalk spectacular as Fashion Fest made its fabulous return.
The sell-out event was the fifth outing for the festival which has become the biggest showcase of fashion design in the North West, drawing a wide range of emerging and established names in the industry.

The show was presented by Derry Girls favourite Dylan Llewellyn, otherwise fondly known as ‘the wee English fella’ who was lured to receive a warm Derry welcome. Members of the Derry Girl cast joined fashion fans in the audience, for an evening of glamour and catwalk fashion. The theme for this year was a nod to the hit Derry Girls series and the stage and choreography was set by Style Academy’s Tracey Hall.

Leading the exciting array of designers who showcased their work on the night was stylist to the stars Kate Halfpenny, who showed pieces from her bridal collection as well as her stunning Black Edit Collection. Also attending the event was Rebecca Testi, the marketing executive of Italian international brand, Rebecca, one of the biggest internationally renowned jewellery brands.
Speaking after the event, Business Engagement Officer with Derry City and Strabane District Council, Danielle McNally, said it had been a fantastic showcase of local talent. “I am delighted that Fashion Fest has been such a sell-out success. The dynamic range of local collections on display is a testament to the talent here in the North West and our growing profile as a fashion hub.
“To have designers of the calibre of Kate Halfpenny showing their work is a great draw, and real inspiration for our up and coming designers. I want to pay tribute to Tracey Hall and all the team at Style Academy for their flair and creativity in bringing together such a stunning show. It’s a great platform for our local design talent, and we will continue to work to support and grow the fashion industry here in the city.”

The audience enjoyed an evening of live music, song and fabulous fashion from a whole host of emerging and established designers, including Bridie Mullan, Paul Stafford, Edel O’Kane and Luke Barber.

Among the models who lit up the catwalk at the event was last year’s Face of Fashion Fest winner Oonagh Canning and with this year’s winner Lauren Burton, presenting the Mayors charity prize she will now embark on a year-long contract with Style Academy Model Agency.

Performances on the night included music by Irish Singer/Songwriter Emma Wallace and Derry’s award winning DJ, Louise DaCosta.
You can find out more about Fashion Fest at www.derrystrabane.com/fashionfest Follow us on Instagram @FashionFestDerry

The Lord Mayor of the City of London extended an invitation to a number of schools in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area to travel to London in November to take part in his Business of Trust Celebration event at the Mansion House. The invitation comes following the visit in September to the city by the Lord Mayor of the City of London Alderman Charles Bowman and senior representatives from the City of London Corporation and the Honourable the Irish Society to attend a high level Londonderry City Region Economic Summit.

Lord Mayor of the City of London Alderman Charles Bowman

During his visit to the City, Lord Mayor Bowman met with pupils from a number of schools to discuss the Business of Trust and ask for their recommendations for what businesses can do to increase their trustworthiness and help restore the public’s trust and confidence in the financial and professional services sector, and has since extended an invitation to nine pupils from Foyle College, St Mary’s College and St. Cecilia’s College, their teachers and a representative from Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Business team to attend his prestigious Business of Trust celebration event. The schools’ participation in the event is being facilitated by the Merchant Taylors Guild and the Honourable Irish Society. Edward Montgomery from the Honourable Irish Society has welcomed the inclusion of young people from the Council area in the event saying: “The Lord Mayor of the City of London was very impressed with the young people he met when he visited the city last month and was very keen to get them involved. He said: “The Honourable Irish Society is delighted that the City of London Corporation has recognised our young people in this way and invited them to be part of this important Mayoral initiative. We are very supportive of our Council and our schools and businesses working in close collaboration with the City of London. We can learn a lot from each other and both benefit greatly from close collaborative working and linkages.” As part of the trip the schools will take a tour of the London Guildhall and get a presentation on the City of London Corporation. They will also get a tour of the BT hub, BT Tower and meet recent graduates and apprentices who have joined BT.

Derry-based transport firm, Airporter, has announced a £1 million investment in a new, purpose-built facility and hub as the company expands. The company’s new 14,000 sq. ft. hub on a 2.5 acre site, will regenerate the former headquarters of the old Lough Swilly Bus Company in Springtown Industrial Estate.

The investment is the result of a six-month development plan, kick-started by a doubling of passengers over recent years. The hub includes on site servicing, fuelling and bus washing, with a range of new driver training and rest facilities, while Airporter’s current facility off Culmore Road will continue to be used for passenger pick-ups and drop offs.

Founded in 1996, Airporter now runs 30 journeys a day to Belfast International and Belfast City Airport from the North West, carrying around 155,000 passengers per year. Since 2014, employee numbers have trebled, with 30 drivers and 15 buses on the road every day. The company has grown from just two drivers and two vehicles, carrying 5,000 passengers in its first year in business to a fleet of 21 vehicles. Previously, Airporter invested heavily in digital technology which allows passengers to book tickets 24 hours a day and bookings are now almost 100 per cent booked online. The announcement comes amidst a backdrop of concerns around the potential risks of Brexit and the lack of investment in infrastructure in the North West, but there has also been reason for optimism after work on the A6 between Dungiven and Derry began, which should see travel time reduced once complete.

Jennifer McKeever, Director of Airporter said: “This investment represents a real statement of intent for us at Airporter. Our expansion reflects our success and the growth in the number of passengers so far. We now have a purpose-built facility fitted out to provide our team with a working environment which reflects the volume of business we do. This shows that as a company we’re always looking towards the future, we’re always looking to do better. “It’s also entirely necessary because demand keeps growing and that’s only going to continue. Last year was a record year for tourism in Northern Ireland and more and more people are coming to explore the North West.”

For further Information https://www.derryjournal.com/news/airporter-in-1m-move-to-former-swilly-base-1-8661866

Ryanair, Europe’s No.1 airline, today launched its new City of Derry Airport route to Edinburgh in October by launching a £9.99 winter sale.

The new route to Edinburgh commenced in October, with a five-time weekly service, as part of Ryanair’s winter 2018 schedule, which also includes a route to Liverpool.

For further Information  https://corporate.ryanair.com/news/ryanair-celebrates-new-city-of-derry-airport-route-to-edinburgh-with-9-99-sale/

Loganair’s new service between City of Derry Airport and Glasgow International is now underway, with the airline reporting strong sales from both business and leisure travellers.

The new route, which operates five times a week between the two airports, has also acted as a catalyst for in-bound tourism to Derry-Londonderry and the region.

Mayor of Derry and Strabane District Council, John Boyle, formally welcomed Loganair’s Commercial Director Kay Ryan to the airport after the arrival of the inaugural flight in March.

Ms Ryan said: “The cities and their populations share very close connections, and this is being reflected via ticket sales. Whether it is family ties or football teams, business or leisure, this is a popular link in both the West of Scotland and Derry.”

She added: “We’re also pleased to be able to offer onward connections through Glasgow with our large network of airline partnerships including Emirates, KLM, Air France and Thomas Cook, allowing for global travel, often on one ticket.”

Read more: https://www.cityofderryairport.com/2018/10/30/loganairs-new-city-of-derry-to-glasgow-international-service-takes-flight/

The Lord Mayor of the City of London extended an invitation to a number of schools in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area to travel to London in November to take part in his Business of Trust Celebration event at the Mansion House. The invitation comes following the visit in September to the city by the Lord Mayor of the City of London Alderman Charles Bowman and senior representatives from the City of London Corporation and the Honourable the Irish Society to attend a high level Londonderry City Region Economic Summit.

Lord Mayor of the City of London Alderman Charles Bowman

During his visit to the City, Lord Mayor Bowman met with pupils from a number of schools to discuss the Business of Trust and ask for their recommendations for what businesses can do to increase their trustworthiness and help restore the public’s trust and confidence in the financial and professional services sector, and has since extended an invitation to nine pupils from Foyle College, St Mary’s College and St. Cecilia’s College, their teachers and a representative from Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Business team to attend his prestigious Business of Trust celebration event. The schools’ participation in the event is being facilitated by the Merchant Taylors Guild and the Honourable Irish Society. Edward Montgomery from the Honourable Irish Society has welcomed the inclusion of young people from the Council area in the event saying: “The Lord Mayor of the City of London was very impressed with the young people he met when he visited the city last month and was very keen to get them involved. He said: “The Honourable Irish Society is delighted that the City of London Corporation has recognised our young people in this way and invited them to be part of this important Mayoral initiative. We are very supportive of our Council and our schools and businesses working in close collaboration with the City of London. We can learn a lot from each other and both benefit greatly from close collaborative working and linkages.” As part of the trip the schools will take a tour of the London Guildhall and get a presentation on the City of London Corporation. They will also get a tour of the BT hub, BT Tower and meet recent graduates and apprentices who have joined BT.

For further Information  https://www.londonderrysentinel.co.uk/news/london-mayor-business-of-trust-invite-for-local-schools-1-8696111

On September 10th Derry City and Strabane District Council hosted a high level Derry~Londonderry City Region Economic Summit focusing on the work being done to develop business, education and investment links between Derry and London.

The Derry~Londonderry City Region Economic Summit hosted by the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr John Boyle, and attended by the Lord Mayor of the City of London Alderman Charles Bowman along with senior representatives from the City of London Corporation and The Honourable Irish Society.

The Summit took place at a number of venues across the city and involved stakeholders from the business, education, investment and industry sectors discussing the positive collaborative work being done with the City of London to promote Derry~Londonderry as a great place to do business.

Organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council, the Derry~Londonderry City Region Economic Summit had been organised following a series of engagements and visits between the two cities over the past number of months.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Cllr John Boyle said purpose of the Economic Summit is to deliver the key objectives set out in the Strategic Growth Plan and the opportunities that exist to build and deepen regional engagement between the City of London and Derry City and Strabane District Council.

He said: “Just last month I welcomed senior representatives from the City of London and The Honourable Irish Society where they received an update on the city’s bid for a City Deal and the work being done by the Council and its partners to further develop the existing strong links between Derry and the City London.

“This high level Economic Summit will look at the benefits of doing business in the North West and the opportunities that exist in the City of London for businesses in the North West. The event will highlight the City Region’s key strength’s focussing on the work that is being done through our Education and Skills Delivery Partnership. A key element of the Summit will be the focus on existing industry and the important role they play to the economic growth and productivity to the Northern Ireland and wider UK economy and how we can look at new ways of collaborating and working creatively with the City of London,” he said,

Mayor Boyle added that the common synergy and connectivity between Derry~Londonderry and the City of London is huge significant.

“The City of London is a global leader in areas such as the Financial Services sector. My hope is that recent investments such as that being made by Fintru and the creation of 305 new jobs is a shining example of the opportunities that exist in developing a sustainable relationship with the City of London.

We have a shared history and heritage that can be leveraged into something stronger. Our strong economic history dates back over 400 years to the Plantation of Ulster and in recent years the two cities have worked closely to promote our connectivity and linkages. We intend to build on this so we can improve our economic relationship by working closely with businesses, investors and education providers for the mutual benefit of both cities.”

For further Information http://www.derrystrabane.com/Council/News/High-level-City-Region-Economic-Summit-to-forge-li

A high-level inward investment team from the State of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia visited Derry, Strabane and Inishowen in October as part of a visit to Northern Ireland.

During their visit to the North West the group met with the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council John Boyle, and visited a number of local businesses, including E&I Engineering in Burnfoot.

They also spent some time at the North West Regional College and the Ulster University Magee campuses to see at first hand the region’s entrepreneurship and innovation and skilled workforce.

The delegation also attended a business engagement lunch with the Chamber of Commerce and met with international investors and local business representatives who are interested in doing business in the Pennsylvania and Philadelphia areas, as well as local companies such as Fleming Agri and Marblehill, who already export to the US.

The visit was just weeks ahead of a forthcoming trade mission to Boston/Philadelphia, which will saw companies from Derry, Strabane and Donegal travelling to the US along with representatives from Derry City and Strabane District Council, Donegal County Council, the Local Enterprise Office, North West Regional College and LYIT.

Among the representatives who visited the city this week from the State of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia were Mr David Briel (Executive Director, Centre for Direct Investment, Pennsylvania); Mr Richard Kilner (Office of International Business Development, Center for Direct Investment, Pennsylvania); Mrs Sylvie Gallier Howard (First Deputy Commerce Director, Department of Commerce, City of Philadelphia) and Mr Vaughn Ross (Deputy Chief of Staff to the Mayor of Philadelphia).

Mayor Boyle said: “They were very impressed with our offering and how well placed we are in terms of offering cost competitive business opportunities along with high level digital connectivity and a young and well educated workforce.

“They were very keen to further explore the existing trade and export relationships that exist with companies from the North West region and Philadelphia, as well as the wider State of Pennsylvania. We are starting to see the benefits of this joined up and positive approach to establishing strong economic development links and initiatives between the US and the North West region. Our relationship is very strong and there is a real eagerness to develop our relationship further.”

For further Information  http://www.derrydaily.net/2018/10/23/mayor-welcomes-high-level-us-delegation-to-north-west/

North West Regional College (NWRC) has signed two Memorandums of Understanding in the United States, signalling its commitment to international co-operation with other education partners. Samantha Traynor, Vice Principal of North West Regional College has travelled to Philadelphia with the College’s European Projects Officer Bronagh Fikri, to sign a MoU with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and the Community College of Philadelphia.

Mrs Traynor was part of a high level trade and investment delegation to Boston and Philadelphia lead by Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council John Boyle, and Seamus O’Domhnaill, Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council. The visit was part of the ongoing positive work being done by the two Councils to establish strong economic development links and initiatives in the US and will build on the work done over the last number of years in promoting the North West region as an attractive investment proposition and on developing new market and network opportunities for businesses from Donegal, Derry and Strabane areas.

A number of companies from the North West are involved in the trip, as well as third level and further education providers and development organisations from across the North West including Ulster University, Letterkenny Institute of Technology, North West Regional College and Udaras na Gaeltachta.

Speaking at the signing of the MoU Mrs Traynor said: “The signing of this MoU in an important event for our College, it’s a great day and one that sees us formalise our educational partnerships, that we have been building and consolidating over the last two years with the wider Penn State through the Department of Community and Economic Development and also with the Community College of Philadelphia.

“The MoU represents the first step in building and consolidating a partnership through education and training with a specific focus on sharing best practice in Work Based Learning to include Traineeships, Apprenticeships including Higher Level Apprenticeships and also the continued professional development of our respective professionals in our workforce.

“There is much to work on together and today marks the next step in building and consolidating that commitment for the benefit of all of our students in the NW City and region in our part of Ireland, in Philadelphia and in the wider state of Pennsylvania.”

For further Information  http://www.nwrc.ac.uk/2018/11/13/north-west-regional-college-signs-mou-in-united-states/