Other News In Brief

Lisburn Firm Secures New Business In US And Asia

Lisburn based manufacturer Smiley Monroe has secured new business in the US and Asia, following Invest Northern Ireland support to exhibit at ConExpo. The two contracts are estimated to be worth £265,000.

Smiley Monroe's core manufactured products are hot spliced 'Endless Conveyor Belts' and Custom Rubber Parts, locally produced and exported to over 40 countries for use in equipment sectors as diverse as mobile crushing, screening, recycling and washing, environmental, bulk material handling and road construction.

Chris Monroe, Smiley Monroe's Global Sales Director commented: "ConExpo 2017 gave us a platform to meet potential customers from across North America to showcase our products for future business. With Invest NI support this was our first year exhibiting independently at ConExpo with a custom-built, outdoor booth. VR proved to be a fantastic way to educate customers about our diverse range of products and hopefully left a lasting memory of the Smiley Monroe booth.

"We've invested quite a bit of time in developing our knowledge of the market and since the last show in 2014, our export sales have increased by 27% and we're keen to build upon this success. This new business is a direct result of our marketing efforts in North America and is a very encouraging signal as we prepare to expand our presence there."

NIFHA Appoints New Communications Officer

The Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations (NIFHA) has appointed a new Communications Officer.

Sue Doherty will help publicise the work of housing associations and advocate for the sector.
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She said: "This is an exciting time to join NIFHA, just ahead of our annual conference in September and as we start to look at planning our strategy for the next three years.

"I'm very much looking forward to getting to know the Communications Officers at all the Housing Associations and working with them to enhance our communications as a sector at this vital time for social housing.

"If anyone has stories they'd like us to share, such as case studies, events, new developments, we’re more than happy to help, whether in our fortnightly ezine, on our website or via our social media."

Urgent Call for Cuts To School Uniform Grants To Be Reversed

Planned cuts to school uniform grants should be urgently reversed before the processing of applications begins in August, Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Karen Mullan has said.

The Foyle MLA was speaking before leading a Sinn Féin delegation to meet the Education Authority in Belfast.

She commented: "The proposal to cut the school uniform grant is a disgraceful attack on children and families from deprived communities and we will again be demanding that it is reversed.

"It is a vital resource for many families and makes a real impact on the lives of thousands of children. That is why Sinn Féin Minister Caitriona Ruane introduced the primary school uniform grant and her successor John O’Dowd extended the criteria allowing thousands more pupils to benefit.

"The school uniform grant should be protected not cut and the issue is becoming even more urgent because the processing of applications normally takes place in August.

"Therefore a decision needs to be made quickly and Sinn Féin will be strongly pressing the Education Authority and the Department of Education over the coming days to reverse their plans and ensure all families receive their full entitlement in time for the new school year."


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