Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough has added yet another Green Flag Award to its already impressive tally of honours.
With 15 of the much-coveted accolades already achieved since the programme started in Northern Ireland in 2008, the Borough brought that total to 16 this week as Antrim Loughshore and Gateway Centre became the latest location in the area to receive a prestigious Green Flag.
Organised and run by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, the Green Flag Award is an internationally recognised certification for environmental quality management for parks and open spaces and is continuing to go from strength to strength in Northern Ireland.
All other Green Flags achieved by the Council have been retained through good practice and commitment and these are: Antrim/Belmont Cemetery, Ballynure Old Graveyard, Jordanstown Loughshore Park, Hazelbank Park, Gideons Green, Kilbride Cemetery, Lilian Bland Park, Mallusk Cemetery, Mill Race Trail, Newtownabbey Way, Rashee Cemetery, Randalstown Riverside Walk, Sixmile Water Park, Valley Park and Wallace Park.
Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful also recognises sites which are managed and maintained by loyal volunteers working at a local level through The Green Flag Community Awards. This year again Ballyeaston Church Ruin, Rathfern Activity Centre, Sentry Hill Community Garden and Toome’s Linear Park all maintained their Community Award.
Commenting on the Borough’s Green Flag achievements, Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Jim Montgomery, said:
“The addition of a further Green Flag to the Antrim and Newtownabbey area is testament to the hard work and vision of all those involved in striving to make the Borough a welcoming environment for everyone living, visiting and working here.”
“This year has been a very difficult one on so many levels and I know how much our residents and visitors have appreciated the fantastic parks and open spaces that are available right on our doorstep. I would also like to thank the Council staff and volunteers from the community who worked so hard throughout the lockdown to ensure our outdoor spaces were looking their best.”
Dr Ian Humphreys, Chief Executive of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said:
“Northern Ireland’s parks and open spaces play a hugely important role in supporting our local communities, both in terms of providing recreational space but also for supporting health and wellbeing. This has been highlighted now more than ever as our parks and open spaces provided a haven to many during the difficult lockdown period. It is fantastic to see such a high number of sites in Northern Ireland meeting the international standard for excellence.”
The Green Flag Awards are judged annually by a panel of experts, who volunteer their time to assess the management plans and the applicant sites through a rigorous judging process.
For the 2020/21 season, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful saw a continued increase in public parks, gardens, country parks, cemeteries and green spaces meeting the demanding standards.
If you are interested in finding out further information about the Green Flag Award or other programmes run by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful please visit: www.keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org