The awards went to Randalstown (Best Kept Small Town), Antrim (Best Kept Large Town), Merville Garden, Newtownabbey (Best Kept Large Housing Area) and Richard Wallace of Ballynure and District Community Friendship Group (The George Best Belfast City Airport Community Hero Award).
The Awards, organised by the Northern Ireland Amenity Council (NIAC) and sponsored George Best Belfast City Airport, took place on Tuesday 18th October at the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council Offices, where over 100 representatives from towns and villages across the Province congregated for the ceremony
In their ‘Best Kept Small Town’ citation the judges gave special mention to the Tidy Randalstown Group, “who are instrumental in many of the enhanced features within the town, their commitment and enthusiasm is commendable.”
The judges commended ‘Best Kept Large Town’ winner Antrim, for its pretty town centre, “the jewel in Antrim’s crown, with a great selection of floral displays and planting throughout the town which was practically litter free”. Great street lighting added to the attraction of the town.
‘Best Kept Large Housing Area’ winners, Merville Garden was congratulated for the very evident pride the residents take in where they live. The judges mentioned the “well maintained open spaces and the beautiful, centrally located tree lined walkway, that makes Merville Garden Village a very special housing estate.”
Richard Wallace was recognised with The George Best Belfast City Airport Community Hero Award for his efforts in raising the profile of his village and the positive difference he has made in improving the surroundings for his community.
Congratulating Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council Area on their amazing achievement, President of NIAC, Doreen Muskett, MBE said: “It is great to see so many different communities and initiatives across the Council Area working together and taking pride in where they live. Well done to you all for contributing to make your areas lovely places to live.”
Stephen Patton, Human Resources and CR Manager at George Best Belfast City Airport said: “As a long-standing supporter of the Best Kept Awards, we have had the privilege of witnessing some outstanding efforts over the years towards building brighter, better, and more sustainable communities.
“This year is no exception and we have been blown away by the calibre of entries and the level of civic pride shown throughout Northern Ireland.
“As a responsible business leader, Belfast City Airport is committed to giving back to the local community, supporting projects which help areas thrive, and investing in initiatives that improve the quality of life for those living and working in the vicinity.
“These awards show there are clearly a lot of like-minded individuals in the province and it is wonderful to be able to come together and celebrate the fantastic work that has been carried out in each city, town, village, and housing area.
“Congratulations to all the worthy winners.”
The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Alderman Stephen Ross said, “Congratulations to all of our winners at the Best Kept Awards, what a fantastic achievement! I also want to say thank you to the many villages and towns that entered this year’s competition, we recognise the tremendous efforts our communities go to make the places they live more attractive, and it’s wonderful to see such civic pride across the Borough. “
Now in their 65th year the prestigious awards celebrate areas that are taking action to protect and care for their local environment, creating safer, cleaner, healthier and more sustainable places to live, work and play.
Participating towns, villages and housing areas are judged on a range of criteria, including floral displays, grass roots environmental projects, and an absence of litter and graffiti. Judges also look for underlying evidence of community participation in environmental initiatives, including the promotion of recycling and wildlife conservation.