Connect with us

Ards And North Down

The Mayor of Ards and North Down reflects on the past 12 months.

Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Trevor Cummings

On 19 March 2021, it will be 12 months since Ards and North Down Borough Council initiated its emergency response plan as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. During this time, I have seen people band together and support each other in an almost wartime-like response. It has been heart-warming to see so many people going out of their way to help others, particularly when each and every one of us has had to face our own unique set of issues in these difficult circumstances. 

As a Council, our staff have gone above and beyond to ensure essential services have continued to be delivered throughout the Borough. Our household waste and recycling collection services have continued unabated, and we launched a food distribution service to make sure that especially vulnerable residents who were required to self-isolate had a weekly delivery of food direct to their door. 

This would not have been possible without the support of a large contingent of local volunteers, community and voluntary organisations, and food banks. People pulled together from different corners of our Borough to make sure those most in need were not forgotten. 

Owe a Huge Amount of Gratitude

We also owe a huge amount of gratitude to all essential workers. The doctors, nurses and all other hospital and medical centre staff. The police officers and firefighters, social care workers, and others. 

Of course, despite these valiant efforts, many people still succumbed to Covid-19. To their family and friends, I would like to offer my sincere condolences. Ards and North Down Borough Council will light up a number of Council buildings on 23 March in memory of all those who lost their lives. 

As we start to look towards some brighter days ahead, I would like to take this opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to everyone who has selflessly risked their own health for the benefit of others, and to everyone who has managed to make someone else’s life that little bit easier. Your valiant efforts during the last 12 months have made a massive difference to so many people. 

Give Us All Some Hope

With the news that all primary school students will be back to school next week, and the possibility that older students will follow in their footsteps after Easter, it should give us all some hope that we are well on the road back to normality. I am sure there will be some challenging days ahead but by continuing to support each other, we will get there. 

In the meantime, please continue to adhere to the public health guidelines. Our combined efforts have helped us take massive steps forward from the position that we were in 12 months ago. That continued determination and resilience will ensure we can get back to normal sooner rather than later. 

Stay safe. 

Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Trevor Cummings 

Ards And North Down

Schools Encouraged to Enter ‘In Bloom’ Best School Garden Project

The outgoing Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Trevor Cummings, was pictured during the final days of his 2020-21 Mayoral term with West Winds Primary School students Cooper, Riley, Isabella and Aamiyah. Photo Credit: Ian Pedlow

Schools in Ards and North Down are being invited to enter a new category in the Ards and North Down In Bloom competitions for the Best School Garden Project!

The competition provides a great opportunity for green-fingered students to take part in a valuable learning and skills sharing project in their school’s garden. It is open to all schools across the Borough, and students are being encouraged to work together to compete for the coveted award that offers prizes for the best projects.

The new category will encourage more young students to learn about gardening. The popular pastime has many benefits and can help children with their development as well as being an excellent educational tool.

By taking part in the competitions, schools will not only make their grounds more attractive but they will also contribute to the Borough’s entry into the Translink Ulster in Bloom competition and other regional awards. Entries are open until 30 September so there is plenty of time for schools to prepare their gardens before an expert panel of judges decide who has the Best School Garden Project in Ards and North Down.

The Council’s In Bloom campaign and community competitions were officially launched at the end of April. Other competitions for young gardeners include a Tallest Sunflower Competition, Painting Competition, and Young Volunteer of the Year.

For those over the age of 16, categories include Best Kept Front Garden, Gardening for Wildlife, Best Kept Commercial Premises, Best Kept Community Planting Scheme and Volunteer of the Year.

The competitions are free to enter and prizes are available for the winners and runners-up in each. For more information, visit

Continue Reading

Ards And North Down

Council’s Innovative Recycling Fund Supports College’s Green Initiatives

(L-R) SERC Enterprise team Lizzie Buick, Jake Collyer, Karen McCartan, Charlotte Buick, Stephen Addy (Ards and North Down Borough Council), Natasha Lloyd, Rachel Innes, Megan Rollins and Dearbhla Knight.

Ards and North Down Borough Council’s innovative recycling fund has successfully supported environmental projects headed by students at South Eastern Regional College (SERC).

The Council’s Recycling Community Investment Fund (RCIF) provided funding to support the SERC Student Enterprise company ‘Don’t Bird It, Bin It’ and the college’s ongoing green initiatives.

‘Don’t Bird It, Bin It’ is an environmental project that was created to tackle the plastic waste problem through education. RCIF funding helped students offer an educational package tailored for local primary schools. This included visual aids and resources to demonstrate how detrimental plastic is to wildlife and eco-system.

Stephen Addy, the Council’s Head of Regulatory Services, said:

“The RCIF is powered by the recycling efforts of local residents and businesses. It costs the Council half as much to recycle waste compared to the cost of sending it to landfill. Thanks to an increased amount of recycling by the local community, the savings allowed the Council to create the RCIF which supports new and existing environmentally friendly initiatives such as excellent work being carried out by SERC’s students.”

Lizzie Buick, Deputy Head of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship at SERC, said:

“With funding from Ards and North Down Borough Council’s RCIF, the Enterprise and Estates Departments at SERC were able to install 35 internal and four external recycling bins across our Bangor, Ards and Holywood campuses. The team also ran an internal competition for students to create art that would be displayed on the bins that encouraged recycling both on campus and in the local community. The recycling bins are part of a wider programme to build on our green credentials across the College.”

For more information about recycling in Ards and North Down, visit

Continue Reading