Ards and North Down Borough Council has launched this year’s Ards and North Down In Bloom campaign and community competitions to coincide with National Gardening Week (26 April – 2 May).
Volunteers from the Millisle Health and Wellbeing Group helped to launch the ‘In Bloom’ community competitions and are encouraging residents in the Borough to get involved for the chance to be recognised for their excellent gardening skills.
There are a number of different categories that cater for all ages with great prizes available for winners and runners-up in each. Categories include Best Kept Front Garden, Gardening for Wildlife, Best Kept Commercial Premises and Best Kept Community Planting Scheme.
There are competitions specifically for young gardeners too, including the Painting Competition, the hotly contested Tallest Sunflower Competition, and new for 2021, the Best School Garden Project.
Connecting With Nature
The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Trevor Cummings, said:
“Over the last year, we have come to rely on our gardens and green spaces more than ever. Gardening is good for you and many of us have rediscovered the importance of connecting with nature for our mental and physical wellbeing.
“Launching the In Bloom competitions in conjunction with National Gardening Week, and with the enthusiastic members of Millisle Health and Wellbeing Group, provides the perfect opportunity to raise awareness of the benefits of gardening while also encouraging our residents to help make our Borough bloom once again.
“So I am throwing down green gauntlet to everyone; you can do your bit by filling a hanging basket, planting a colourful shrub, sowing wildflower seeds or installing a nest box. There is something for everyone to do to ensure our Borough looks its best in 2021.”
The community competitions encourage everyone who lives or works in the Borough to think about their local environment and how attractive flowers, plants, trees and gardens can enhance it. By actively supporting this competition, entrants will not only make their garden or business more attractive but they will also contribute to the Borough’s entry to the Translink Ulster in Bloom Competition and other regional awards.
Applications are welcome from all residents and entry is free. You can even nominate a neighbour’s garden or other local properties that you think deserve recognition!
For more information, visit ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk/inbloom.
Schools Encouraged to Enter ‘In Bloom’ Best School Garden Project
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 ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk/inbloom.
Council’s Innovative Recycling Fund Supports College’s Green Initiatives
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 ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk/recycling.