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Ards And North Down

Ards and North Down In Bloom Community Competitions Launched!

The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Trevor Cummings, is pictured outside Millisle Masonic Hall with Millisle Health and Wellbeing Group representative, Kaye Boyle. The Group won the runner-up award in last year’s Ards and North Down In Bloom ‘Best Community Planting Scheme’ category. (Image: Graham Baalham-Curry) Photograph is courtesy of Graham Baalham-Curry. Image is free to use, single use. Copyright remains with Graham Baalham-Curry.

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.

Ards And North Down

Veterans Parade Returns to Newtownards on 24 September

Band, Bugles, Pipes and Drums of the Royal Irish Regiment. Photo Credit: Ian Pedlow

A parade led by the Band of the Royal Irish Regiment, supported by Bugles, Pipes and Drums of the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Regiment, will form part of the annual Veterans Evening in Conway Square, Newtownards, on Friday 24 September at 7pm.

The event will be hosted by Ards and North Down Borough Council, in partnership with the Royal British Legion, and will recognise the invaluable contribution of men and women from across the Borough who served their country, both at home and abroad.

The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Mark Brooks, said:

“We have many serving and past members of the Armed Forces living in the Borough. This annual event pays tribute to our veterans and it is a time to remember those who served, sacrificed and fought for our freedom. I look forward to the event and hope that many of our residents will line the streets in support of our veterans.”

Starting from Court Square at 7pm, the band will follow a route to Conway Square (via Court Street and South Street) where it will be received by the Lord Lieutenant of County Down.

A Beating Retreat ceremony, with a colourful cavalcade of military music, tradition and precision drill, will then take place, with Royal British Legion veterans parading alongside members of the many regimental associations from the Borough and beyond.

The band will follow a return route from Conway Square to Court Square via High Street, Mill Street, Gibson’s Lane, Regent Street, Frances Street, Castle Place and Castle Street.

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Ards And North Down

‘Chatty Bench’ Installed in Bangor to Tackle Loneliness

Hester Kelly (Good Morning Call Volunteer) with the Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Mark Brooks, and Dorothy Beattie (Manager, AGE North Down & Ards) on the Chatty Bench in Bangor Castle Walled Garden. Photo Credit: Ian Pedlow

Ards and North Down Borough Council has placed its first ‘Chatty Bench’ in the beautiful surroundings of Bangor Castle Walled Garden.

Designed to help tackle loneliness and support positive mental health within the community, Chatty Benches are popping up all around the country to provide a place for people to come together, chat and connect.

After more than a year of social distancing, the brightly coloured bench is designed to attract attention and encourage people to talk to each other.

The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Mark Brooks, said:

“Chatty Benches are an excellent initiative to tackle loneliness in our community. They provide designated places that encourage people to meet and talk, even if they don’t know each other. The Council will soon install a second bench in Newtownards’ Londonderry Park, so if you feel like you want to chat with someone, simply take a seat on a Chatty Bench.”

Bangor Castle Walled Garden is an award-winning park that holds a prestigious Green Flag Award. It is a popular destination with residents and visitors to the Borough.

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