As retail begins to reopen across Northern Ireland, Ards and North Down Borough Council’s Keeping Safe Ambassadors are being redeployed back into the Borough’s five main towns – Bangor, Comber, Donaghadee, Holywood and Newtownards.
Funded from Covid 19 financial support provided to the Council by the Department for Communities, the Keeping Safe Ambassadors will be in place from Fridays to Sundays and will act as a friendly point of contact for businesses, customers and visitors who need advice or clarification in relation to Covid-19 restrictions.
As well as being a reassuring presence in our town centres, they can assist with Council-specific enquiries and signpost relevant concerns to other organisations.
Keeping Safe Ambassadors were initially deployed into the Borough’s town centres during the lead up to Christmas as part of the Town Centre Recovery Plan. They provided a welcome and reassuring presence on the streets, and acted as a point of contact with the Council for the public to raise any concerns. They helped to deal with queries while also reminding people of current restrictions and offering advice.
The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Trevor Cummings, said:
“Since Christmas, the Ambassadors have successfully continued their role in targeted, high-footfall areas in public parks and open spaces, so I am delighted that they are now able to return to our town centres once again.
“Their presence will provide confidence to those visiting our town centres and help everyone support our local retailers but please make sure you avoid crowds, follow measures such as wearing masks, queuing and one-way systems, stay patient, and keep safe.”
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.