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.
130 Jobs and £19m PPE Contract for Bangor Firm, Denroy
Economy Minister Diane Dodds and Health Minister Robin Swann visited Denroy in Bangor to welcome the creation of 130 jobs and a £19.5millon PPE contract with Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland (HSCNI).
The major new contract will see Denroy manufacture and supply FFP3 masks to HSCNI from its new manufacturing facility in Bangor, Co Down. To support Denroy to deliver the contract, Invest Northern Ireland has offered the company £1.5m of support towards 130 jobs.
Making the joint announcement, Economy Minister Diane Dodds said: “Over the last 50 years, the Denroy Group has become synonymous with innovation through its cutting edge product development and manufacturing of specialist aerospace components and award winning hair products.
“Due to Covid-19, there has been an unprecedented global demand for PPE. Very early on in the pandemic Denroy took decisive action and repurposed to manufacture PPE. The positive impact of this decision is clearly demonstrated by today’s announcement of new jobs and a contract that will provide PPE to our healthcare workers.
“The company has moved quickly and has already recruited all 130 jobs and hopes to grow further. These new roles will contribute £3.7million in additional annual salaries to the local economy. Not only is this great news for the Ards and North Down Borough Council area, but also for the wider Northern Ireland economy.”
Health Minister Robin Swann said: “At the outset, the Covid-19 pandemic caused us to think very differently about how to tackle many issues. We had to urgently consider how best to meet the challenge of protecting our health and social care staff while safely treating Covid-19 patients.
“The demand for PPE in the first surge of the pandemic placed tremendous strain on the health service in Northern Ireland. My procurement officials put a call out to local manufacturing, with Invest NI, to support the supply of critical PPE items. I am delighted that Denroy answered this call, particularly with a proposal for a new high grade respirator mask for those staff on the frontline treating Covid patients.
“To develop a brand new product, create prototypes and have it tested, certified and considered fit for purpose within six months is quite remarkable. While I applaud Denroy for its innovation and vision, I must also recognise the work of key health staff who worked closely with Denroy innovators to refine the mask and robustly test new prototypes to get this mask in production.”
Proud of our Staff and of our Ingenuity
Denroy’s FFP3 single use mask was designed by the company’s Aerospace Engineers and filters 99% of particles from the air including the small respiratory droplets where coronavirus can be found. The masks will be used by frontline workers across Northern Ireland, from intensive care staff to community care staff.
CEO of Denroy Group, Kevin McNamee said: “We are proud of our staff and of our ingenuity over the last year, and the contribution we made during a time of national crisis. As well as helping with the emergency need for PPE, we have invested over £3million in a new manufacturing facility, created over 130 jobs and secured this £19.5m contract with HSCNI.
“Our plans are to grow our business further, create more jobs and build on this contract in our target markets of Republic of Ireland, Great Britain and the United States in the coming year. We have drawn on the extensive expertise of the team at Invest NI and we’re very grateful for their support.”
Invest NI has offered Denroy Group Ltd £1.5m of support towards the creation of all 130 jobs, which includes a repayable loan of £900,000. The company has already created all of the new jobs.
Kevin Holland, CEO of Invest NI said: “Denroy has shown ingenuity and resilience with its move into the manufacturing of PPE. We have been pleased to provide a range of support to the company throughout the pandemic, from advice on standards for masks to assistance towards the new jobs. We look forward to helping it secure new export markets and I know our in-market teams are already working hard to support the company to achieve this.”