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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 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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