Wednesday, 25 November 2009

People’s Millions: Vote Today 0871 626 8102

We need your vote to secure a win for our community project 'Growing Communities in Carrickfergus' at Eden Allotment Gardens in the People's Millions. Please vote for us today on 0871 626 8102.

So Katie is out of the jungle...but we still need your votes to secure a win for our community project 'Growing Communities in Carrickfergus' at Eden Allotment Gardens in the People's Millions.

Please vote for us today on 0871 626 8102. Calls cost 10p, so vote today and tell at least 10 other people about it. Lines are open until midnight tonight on 25 November 2009.

To find out about 'Growing Communities in Carrickfergus' visit the People’s Millions Website.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Eden set for People's Millions Vote

Eden set for People's Millions Vote (9th November 2009)

Eden Allotment Gardens is a finalist for this year's The People's Millions. Voting for the project will commence on 25 November. The £46,676 project will develop a community fruit and vegetable growing project at Eden Allotment Gardens in Carrickfergus, including a demonstration garden and on-site horticultural training room which will involve local people in growing their own food and build links to local communities, encouraging cross-community working. The project will principally involve people from deprived communities in the wards of Northland, Sunnylands, Clipperstown and Love Lane in Carrickfergus and will also involve people with physical and mental health difficulties. The impact of the project will include improved community relations and reduced tension, increased knowledge about diet and healthy eating, increased skills and employability and reduced stress and improved mental health. Local community groups have been approached and have expressed an interest in being involved in the project. To help Growing Communities in Carrickfergus win funding you must vote by phone between 9am and midnight on 25 Nov 2009. The voting phone number will be advertised here and in the Daily Mirror on the day. A short video about this project and the competing project will also be shown on the ITV regional news between 6.00pm and 6.30pm. Remember the Voting Date: 25 November 2009 (9am-midnight). Further information available at People's Millions Website.

Monday, 2 November 2009

'In Bloom' winners honoured at prize-giving

Floral creativity has once again been recognised by the Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative organised by Carrickfergus Borough Council.

Local competition winners and runners-up received their well earned certificates and prizes at a prize-giving lunch in Carrickfergus Town Hall on Friday 23rd October 2009, with over 120 people attending the event.

Competition categories included Best Kept Garden & Best Kept Container Garden for householders; Best Kept Commercial Premises for commercial organisations; Painting, Poetry and Tallest Sunflower Competitions for young people; and for internet users we have the Virtual Flower Show.

At the Lunch, the Chairperson of Parks, Countryside & Amenities Sub-Committee, Alderman May Beattie thanked all those who took part in the competition and made it such a success. “The Carrickfergus in Bloom Community Competitions has really caught the imagination of local people with 1641 people taking part this year. The judges were very impressed by the number of high quality entries, the time and dedication many entrants spend in their gardens is extraordinary and is a credit to them, all who took part should be proud of their achievement's." said Alderman Beattie

Alderman Beattie also thanked the Competition Sponsors who paid for many of the flowerbeds and hanging baskets throughout the Borough. "The success of Carrickfergus in Bloom could not have happened without the generous support of local businesses throughout the Borough of Carrickfergus."

"We would also thank our statutory partners that have made Carrickfergus in Bloom such a success. Translink, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive & the Department of Regional Development have helped to improve the beauty of Carrickfergus 365 days a year; with the use of flowers, colourful shrubs, trees and attractive street furniture. As have many local groups in the Borough“. Ended Alderman Beattie

Monday, 19 October 2009

The Glory of the Garden

I really enjoyed Radio 4's Poetry Please programme on Sunday 18th October, it featured the Rudyard Kipling poem 'The Glory of the Garden'. To listen visit the BBC Website.

OUR England is a garden that is full of stately views,
Of borders, beds and shrubberies and lawns and avenues,
With statues on the terraces and peacocks strutting by;
But the Glory of the Garden lies in more than meets the eye.
For where the old thick laurels grow, along the thin red wall,
You'll find the tool- and potting-sheds which are the heart of all
The cold-frames and the hot-houses, the dung-pits and the tanks,
The rollers, carts, and drain-pipes, with the barrows and the planks.

And there you'll see the gardeners, the men and 'prentice boys
Told off to do as they are bid and do it without noise ;
For, except when seeds are planted and we shout to scare the birds,
The Glory of the Garden it abideth not in words.
And some can pot begonias and some can bud a rose,
And some are hardly fit to trust with anything that grows ;
But they can roll and trim the lawns and sift the sand and loam,
For the Glory of the Garden occupieth all who come.

Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made
By singing:-" Oh, how beautiful," and sitting in the shade
While better men than we go out and start their working lives
At grubbing weeds from gravel-paths with broken dinner-knives.
There's not a pair of legs so thin, there's not a head so thick,
There's not a hand so weak and white, nor yet a heart so sick
But it can find some needful job that's crying to be done,
For the Glory of the Garden glorifieth every one.

Then seek your job with thankfulness and work till further orders,
If it's only netting strawberries or killing slugs on borders;
And when your back stops aching and your hands begin to harden,
You will find yourself a partner In the Glory of the Garden.
Oh, Adam was a gardener, and God who made him sees
That half a proper gardener's work is done upon his knees,
So when your work is finished, you can wash your hands and pray
For the Glory of the Garden that it may not pass away!

And the Glory of the Garden it shall never pass away !

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Children’s Community Competition Winners Announced

Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside and Amenities Sub-Committee announced the winners and runners-up (list enclosed) of the Carrickfergus in Bloom Children’s Painting & Poetry Competitions.

Alderman Beattie said “We are delighted to announce the Carrickfergus in Bloom Children’s Painting & Poetry Competition Winners and Runners-up. I am thrilled with the response from those taking part and am really excited about the quality and diversity of the entrants. It has been an opportunity for me to see the wealth and variety of artistic talent in our community. “Winners and runners-up will be invited to a prize-giving ceremony at the end of October in Carrickfergus Town Hall to receive their certificates and prizes.

Children’s Painting Competition 15 and under
Winner: Gemma Martin from Greenisland (painting enclosed)
Runner-Up: Anna Gorrod from Carrickfergus
Runner-Up: Lauren Finlay from Carrickfergus

Children’s Painting Competition 10 and under
Winner: Meghan Reid from Carrickfergus (painting enclosed)
Runner-Up: Matthew Logan from Carrickfergus
Runner-Up: Jade Halliday from Carrickfergus

Poetry Competition
Winner: Emma Baird from Carrickfergus
Runner-Up: Peter Mitchell from Carrickfergus
Runner-Up: Noel Hartley from Greenisland

View all the winning paintings
View all Carrickfergus in Bloom winners

Friday, 2 October 2009

Best Kept Allotment Winners Announced

Carrickfergus Borough Council has announced the winners of the Best Kept Allotment sponsored by Sunnybank Garden Centre, they are:

Winner: Andrew and Carrie Gault, Carrickfergus.
Runner-Up: David McCormick, Carrickfergus.
Runner-Up: Godfrey Robinson, Carrickfergus.

What the judges looked for:

• environment sustainability;
• the variety & quality of the crop;
• the control of weeds & rubbish;
• the use of compost;
• general appearance;
• creativity of each plot.

The prizes are: 1st Prize: £60.00 Gift Voucher plus two Runner-Up Prizes: £35.00 Gift Voucher. The award ceremony will take place at the October Carrickfergus in Bloom Prize Giving lunch.

Stephen Daye, Parks & Countryside Development Officer said “Carrickfergus Borough Council is committed to improving the quality of life for all the people of Borough through the services it provides including our allotment service. We opened are allotment site at Eden last April. What started as 36 plots has grown already to 198 plots. I would encourage residents of the Borough to visit Eden Allotment Gardens off Beltoy Road to view what the allotmenteers have achieved in the past year. The quality of the plots did make it difficult to pick our winners but all allotment holders should be proud of their achievements. We would like to thank Sunnybank Garden Centre who kindly sponsored the Best Kept Allotment Competition.”

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Eden Green Heroes Win Award

The Garden of Eden allotment project has won the title of “BTCV Project of the Year” in the Green Heroes Awards in association with Conservation Volunteers Northern Ireland. The Garden of Eden project has been running for almost a year at the Eden allotment site outside Carrickfergus. The group work weekly on the site to produce their own vegetables and have received training in a range of organic horticultural skills. The project consists of a group of volunteers from two local charities; Mindwise and the Drug and Rehabilitation Centre. The group were nominated for the award by the project co-ordinator Helen Tomb, “The team worked really hard on the project from the start, and have produced fantastic results in such a short time.” The Green Heroes Awards are given out in recognition of the outstanding work volunteers of all ages do across Northern Ireland to improve their local environment. The project was up against other projects from across Northern Ireland in the category to win the title of “Project of the year.” The project has improved the physical abilities of those involved by providing a means for gentle exercise and improving their mental health. The group grow local organic produce which they can take home and they now have a good appreciation of the benefits of eating organically where possible. The group has also recently won 1st prize in the Garden Gourmet competition for their Brussel Sprouts. The annual show displays thousands of colourful prize blooms alongside amazing monster-size vegetables and other horticultural cuties from local gardens, allotments and greenhouses. The project would not have been possible without the funding from the Northern Health and Social Care Trust and the huge continuous support from Carrickfergus Borough Council.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Winners Announced for Community Garden Competition

Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside and Amenities Sub-Committee has announced the Carrickfergus in Bloom Competition Winners and Runners-up this morning for the Best Kept Garden, Best Kept Container Garden and Best Kept Community Planting Scheme.

Alderman Beattie said “We are delighted to announce the Carrickfergus in Bloom Community Competition Winners and Runners-up. I am thrilled with the response from those taking part and am really excited about the quality and diversity of the entrants. It has been an opportunity for me to see the wealth and variety of horticultural talent in our community.”

“Winners and runners-up will be invited to a prize-giving ceremony at the Town Hall in October to receive their certificates and prizes. At the ceremony we shall announce our plans for Carrickfergus in Bloom in the coming year. I would also like to thank the sponsors for supporting Carrickfergus in Bloom." ended Alderman Beattie

Stephen Daye, Parks & Countryside Development Officer with Carrickfergus Borough Council and one of the judges commented "We where very impressed by the number of high quality entries this year, the time and dedication many entrants spend in their gardens is a credit too them. Deciding on a winner was very difficult for some categories; however all who took part should be proud of their achievements."

Best Kept Garden

Winner: Eddie Polland, Whitehead.
Runner-Up: John O’Neill, Carrickfergus.
Runner-Up: Jimmy Shanks, Carrickfergus.
Runner-Up: Robert Cully, Carrickfergus.

Best Kept Container Garden

Winner: Norma Clark, Carrickfergus.
Runner-Up: Christopher Betts, Carrickfergus.
Runner-Up: Ernie Millar, Greenisland.
Runner-Up: Robert Welch, Eden.

Best Kept Community Planting Scheme

Winner: Brighter Whitehead (Whitehead Town Display).
Runner-Up: Riverbrook Residents Association, Whitehead.
Runner-Up: Greenisland Environmental & Heritage Group (Town Display).
Runner-Up: Kilroot Orange Hall, Eden.

Best Kept Commercial Premises

Winner: Beauty Care 2000 from Whitehead
Runner-Up: Hunter Campbell from Carrickfergus
Runner-Up: The Cutting Station from Whitehead

Best Kept Pub or Hotel

Winner: Joymount Arms from Carrickfergus
Runner-Up: Brewers Fayre from Carrickfergus
Runner-Up: Pa Pa Browns from Carrickfergus

Best Floral Display by Traders in a Street or Centre

Winner: Carrickfergus Town Centre Display (Carrickfergus Chamber of Commerce)
Runner-Up: DeCourcy Centre at Carrickfergus
Runner-Up: The Courtyard at Carrickfergus

Link to view winners

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Tallest Sunflower Competition Winners Announced

The winner and runners-up of the Carrickfergus in Bloom Tallest Sunflower Competition have been announced.

The winner: Sophie Montogemery aged 11 from Carrickfergus whose sunflower grew to a massive 3 meters 60cm. The runners-up are Jenny Mitchell aged 8 from Carrickfergus whose sunflower grew to 3 meters 40cm & Emily Turner aged from Carrickfergus whose sunflower grew to 2 meters 93cm.

Stephen Daye, Parks & Countryside Officer explained "Carrickfergus Borough Council distributed in March, two thousand packets of Sunflower seeds to local school children as part of the Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative. After months of tender loving care by the young people it's great to see the end results. The time and dedication many entrants spend on tending their sunflowers is extraordinary and is a credit too them."

"Winners and runners-up will be invited to a prize-giving ceremony at the Town Hall in October to receive their certificates and prizes. At the ceremony we shall announce our plans for Carrickfergus in Bloom in the coming year."

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Gardening is good for you

A report has found that 70 per cent of the population believes that spending time in gardens is more important for their quality of life than in front of the television or shopping. The report ‘Space to Grow: Why People Need Gardens’’ argues that gardens and other green spaces are crucial for food security, wildlife and even tackling climate change.

We welcome the report that gardening is good for physical and psychological health. I am delighted that this report has highlighted how gardens and gardening can benefit everyone in society, regardless of age, background or circumstance.

The message is clear, if you want to feel better get into gardening. Never has access to green space been more important for our spiritual and physical wellbeing than it is in today's rapidly changing world.

Carrickfergus Borough Council provides over 125 hectares of parks, green space areas, allotments, wildflower meadows, countryside and shoreline walks, woodlands, floral displays and playgrounds. Council initiatives such as Carrickfergus in Bloom and the School Growing Clubs are excellent examples of bringing the benefits of gardening to residents of the Borough.

In today's fast-paced world, finding space and time to unwind and relax is becoming ever more crucial. Nowhere does this better than the quiet corner of a garden or park that give us the chance to breathe in our natural surroundings and refresh our weary spirit. I am passionate about the idea that everyone should have access to a garden or local green space.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Virtual Flower Show

The Virtual Flower Show organised by Carrickfergus in Bloom is an opportunity for Carrickfergus Borough residents to show off their photographic and gardening skills. The 2009 competition is now open for voting.

Judging is by popular vote from members of the public. Votes will be cast electronically via this website from 23rd August to 20th September.

To VOTE please go to

Friday, 14 August 2009

Fun Day Update

The morning started early for the Fun Day on Saturday. BBC Radio asked to do a live broadcast from 8pm so I needed to be at Eden Allotment Gardens for 7am to let in the sound engineer. It also gave me an opportunity to have a look round the allotments before the crowds descended. The place is beautiful in the morning and it's my favorite time. The BBC interview went well and I was interviewed along side Austin and Myrtle from the Allotment Association. By 9am the Technical staff had arrived to put up the Marquee and things started to get done. The Allotment Association stands looked great and we supplied them with tables, chairs and gazebo’s. Other stands included some commercial craft stalls, face painters, bee keeper association, conservation volunteers, petting farm, bouncy castle, McConnell Funeral Service Balloon Competition, Treasure Hunt and football kick-about area. By 11.30 the public started to come in droves. The sheer number was over-whelming but very welcome. The Apex Jazz band played until 2pm and they added to the festival atmosphere of the event. At 2pm our local MP Sammy Wilson gave a speech and he was very kind to Carrickfergus Borough Council. After the speech we had the Scarecrow Competition sponsored by Sunnybank Garden Centre, 20 Scarecrow took part. The result:

1st Place: James Howells from Carrickfergus
2nd Place: Anna Clarke from Carrickfergus
3rd Place: Curtis & Lewis Patterson from Carrickfergus

The Treasure Hunt winners were Adam Mercer from Whitehead and Georgia Nelson from Magheramorne. The McConnell Funeral Service Balloon Competition winner was Lillian Allen who guessed the correct number of balloons 191.

Feedback from the day was very positive as was the attendance figures with over 3000 people attending.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

National Allotments Week

To celebrating National Allotments Week (10 to 16 August) Carrickfergus Borough Council and Eden Allotment Holders Association are holding a Family Fun Day on Saturday 8th August, from 12 noon to 4pm. The Family Fun Day will include a scarecrow competition, children’s games, face painting, plant and craft sales, a petting farm and a vegetable juggler plus much more. Everyone Welcome.