Monday, 27 July 2015

Love Parks Week continues!

The Borough is celebrating national Love Parks Week! Events began on Friday 24th July and will continue until Sunday 2nd August. This weekend people in Carrickfergus and Whitehead have enjoyed Pond Dipping and a Seashore Safari. There is still a huge range of events to come so why not visit your local park during the campaign to show what it means to you?

Rory, Dave & Isla Carver pond dipping at Carrickfergus Mill Ponds, Friday 24th July 2015

Seashore Safari, Blackhead Path, Whitehead, Saturday 25th July 2015

 Bootcamp in the Park on Monday 27th July at 6.30pm (to 7.30pm) in Carrickfergus Mill Ponds, Carrickfergus. Description: Think you might enjoy outdoor cardio and circuit training and using the outdoor gym? Then Bootcamp is for you! Booking is essential (Tel: 028 9335 8888).

Woodland Walk on Tuesday 28th July at 7pm (to 8.30pm) in Bashfordsland Wood (meeting at Oakfield Community Centre), Carrickfergus. Description: Our woodlands are full of edible treats! Learn which fruits and plants can be transformed into soups, salads and delicious drinks on this fun walk through the woods with expert Dermot Hughes.

Buggy Workout on Wednesday 29th July at 10am (to 11am) in Carrickfergus Mill Ponds, Carrickfergus. Description: Calling all parents and babies! Join in this fun outdoor fitness routine specifically designed for those with babies in buggies. Meeting at Carrickfergus Amphitheatre car park.

Moth Hunt on Wednesday 29th July at 7pm in Eden Allotment Gardens, Carrickfergus. Description: See what amazing creatures inhabit the night sky on this Moth Hunt, with 'Adopt a Moth Trap’ for interested participants with expert Catherine Bertrand of Butterfly Conservation NI.

'What's that Moth?' On Thursday 30th July at 9am (to 10.30am) in Eden Allotment Gardens, Carrickfergus. Description: A chance to go through our traps from the night before and learn more about mysterious moths with expert Catherine Bertrand of Butterfly Conservation NI.

Butterfly Hunt & Picnic on Thursday 30th July at 12noon (to 2pm) in Diamond Jubilee Wood, Whitehead. Description: Bring a packed lunch and join expert Catherine Bertrand of Butterfly Conservation for a wander through the woodland to see what butterflies we can find as part of the Big Butterfly Count.

Out To Play on Friday 31st July at 2pm (to 3.30pm) in Shaftesbury Park, Carrickfergus. Description: Get out to play with den building, water play, outdoor arts and crafts, traditional outdoor games and more!

Parkrun on Saturday 1st August at 9.30am (Start) in Carrickfergus Mill Ponds. Description: 5km event for runners of all standards.

Family Fun Day at Greenisland Play Park on Saturday 1st August at 1pm to 3pm. Description: Bouncy Castles and face painting are just some of the activities on offer at the Borough’s newest play park.

Mini-Golf Competition on Sunday 2nd August 2015 at 2pm (to 5pm) in Bentra Golf Course, Whitehead. Description: Fun family event with prizes and a chance to be on our Wall of Fame. To avoid disappointment please book your place. (Telephone: 028 9337 8996).

Carrickfergus Mill Ponds Local Nature Reserve

Guests gathered at Carrickfergus Mill Ponds on Friday (24th July) for the official opening of the site as a nature reserve and saw local children enjoy environmental activities including pond dipping and mini beast hunting.

Carrickfergus Mill Ponds is three hectares of land which is an urban oasis for wildlife. The main features of the site are the two former mill ponds which form part of the rich and varied industrial heritage of Carrickfergus. The site includes wetlands, mature trees, species rich hedgerows and grassland, with a good range of species for the size of the area. The Sullatober River flows through the site forming an important wildlife corridor, linking the coast with Oakfield Glen, Bashfordsland Wood and the countryside beyond.

A Local Nature Reserve is a protected area of land designated by a local authority to conserve its environmental and recreational value, with the primary land use being for conservation.This development is part of ongoing work within the Mid and East Antrim Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP) which was officially launched in December 2014. The LBAP has three objectives: to help conserve habitats and species, to raise awareness of local biodiversity and to involve people in biodiversity projects and develop partnerships.

Councillor Billy Ashe, Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, officially opened the site and took the opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to the development of Carrickfergus Mill Ponds Local Nature Reserve, namely, Mid and East Antrim Council staff, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) Biodiversity Unit and the Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside (CNCC).
Cllr Billy Ashe with Council staff members Jackie Waide and Stephen Daye

Mid and East Antrim hoists the Green Flag

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council entered four sites for Green Flag consideration this year including Diamond Jubilee Wood, Whitehead and Bashfordsland Wood/Oakfield Glen, Carrickfergus - and are delighted to announce that all four sites received the coveted Green Flag Award.

Green Flag Award applications are judged against eight key criteria: Being a welcoming place; being healthy, safe and secure; clean and well maintained; sustainability; representing conservation and heritage;  community involvement; marketing; and overall management.

Cllr Billy Ashe, Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, said of the awards "Holding a Green Flag Award brings with it a vast amount of prestige. It is also an excellent example of civic achievement and provides communities with a great sense of civic pride. This visibly demonstrates to the local community and councillors that the sites are being well-managed for the benefit of the local community and local wildlife."

Cllr Ashe concluded: “I’d like to thank everyone involved in this process including the Green Flag Award Scheme, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful and of course our hard-working staff who maintain and manage our green sites. Finally, a big thank you to the local communities who enjoy our sites, get involved in our events and activities and treat the sites with the respect they deserve.”

Friday, 24 July 2015

Love Parks Week 2015

Love Parks Week starts today (Friday 24th July) and runs to Sunday 2nd August 2015. This is an annual national campaign to celebrate parks and other green spaces. 

Today we have a Mini Beast Hunt starting at 2pm in Carrickfergus Mill Ponds, and a Town Parks Tour in Larne at 2pm, meeting at Larne Leisure Centre. Tomorrow (Saturday 25th July) there is a Seashore Safari at Blackhead Path, Whitehead, at 11am.

Future events throughout the Borough range from Moth and Butterfly Hunts, a Mini-Golf competition and Zumba in the Park, plenty for all the family to enjoy. 

Councillor Billy Ashe, Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, said "Love Parks Week encourages friends, families, the young and old, to come together and enjoy what our parks and green spaces offer. People must never forget that these spaces provide many opportunities for friendships, education, health, exercise and simply play and fun. Let's celebrate our green spaces, show your support for Love Parks Week."

A full list of events can be found here 

Denise McVeigh, Alison Diver, Cllr Billy Ashe and Sarah Davis launching Love Parks Week 2015

Monday, 20 July 2015

Woollen Woods Video

Diamond Jubilee Wood, Whitehead was been transformed into a Woollen Wonderland this summer - the first Woollen Wood in Northern Ireland!

Woollen Woods is UK wide project that began in 2013 and covers five regions on the UK mainland. Woollen Woods is an enchanting outdoor art installation featuring hundreds of woodland-themed woollen artworks which were created by schools, knitting groups and individuals all over Northern Ireland. 

To mark the grand opening of the Woollen Wood, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council held a free family fun day on Saturday 16th May 2015 in collaboration with Voluntary Arts and Lighthouse Yarns. Activities included arts and crafts such as pom-pom making, felting and origami and environmental activities including bug hunting and pond dipping.

This is a fantastic project which has brought the arts and the environment together. The wool installation will be in the wood until the end of the summer, why not go see for yourself? Look out for felted flowers and fruit, plus woollen wildlife and more creations hidden among the trees!

A video of the Woollen Woods grand opening can be viewed here 

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Love Parks Week 2015 is coming!

Love Parks Week is an annual campaign to celebrate parks and green spaces.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council will be holding a series of events from Friday 24th July to Sunday 2nd August to join in this celebration. With pond dipping, butterfly and moth hunts, woodland walks, zumba workouts, buggy workouts, a mini golf competition and more, there is sure to be something for everyone, so get outside and enjoy our green spaces!

A full list of events can be found here 

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Allotment Workshops, July and August 2015

Due to their popularity Mid & East Antrim Borough Council’s Allotment Services will be holding another series of FREE Allotment Workshops this July and August. We would like to invite anyone interested in learning more about growing their own food along to these workshops. This is a great opportunity to see what other people are growing, learn some new skills and make some new friends.

Workshops at Eden Allotment Gardens

Sat 18th July, 12noon - 1pm – Preparing your Plot

Sat 8th Aug, 12noon – 1pm – Sowing from Seed and Plug

Sat 15th Aug, 12noon – 1pm – Composting and Organic Fertilizer

Alison Diver, Growing Communities Officer, will meet participants at Eden Allotment Gardens at 12noon on specified dates.
Participants are advised to wear appropriate clothing and footwear for these outdoor events.
Materials and tools will be provided but attendees are encouraged to bring their own. 

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Red Arrows Over Carrickfergus

Some spectacular photos of the Red Arrows aerial display over Carrickfergus on Sunday 5th July 2015.

This was part of the Tall Ships celebration and 32,000 people came to Carrickfergus to enjoy the day. These photos were taken from Marine Gardens, which was the perfect spot to enjoy the display and see the Tall Ships sailing past. Mid and East Antrim Borough Council had also laid on entertainment and activities on the green at Marine Gardens. 

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Allotment Training Workshops a Success

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Allotment Services has just concluded a series of free allotment workshop sessions.

Training was held at Eden Allotment Gardens, Carrickfergus and Greenisland Allotment Gardens, each Saturday for three weeks in June.The workshops covered basic skills such as preparing and maintaining a plot, sowing from seed and plug, composting and organic fertilizers.

One of those who attended at Greenisland Allotment Gardens, Lisa Haggan, said: “The training was interesting and informative; I was able to learn some great planting and allotment management techniques. A lovely mix of gardeners attended and personal coaching was provided for the less green fingered among us - a very inspiring training programme.”

The project proved so popular that the Council is planning to hold more throughout the year. Allotment holders notified when exact dates and times are confirmed.

There are still some plots available at both Eden and Greenisland Allotment Gardens. Visit the Council website to complete an application

Community Groups Going Green

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has issued a call to local community groups to consider the benefits of outdoor life by taking an allotment.

The Council’s Allotment Services dedicates a number of plots to group use - and while there are a limited number available in Eden and in Greenisland – the Mayor, Councillor Billy Ashe, has urged them to look at the many positive outcomes. He said: “Benefits include exercise and a healthier lifestyle, fresh air, peace and quiet and of course the opportunity to meet new friends. As well as having the satisfaction from learning new skills and seeing results of hard work, allotment tenants also end up – hopefully - eating their own fresh and organic produce.”

Annette Gibney, a volunteer with Women’s Aid Carrickfergus, said: “Being part of our community plot at Eden Allotment Gardens, I know that the allotment is very beneficial to our families to provide a social gathering and a safe place to encourage health and well-being. We are no Monty Don’s but through trial and error we are learning and are planning a ‘bangers and mash’ day. The mash will be made with potatoes and scallions grown on our very own plot!”

Austin Heron, Secretary of the Carrickfergus Community Cultivators, said: “Having a community plot at Eden Allotment Gardens has allowed the group to make new friends and socialise with others who enjoy a similar pastime. We have been able to grow a range of fruit and vegetables, which saves money on the food bill, and we get a great sense of well-being and satisfaction from learning new skills and growing our own. It’s also important to remember that allotments are extremely beneficial to the environment – they are sustainable and wonderful sites for biodiversity.”

There is some availability at both Eden and Greenisland Allotment Gardens. Group representatives are asked to visit the website and complete an application form 

Alison Diver, Growing Communities Officer, with the Carrickfergus Community Cultivators at Eden Allotment Gardens