Monday, 19 September 2016

Borough's Success At Ulster In Bloom Awards 2016

The results of the 2016 Translink Ulster in Bloom Competition have been announced, officially recognisng Northern Ireland’s top gardening talent.
Thanks to the efforts of the community and staff across the Borough, Mid & East Antrim received the highest number of awards across the 11 councilshe top Large Town category went to Ballymena; the Small Town to Ahoghill; the Large Village award went to Cullybackey which also achieved the prestigious ‘Most Improved’ title at the same time. The Community Rail Halt Award went to Whitehead Train Station. 
Meanwhile, Bill Pollock from ‘Brighter Whitehead’ is the winner of the Ulsterbus Tours Community Champion Award in recognition of the lasting and positive difference he has made personally to his local area by embracing the ‘Ulster in Bloom’ ethos.
Councillor Wales, who attended the Awards in Portrush earlier this week commented: “I am very happy indeed with the results of this annual horticultural competition.
“We support the way it encourages cities, towns and villages right across Northern Ireland to look their best, boosting civic pride through beautiful plant and floral displays. I congratulate all those who participated across the whole Borough, including the many local people who so happily embraced the concept of civic pride and all the hard work of our own Parks and Open Spaces staff.”
The Translink Ulster in Bloom Competition is co-ordinated by the Northern Ireland local Government Association (NILGA).
Bill Pollock, winner of the Ulsterbus Tours Community Champion award  2016

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Mid and East Antrim In Bloom Painting and Poetry Competitions

Some of our Mid and East Antrim In Bloom Competitions for young people are still open. There are great prizes to be won and winners and runners up will be invited to an awards ceremony in October.

The Competitions still open are:

Painting Competition (10 & under)
Painting Competition (16 & under)
Paintings on the theme ‘Mid and East Antrim in bloom’

Poetry Competition
Poetry on the theme ‘Mid and East Antrim in bloom’

Entries must be received by 30th September 2016.

Please post to the address below and please make sure an application form is attached to the back of the painting or poem detailing name, address and contact details:

Mid and East Antrim in Bloom
11 Antrim Street
BT38 7DG

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Bat Training for Council staff

Karen Healy from Northern Ireland Bat Group pictured with staff members Lisa Haggan, Irene Black & Sarah Lennox. Council staff were given the chance to learn about bats and best practice guidelines for assessing planning applications for bat potential as bats and their roosts are legally protected throughout UK & Ireland.  Participants also gained general information on bats, bats and the law, bat roosts in buildings/trees/bridges/derelict structures and the impact of wind turbines on our bat populations.

There are eight bat species in Northern Ireland and all are legally protected. To find out more about biodiversity in the Borough please click here

Thursday, 15 September 2016

The Tallest Sunflower in the Borough Announced

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Cllr Audrey Wales, has announced the winner and runners-up of the Mid and East Antrim In Bloom Tallest Sunflower Competition.

Cllr Wales said “The winner is James Brown Kerr, aged 7, from Cullybackey, whose sunflower grew a mighty 3 metres. Runners-up are Laura Stewart, aged 12, from Ahoghill, with a blooming 2metre 85cm sunflower, and Noah McTeggart-Hughes, age 4, from Ballycarry, who grew an impressive 2metre 70cm sunflower.”

Cllr Wales commended the effort made, saying “After months of tender loving care by these young gardeners 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 to them.”

Mayor of Mid & East Antrim pictured with James Brown Kerr, age 7, from Cullybackey

Cllr Wales continued “I would like to remind all the young people in the Borough that there is still a chance to enter the Mid and East Antrim In Bloom  Painting and Poetry competitions. Why not paint a picture of your garden or favourite flower or write a poem about ‘Mid and East Antrim In Bloom’?”

The Young People's painting and poetry competitions remain open until 30th September. Application forms are available at    

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Wild About Food: Bread Making

The Wild About Food: Bread Making workshop was held on Sunday 11th September at Andrew Jackson Cottage Carrickfergus

Participants were able to learn traditional bread making skills such as drop scones, soda bread and fruit pancakes. The ‘Wild About Food’ project is Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s contribution to Northern Ireland's Year of Food and Drink 2016 which is a celebration of everything delicious about Northern Ireland. The ‘Wild About Food’ project has been running since May 2016 in collaboration with Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and is funded by Heritage Lottery Fund.

The next Wild About Food event is ‘Apple Day’ a celebration of the community orchard at Diamond Jubilee Wood, Whitehead on Saturday 22nd October, 11am-2pm. 

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Friends Of, September Task

The Friends of Bashfordsland Wood & Oakfield Glen carried out important pond maintenance this month including removing invasive species.

The group meets on the second Saturday of each month at Oakfield Community Centre at 10am (to 1pm).

The next task day is Saturday 8th October 2016.

If you are interested in getting outdoors, meeting new people and learning a new skill, the ‘Friends of’ group could be for you. For more information T: 028 9335 8231 E:


Thursday, 8 September 2016

Mayor thanks Parks & Open spaces staff for work on Green Flag sites

The Mayor has visited the award winning Green Flag parks and open spaces in the Borough to meet the staff who work on site. The Mayor thanked staff for their hard work which enables Council to reach this excellent standard by keeping the sites clean, safe and welcoming, protecting and promoting biodiversity and engaging the community in Parks and Open Spaces initiatives and events.

Three new sites were put forward for Green Flag consideration this year – Carnfunnock Country Park, Larne; Ecos Nature Park, Ballymena and Eden Allotment Gardens, Carrickfergus  and all three sites received the coveted Green Flag Award.

Council received four Green Flag Awards last year – for Bashfordsland Wood & Oakfield Glen, Carrickfergus; Diamond Jubilee Wood, Whitehead; Dixon Park, Larne and People’s Park, Ballymena (also pictured below) – and are very pleased to have been awarded the Green Flag Award for these four sites again this year thanks to Council's Parks and Open Spaces staff keeping up the high standards.

The Green Flag Award has been running for many years and has become the recognized benchmark national standard for high quality parks and green spaces. Green Flag Award applications are judged against eight key criteria which are; A welcoming place, Healthy, safe and secure, Clean and well maintained, Sustainability, Conservation and heritage, Community involvement, Marketing and Management.

Mayor meets staff at Eden Allotment Gardens, Carrickfergus

Mayor meets staff at People's Park, Ballymena

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

The Best Kept in the Borough

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Audrey Wales MBE, has announced the winners and runners-up in the Mid and East Antrim In Bloom Best Kept Competitions.
Cllr Wales said: "I am delighted to announce the Mid and East Antrim In Bloom Community Competition winners and runners-up.We have been really impressed with the quality and diversity of the entries to the competition this year. It has been an opportunity for me to see the wealth and variety of horticultural talent we have in our Borough.The quality of the entries this year has been impressive, the time and dedication many entrants spend in their gardens is a credit to them. Deciding on the winners is difficult and the marks can be very close, all who took part should be proud of their achievements."

Winners and runners-up will be invited to the Mid and East Antrim In Bloom awards ceremony in October to receive their certificates and prizes. A full list of all our winners will soon be available online at

Best Kept Front Garden
Winner: Robin & Florence Balmer, Cullybackey
Runner-Up: Louis Hamilton, Larne
Runner-Up: Elizabeth Boyd, Cullybackey
Runner-Up: Maurice Langley, Carrickfergus

Mayor with Best Kept Front Garden winners Robin and Florence Balmer from Cullybackey

Best Kept Front Container Garden
Winner: Philomena Corey, Carrickfergus
Runner-Up: Patsy Abram, Glenarm
Runner-Up: Arthur & Libby Page, Whitehead
Runner-Up: Annette Keith, Carrickfergus
Mayor with Best Kept Front Container Garden winner Philomena Corey from Carrickfergus

Best Kept Community Planting Scheme
Winner: Ahoghill Patchwork Group, Ahoghill
Runner-Up: Dixon Park Residents Association, Larne
Runner-Up: Mill Brae Bloom, Larne

Best Kept Community Planting Scheme winner Ahoghill Patchwork Group 

Best Kept Allotment Garden
Winner: Alan Rice, Larne
Runner-Up: Maggi Watson, Greenisland
Runner-Up: Robert McComb, Carrickfergus

Best Kept Allotment Garden winner Alan Rice from Larne

Best Kept Commercial Premises
Winner: Willow Beauty, Ballymena
Runner-Up: Hillcrest Self Catering Cottage, Carrickfergus
Runner-Up: Hairtopia, Whitehead

Best Kept Commercial Premises winner Willow Beauty, Ballymena
Best Kept Commercial Premises runner up Hillcrest Self Catering Cottage, Carrickfergus

Gardening for Wildlife Award
Winner: Phil Allen, Carrickfergus
Runner-Up: Nicholas Davis, Magheramorne
Runner-Up: Ben Palmer, Greenisland

Gardening for Wildlife Award winner Phil Allen from Carrickfergus