The hunt is on for a new decade of ‘Best Kept Award’ Winners

The Northern Ireland Amenity Council’s Best Kept Awards 2020 supported by George Best Belfast City Airport are now open

Knockbreda Nursery School was the launch venue for the 2020 Northern Ireland Amenity Council’s (NIAC) Best Kept Awards today, as the search continues for a new decade of Northern Ireland’s ‘Best Kept’ places.

Last year the nursery school was selected as Best Kept School Winner for the Pre-Primary South Eastern Region, the winner of the Welcome Award and also the Overall Best Kept School 2019 Winner, Best of the Best.

The Best Kept School Awards, held in June, is part of the wider Northern Ireland Best Kept Awards initiative, now in its 63rd year, with the Best Kept Healthcare Awards taking place in September and the Best Kept Towns and Villages announced in October.

Over 90 awards are presented across six main categories at three ceremonies during the year and this year will see the Best Kept Awards join with TidyTowns in the South of Ireland for the 25th year, to celebrate ‘Ireland’s Best Kept Town’, at Malone House, Belfast, in June.

Attending the launch ceremony was NIAC President Doreen Muskett and Stephen Patton, Manager, Human Resources & Corporate Social Responsibility at George Best Belfast City Airport, sponsors of the prestigious environmental awards.

Praising the efforts of the 500 plus entrants who took part last year and encouraging communities and individuals to enter the 2020 competition, Ms Muskett said: “Every single person who participates in this competition is helping to make a real difference in their local area. We know having a good quality environment cannot be under estimated, it can have a big impact on our communities, health and well-being.

“We are certain that the 20th year of the third millennium will uncover many inspirational stories, which we can’t wait to hear. So, come out in force, support the competition and help us send out a strong message, that everyone young and old, can make a difference.

Stephen Patton, George Best Belfast City Airport said: “2020 marks the fourth year of Belfast City Airport’s partnership with the Best Kept Awards and we are once again delighted to be involved with an initiative that encourages individuals to adopt a sense of civic pride and work together with others for the greater good of their local communities.

“At Belfast City Airport, we deliver an award-winning Community Commitment Plan which focuses on four core pillars; Community, Education, Environment and People. That aligns us perfectly with the Best Kept Awards, a country-wide competition with the same aims and passions at its core.

“Each year this initiative receives hundreds of entries and we look forward to reviewing each and every one of them to find out the wonderful efforts being made across Northern Ireland.”

This year, the esteemed Best Kept judges are looking for schools, healthcare facilities, housing areas, towns and villages across Northern Ireland, that are taking action to protect and care for their local environment, creating safer, cleaner, healthier and more sustainable places to live, work and play.

They will consider a range of criteria to determine the most deserving award recipients, including floral displays, grass roots environmental projects, and an absence of litter and graffiti. They will also look for underlying evidence of community participation in environmental initiatives, including the promotion of recycling and wildlife conservation.

The closing date for the Best Kept School Awards is the 13th of March. The Best Kept Town, Village and Housing Area Awards close on the 17th of April and the Healthcare Facility Awards are open until the 15th of May, 2020.

Entries to the Awards are now open. For more information on how to enter an awards category, visit www.bestkeptawardsni.com or call the NI Amenity Council on 028 9040 3681.

Ahoghill triumphs at Best Kept Awards

Ahogill has received the top honour at the Best Kept Awards 2019, in association with George Best Belfast City Airport.

Crowned the ‘Best of the Best’, Ahogill won the prestigious overall award after topping the ‘Best Kept Large Village’ category by impressing judges with its well-presented village and the obvious considerable community involvement devoted to its upkeep and appearance.

It faced stiff competition from nearby village Broughshane which was awarded second place in the ‘Large Village’ category and was commended for its abundance of beautiful floral displays which bring colour and vibrancy to the village.

Over 100 representatives from towns and villages across Northern Ireland joined together at the The Braid, Ballymena for the ceremony, presented by the Northern Ireland Amenity Council (NIAC).

The Awards give recognition to those cities, towns, villages and housing areas which demonstrate great pride in their area by going the extra mile with efforts to create well maintained, clean and beautiful communities in which to live and work.

Belfast won the Best Kept City prize, with Lisburn the winners in the Large Town category. Enniskillen claimed the Medium Town title, with Donaghadee named the Best Kept Small Town and Castlecaulfield lifting the Small Village award.

Doreen Muskett, President of the NI Amenity Council and daughter of the late Professor Arthur Muskett OBE, who founded the initiative, said:

“As always, the standard of applications received across all three competition categories was extremely high and judges faced a very difficult decision in choosing the overall winner.

“Ahoghill impressed our judges with a huge variety of floral decorations, with a lot of dedication and effort put into their maintenance. A number of areas in the village were sponsored by local businesses and it is a wonderful example of how business and community can work together.

“These Awards would cease to exist if it wasn’t for our judges, volunteers and enthusiastic participants from across Northern Ireland. A special thank you to Belfast City Airport for its continued support of the awards and dedication to environmental initiatives.”

Stephen Patton, Corporate Responsibility and HR Manager at Belfast City Airport, added:

“On behalf of Belfast City Airport, I want to congratulate our worthy winners today.

“It is wonderful to recognise the excellent efforts from each city, town, village and housing area represented here today. The fantastic work that has been carried out, largely by volunteers, emphasises the value of civic pride and the importance of making practical improvements to build vibrant local communities.

“In the same way that the Best Kept Awards are a uniting force, gathering people from all parts of each community to work together for a common cause, through our Corporate Responsibility Programme Belfast City Airport has a strong and enduring commitment to support our local community, to see it thrive and to improve quality of life.”

The Best Kept City, Town, Village and Housing Area Awards is the final ceremony of the wider Northern Ireland Best Kept Awards, which has already established the Best Kept Health and Social Facility and the Best Kept School.

The Best Kept Awards can be followed on Twitter @BestKeptAwards.

ENDS

For more information, please contact Cathy Magovern, Lighthouse Communications, on 07826 553725 or by email: cathy@lighthouseni.com

The full list of 2019 ‘Best Kept’ City, Towns, Villages and Housing Areas winners is as follows:

Housing Areas

Best Kept Sheltered Housing Area Rathian Fold, Radius Housing, Coleraine
Best Kept Small Housing Area Darkfort Drive, Portballintrae, Co L’Derry (NIHE)
Best Kept Medium Housing Area Dungormley, Newtownhamilton, Co Tyrone  (NIHE)
Best Kept Large Housing Area Merville Garden Village, Newtownabbey
Ellen McGowan Award Clarawood Estate, Belfast (NIHE)

Cities, Towns & Villages

Category Runner Up Winner
Best Kept Small Village Ballynure Castlecaulfield
Best Kept Large Village Broughshane Ahoghill
Best Kept Small Town Moira Donaghadee
Best Kept Medium Town Holywood Enniskillen
Best Kept Large Town Bangor Lisburn
Best Kept City   Belfast

Other prizes

Most Improved Town or Village Eglinton
The Welcome Award Moneyreagh
The President’s Trophy Suzanne Winters, Tidy Randalstown
George Best Belfast City Airport Community Achiever Marie McKee, Ardoyne Community Association

Limavady Community Development initiative crowned ‘Best of the Best’

Limavady Community Development Initiative (LCDI) Daycare has been named overall winner at the Best Kept Health & Social Care Awards, sponsored by George Best Belfast City Airport.

LCDI won ‘Best Kept Daycare Centre’ in the Western region before competing in the final stage of judging and being crowned the ‘Best of the Best’.

The centre was praised for its efforts to create a ‘homely’ environment for service users with judges describing the enthusiasm of centre staff as ‘infectious’.

Judges were particularly impressed with the outdoor improvements made at LCDI, including a new patio area, wildflower bed and beehive.

The Awards include three categories Residential, Daycare and Healthcare with winners crowned in each region.

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“It is a pleasure to have been part of this year’s awards.

“Naturally the most important aim of any healthcare facility is to provide the best standard of care to service users.

“By maintaining a clean and tidy facility, providers create a positive atmosphere and environment – benefitting those who use the service along with staff.”

The Best Kept Awards have been in operation for over 60 years – with the Best Kept Health & Social Facility being introduced as a category in 1995. The awards recognise the important work which helps to maintain health sites across Northern Ireland.

Doreen Muskett, President of the Northern Ireland Amenity Council (NIAC) that host the Best Kept Awards, commented:

“Congratulations to our worthy winner, LCDI Daycare Centre, for their commitment and perseverance in making itsfacility outstanding. This award is testament to the hard work and enthusiasm of both staff and residents.

“As always, the standard of applications received across all three competition categories was extremely high and judges faced a very difficult decision in choosing the overall winner.

“The Best Kept Health & Social Care initiative is a fantastic opportunity for facilities across Northern Ireland to work with their service users to have a practical and positive effect on their direct environment.

“We are extremely grateful to Belfast City Airport for its continued support this year.”

Stephen Patton, Corporate Responsibility and HR Manager at Belfast City Airport, added:

“On behalf of Belfast City Airport, I would like to congratulate LCDI Daycare as winners of this prestigious award.

“Belfast City Airport is proud of its partnership with the NIAC and together we aim to encourage best practice whilst increasing awareness of the importance of our environment.

“At Belfast City Airport we pride ourselves on our strong corporate responsibility ethos and we always strive to make a positive contribution to our community – through our involvement in the ‘Best Kept’ Awards we hope to highlight the importance of volunteering and continuous improvement of healthcare facilities.”

ENDS

The full list of 2019 ‘Best Kept’ Health and Social Care winners is as follows:

Healthcare Trust Residential Daycare Healthcare
       
Northern        
Southern        
South Eastern        
Western        
Belfast        

Knockbreda Nursery School take the hat-trick

Knockbreda Nursery School, based in South East Belfast, has been named the ‘Best of the Best’ at the Best Kept School Awards in association with George Best Belfast City Airport.

In an unprecedented move, the nursery school took home a hattrick of awards at a ceremony held at Stranmillis College on 18th June.

The nursery was crowned the winners of the Pre-Primary category for the South Eastern area, took home the Welcome Award, designed to honor schools that have [LN1] not taken part in the before, and finished top of the table – all in its first year of entering.

Knockbreda Nursery school faced stiff competition from 100 schools across Northern Ireland. It was praised for its dedication to ensuring that outdoor learning is at the core of its school curriculum and that its pupils are aware of their role in looking after the environment.

In addition to an allocated clothing bank, to promote reusing unwanted fabrics, Knockbreda installed a ‘Reco Box’ which provides the children with the chance to learn outdoors within the confines of a dry and comfortable environment and encourages each child to take part in ‘Forest School’ play sessions.

Doreen Muskett, President of the Northern Ireland Amenity Council (NIAC) who host the awards, commented:

“The standard of applications continues to rise each year, with a notable amount of schools being placed that have never entered the competition before. Our judges had a tough time choosing the winner!

“Knockbreda Nursery School impressed the judges with their integrated approach to being sustainable, with an eco-council involving children of all ages. The council came up with the idea of installing bird cake feeders, helped support Waste Week, and regularly liaises with external groups to continuously improve the positive impact the school has on the wider community.

“The Best Kept School Awards is a great chance for schools to demonstrate their commitment to the environment and sustainability, equip their pupils with practical skills for the future and show Northern Ireland the tremendous work that happens behind the scenes every day.”

Stephen Patton, CR and HR Manager at Belfast City Airport, presented Knockbreda Nursery School with its prize at a ceremonious event. He commented:

“It was fantastic to see over 120 representatives from local schools and education boards attending the Best Kept Awards today. Congratulations to Knockbreda Nursery School and each school that won in its category.

“Belfast City Airport is proud to support the Best Kept Awards for the third year. It plays an important part of our Corporate Responsibility programme, which has helped support over 150 different community groups with nearly half a million pounds.”

The Best Kept School Awards is part of the wider Northern Ireland Best Kept Awards initiative, with the Best Kept Health and Social Care Facility Awards will taking place in September and the Best Kept Towns and Villages announced in October.

ENDS

The full list of 2019 ‘Best Kept’ School winners is as follows;

Education Authority Pre-Primary Primary Post Primary
       
North Eastern   Steeple Nursery School, Antrim St. Mary’s Primary School, Draperstown Ballyclare High School
Southern   Tandragee Nursery School Cortamlet Primary School, Newry Sperrinview Special School Dungannon
South Eastern   Knockbreda Nursery School, Belfast Clandeboye Primary School, Bangor Parkview Special School, Lisburn
Western   Lisnagelvin Nursery School, L’Derry Gortin Primary School St. Kevin’s College, Lisnaskea
Belfast   St. Teresa’s Nursery School Currie Primary School Grosvenor Grammar School

For more information or to arrange an interview with the winning schools, please contact Molly Cullen, Lighthouse Communications, on 07815602095 or by email at molly@lighthouseni.com.