Best Kept NI Awards back in bloom

Best Kept NI Awards back in bloom

Stephen Patton, Human Resources and CR Manager at George Best Belfast City Airport with Robert McClean, Contracts and Performance Officer, NI Housing Executive and Doreen Muskett, President of the Nor

Staff Reporter

Reporter:

Staff Reporter

Community groups and gardening enthusiasts across Northern Ireland are celebrating the return of the Northern Ireland Amenity Council’s Best Kept NI Awards today, following a two-year pause due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

2022 sees the return of several of the award categories including the Best Kept City, Town, Village and Housing Awards, sponsored by Belfast City Airport. The Best Kept Community Achiever Award category will also resume this year, with judges seeking to honour someone passionate about their environment who motivates and inspires others and who goes the extra mile to make a positive difference in improving their surroundings for their community.

Doreen Muskett, President of the NIAC was delighted to launch the Awards again this year, she said: “We were so disappointed when we had to suspend the 2020 Awards, for the first time in their 63-year history. With that said, we are thrilled to join the team here at Inverary Community Garden in East Belfast, to bring the Best Kept NI Awards back for 2022, albeit in a more reduced format this year.

“If one good thing has come out of lockdown, it was that gardening became one of the heroes of the crisis. It was heart-warming to learn that taking time in the garden helped so many people cope during the months of social isolation. So many people were able to gain a sense of peace and well-being through nature, and our amazing community champions continued to make their areas better places to live and work, throughout this tough time.”

During the pandemic, home gardening bloomed around the world, with nurseries and garden centres reporting an increase in plant sales and Instagram posts related to home gardening seeing a massive increase in the number of followers.

Ms Muskett added: “We’re hoping to see this newfound love of gardening translate into lots of entries from people and communities who have experienced all the positive benefits of getting into nature and growing flowers, fruit and vegetables for the first time.”

Stephen Patton, Human Resources and CR Manager at George Best Belfast City Airport said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have the Best Kept Awards back in action this year after a short hiatus due to the global pandemic.

“Throughout our long-standing partnership with the Best Kept Awards, we have seen some fantastic entries to the competition and outstanding efforts by people across Northern Ireland to enhance the places they work, live, and play.

“Whilst the past two years have been challenging, they have brought a real sense of togetherness and community spirit, and we cannot wait to see how that civic pride translates into entries this year.”

This year will also 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 Titanic Hotel Belfast, in June.

The closing date for The Best Kept Town, Village and Housing Area Awards closes on the 1st of May 2022.

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.

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