There was a hat-trick of celebrations for Belfast today as it was crowned the ‘Best Kept City’ in Northern Ireland; its fresh, clean and vibrant atmosphere impressed the judges to help it clinch the prestigious award.
Clarawood Estate, also in Belfast, picked up the ‘Ellen McGowan’ award which is presented to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive entry which achieved the highest mark and Marie McKee, from Ardoyne Community Centre was named the George Best Belfast City Airport Community Achiever.
Marie McKee was nominated for the award because of the work she has carried out within her community to improve the appearance of alleyways which had become a popular location for fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour. She has worked tirelessly to successfully engage local residents, young and old, to participate in an environmental initiative and has managed to regain the community spirit that once existed.
The awards were handed-out in front of over 100 representatives from towns and villages across Northern Ireland who 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.
Doreen Muskett MBE, President of the NI Amenity Council said:
“As always, the standard of applications received across all three competition categories was extremely high and the judges faced a very difficult decision in choosing the overall winner.
“Belfast’s impressive Cathedral Quarter with its stunning floral displays was much-admired by the judges and the abundance of colour around Belfast City Hall through its planting and hanging baskets were highly praised.
“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 the city of Belfast on winning this award.
“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.