Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has taken the title of Best Urban Parks Team at a prestigious awards ceremony.
Green-fingered excellence was celebrated recently in the beautiful Sculpture Gallery at Woburn Abbey and Gardens, where the winners were announced for the Horticulture Week Custodian Awards.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Lindsay Millar, said: “I am delighted our Council has won such a prestigious award. Our team manages more than 300 sites, including premier parks, play parks, woodlands, sports pitches, cemeteries, walkways, off-street car parking, and 62 miles of coastline.
“The team is customer-focused, sets ambitious goals and delivers a business plan which is strategically aligned to Corporate and Community Plan priorities.
“One of the core strengths noted by the judges was community engagement, for example, ‘Friends of’ groups which amass more than 1,000 volunteer hours annually, the local ‘in bloom’ partnership and subsequent successes at Ulster in Bloom, Britain in Bloom and Best Kept awards, and the delivery of the PEACE IV ‘Your Place Our Space’ programme, which will see almost £479,000 going back into the community.
“The judges also noted the team is committed to protecting local biodiversity, for example, sowing one million wildflower seeds annually, building and installing three barn owl boxes, and adding further Local Nature Reserves to its portfolio.
“Staff have also been road-testing eco-friendly electric vehicles, actively reducing herbicide usage and moving away from annual bedding plants in favour of sustainable planting, tree planting and wildflower meadows.
“Congratulations to the entire team.”
Kate Lowe, editor of Horticulture Week, added: “The Horticulture Week Custodian Awards honour the achievements of professionals that make the UK’s parks and gardens the vital and vibrant places they are today, ensuring those achievements are recognised by the industry’s customers, clients and stakeholders.
“Management achievement is recognised with categories celebrating outstanding work across all areas of activity including restoration and redevelopment, on-going management and maintenance, partnership working, volunteer and community engagement, and more.
“We were delighted that the gallery was filled with over 150 professionals from across the country and the awards ceremony was an incredible way to distinguish the industry’s achievements. Well done to Mid and East Antrim Borough Council on their success at the awards this year.”