Brighter Whitehead Archive News

jubilee wood whiteheadYoung & Old Growing Together (4th November 2013)

Groups from Whitehead and beyond have been ‘Growing Together’ at Diamond Jubilee Wood in Whitehead. Groups taking part include Brighter Whitehead, Whitehead Primary School, Whitehead Transition Town, Conservation Volunteers (NI), Carrickfergus Community Cultivators and students from the Northern Regional College Prince’s Trust. At the Diamond Jubilee Wood the groups will be planting 100 Apple Trees.

‘Growing Together’ is an environmental based intergenerational project supported by the European Union’s PEACE III CAN Partnership to carry out community activities in Whitehead. The project aims to bring different generations together and actively encourages the breaking down of barriers between older and younger people, while challenging negative stereotypes and behaviour.

Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of Carrickfergus Borough Council’s Parks and Countryside Sub Committee said “In the busy society of today, young and old are often strangers to each other as they don’t have the same opportunities which existed in the past to communicate and participate in activities together. The ‘Growing Together’ project demonstrates that older and younger generations have a great deal to offer each other in terms of knowledge and experience. The benefit of working together on this project gives them a better understanding and tolerance of other age groups, with the local community gaining from the apple tree planting.”

Gerry Drake, Northern Regional College Programme Co-ordinator, commenting on the success of the project said; “As part of the Prince’s Trust 12-week course at the college, students complete a community project which develops their team and employability skills and at the same time, allowing them to give something back to their local community. This intergenerational project, in partnership with Carrickfergus Borough Council, provided an ideal opportunity for the young people to communicate and work alongside other age groups.”

Success for Borough at Ulster in Bloom (10th September 2013)

The results of the 2013 Translink Ulster in Bloom Competition were announced today celebrating Northern Ireland’s finest horticultural talent. The Borough won five awards in total, the most in any year since the inception of the competition. Carrickfergus came first in the Large Town category with Whitehead coming second in the Small Town category. The efforts of the Brighter Whitehead Community paid off as it received the Community Rail Halt award for its work. Carrickfergus Railway Station was runner-up in the Best Station award. Finally, Carrickfergus Borough Council won an award for its innovative Biodiversity projects.

Biodiversity Summer School (Monday 5th to Friday 9th August 2013)

Biodiversity Summer School in WhiteheadThis Biodiversity Summer School will give families the opportunity to take part in fun bioviversity projects such as pond dipping, mini-beast hunts and bird box building. Learn about the natural world through a variety of activities and games. It runs from Monday 5th to Friday 9th August 2013 – every morning from 11am to 1pm at Diamond Jubilee Wood, Whitehead. Meet at Bentra Car Park, Slaughterford Road, Whitehead. The Biodiversity Summer School is a FREE outdoor event. Please wear suitable outdoor clothing and footwear. Under 16's must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Event Details:

Day 1: Bird and bat box making. Families will be supported to build and decorate bird and bat boxes, following a set template. The event will include practical team working with hand tools, learning how the importance of protecting our native birds and bat and instruction where to place and how to monitor your bird and bat box.
Day 2:Pond dipping. Dipping in the pond to catch pond life, using identification charts to identify the variety of life to assess the health of the pond. Learning will include ways to increase the variety of pond life, and how to protect our ponds.
Day 3: Mini-beast hunt and identification. Walk through woodland to hunt for mini-beasts and use identification charts to identify to variety of mini-beasts at the site. Highlight the types and variety of places mini-beasts live, with support from an entomologist. We also have a display of various native and non-native insects.
Day 4: Mini-beast natural homes on site and take home 'Bug Hostels'. Create bug hotels within the woodland from natural materials and making bug hostels from recycled materials to take home to attract increased number and variety of bugs and insects in their own garden. The event will highlight the important role bugs and insects have in nature, easy steps to increase and protect them and recycling message.
Day 5: Wildflower identification and seed bombing. Walk through woodlands identifying the variety of wildflowers and their preferred growing place. To enhance the number of wildflowers make seed bombs from mud and native wildflower seed mix then 'bomb' into suitable areas of the woodland.

Please note the above details may be subject to change without notice. Check the Council website for updates.

Barnacles Beaches and Rock Pools (Saturday 3 August 2013)

Meeting outside Whitehead Recreation Grounds Play Park, then walk to Blackhead Path.Discover the biodiversity rich coast along the Blackhead Path. This outdoor event is free; please wear suitable outdoor clothing and shoes. Date: Saturday 3 August - Time: 2 to 4pm. Venue: Blackhead Path. Part of Love Parks Week.

Wildflower Walk on at Diamond Jubilee Wood (29th July 2013)

Discover the wildflowers of Diamond Jubilee Wood, Whitehead on Monday 29 July 2013 from 7 to 9pm. This outdoor event is free; please wear suitable outdoor clothing and shoes. Meeting at Bentra Car Park. Part of Love Parks Week.

Celebrating the Heritage of the Hedgerow (23rd February 2013)

hedgerow hopes event at diamond jubilee woodThe heritage of the hedgerow is being celebrated with a special hedgerow planting day on Saturday 23rd February 2013 from 10am to 1pm at Whitehead Diamond Jubilee Wood in County Antrim. This free fun event is part of the Hedgerow Hopes Project which is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund (www.hlf.org.uk), ‘Your Heritage Programme.”

Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside and Amenities Sub-Committee said “The aim of the Hedgerow Hopes Project is to engage with a wide range of people to restore and enhance species-rich hedgerows in the Borough for the benefit of our local heritage and biodiversity by delivering practical training workshops in foraging, hedgerow planting, maintenance and laying.”

“This event will concentrate on hedgerow planting and is an opportunity to find out what wildlife our native hedges support and why they are one of nature’s greatest assets. Species-rich hedgerows are important to us as well as to our wildlife. They are of historical importance often marking townland or estate boundaries. They also provide colour, shelter and food, act as stock barriers, and prevent soil erosion. Unfortunately, many of our native hedgerows have lost a lot of these benefits due to neglect or mismanagement. So, we’ve teamed up with Antrim, Belfast and Newtownabbey Councils to restore and enhance the hedgerows in our area. You can play your part too. We want people to get involved to help restore and manage these habitats. We’ll provide you with training to help you develop skills required to support the restoration programme. Over the next two years we will be organising a number of events and training workshops and I would encourage everyone to get involved in the Hedgerow Hopes Project. For further information contact the Council’s Parks & Countryside Service on 9335 8000 or email parks@carrickfergus.org.” ended Alderman Beattie.

You can access Whitehead Diamond Jubilee Wood via Bentra Golf Course car park. For further information on Whitehead Diamond Jubilee Wood visit the webpage www.carrickfergus.org/jubileewood. There you will find information on the location, facilities and how to join the Diamond Jubilee Wood Friends Group.

The HLF Your Heritage programme offers grants between £3,000 and £100,000 inclusive for projects that relate to the local, regional or national heritage of the UK. The Heritage Lottery Fund welcomes applications that help people to learn about, look after and celebrate heritage in a fun and enjoyable way. To receive a grant the project must: help people to learn about their own and other people’s heritage; conserve the UK’s diverse heritage for present and future generations to experience and enjoy and/or help more people, and a wider range of people, to take an active part in and make decisions about heritage. Details of the programme can be found at www.hlf.org.uk or phone 028 9031 0120 email: northernireland@hlf.org.uk

Launch of Tree Week (23rd November 2012)

tree week in whiteheadAlderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside & Amenities Sub-Committee launched National Tree Week in Carrickfergus Borough at Whitehead Primary School on Friday 23rd November 2012. The launch will highlight the TREEmendous achievements since the year 2000, in which Carrickfergus Borough Council has planted 160,000 trees and by the end of this tree planting season we will have planted a further 5,000 trees around the Borough.

Alderman Beattie said “Now more than ever has confirmed the need to plant more trees. Recent events have confirmed that the view across the countryside and in our towns is set to change faster than anyone could have expected. In recent years, pests and diseases have started to threaten some of our most loved trees, such as oak and horse chestnut, but the spread of ash dieback and the anticipated devastation of the UK population of ash trees has left everyone considering what the next steps should be.”

“Planting a tree is a very positive thing to do and is great fun, even in the depths of winter. There are plenty of reasons to get planting – it's great exercise, children love it, and you'll be making a valuable contribution to our community woodland. To take part in a tree planting event or for further information contact: Stephen Daye, Parks & Countryside Development Officer at Carrickfergus Borough Council. t: 93358039 or e: parks@carrickfergus.org”. ended Alderman Beattie

“Anyone with land of their own, whether a garden, woodland or field, can make a difference to their view by adding a tree”, said Pauline Buchanan Black, Director-General of The Tree Council. “This year, though, the campaign carries particular significance as we look for ways to minimise the impact of ash dieback and carefully consider what to plant. Rising concern about tree diseases has also reminded us of the importance of checking not only where the seed of their tree started life, but also where it was germinated and grown. Not since Plant A Tree in ’73 has there been the same urgency to safeguard a view for the future”.

Alasdair Douglas, Chair of The Tree Council, added “It is almost exactly 40 years since Secretary of State for the Environment Peter Walker stood up in the House of Commons and announced that the following year was to be designated National Tree Planting Year. This was the Government initiative to encourage the planting of new trees to replace those millions killed by Dutch Elm Disease. The Tree Council was formed from that initiative and has been running National Tree Week ever since. We couldn’t have foreseen that we’d be faced with the losses from a tree disease of similar epidemic proportions just as we go in to National Tree Week but this seems a timely moment to ask the public to think carefully about what will happen to their view and what they will do to restore it for future generations.”

Next Tree planting event: Tree Planting Day at Amphitheatre Mill Ponds on Thursday 29th November at 10am. For further information please visit www.carrickfergus.org/treeweek

For further information on this or future tree planting events please contact Stephen Daye on 9335 8000. More tree planting events will take place in January, February & March to keep in touch visit www.carrickfergus.org/treeweek.

Carrickfergus in Bloom winners honoured at prize-giving (26 October 2012)

awards at carrickfergus Town HallFloral and artistic creativity has once again been recognised by the Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative organised by Carrickfergus Borough Council. Local competition winners and runners-up will receive their well earned certificates and prizes at a prize-giving lunch in Carrickfergus Town Hall, with over 100 people attending the event.

Competition categories included Best Kept Garden & Best Kept Container Garden for householders; Best Kept Commercial Premises for commercial organisations; Painting, Poetry and Tallest Sunflower Competitions for young people; and for internet users we have the Virtual Flower Show.

At the Lunch, the Chairperson of Parks, Countryside & Amenities Sub-Committee, Alderman May Beattie thanked all those who took part in the competition and made it such a success. "The Carrickfergus in Bloom Community Competitions have really caught the imagination of our Boroughs citizens. This year over 1,400 people battled the wet summer weather and economic downturn to create some beautiful colourful floral displays that we can all enjoy." said Alderman Beattie

 "Carrickfergus in Bloom is a beacon of community gardening good practice, as it encourages people to get involved, builds community spirit and improves the environment we all live in. With initiatives such as our school growing clubs and one pot pledge create opportunities for health, wellbeing and learning."

Alderman Beattie also thanked the Competition Sponsors who paid for many of the flowerbeds and hanging baskets throughout the Borough. "The success of Carrickfergus in Bloom could not have happened without the generous support of local businesses throughout the Borough of Carrickfergus."

"We would also thank our partners that have made Carrickfergus in Bloom such a success. Conservation Volunteers, The Woodland Trust, Translink, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, the Department of Regional Development and many others have all helped to improve the environment of Carrickfergus Borough this year". Ended Alderman Beattie

See list of prize winners here: www.carrickfergusinbloom.org.

Rose Award Success for Borough (13 September 2012)

roses in carrickfergusCarrickfergus has been award the Translink Ulster in Bloom – Roses in Towns Trophy for 2012 at an award ceremony at Belfast Castle today. The Roses in Towns Trophy, is presented annually to the Council area with the best display of roses. The Borough also received the Best Station Award for Carrickfergus Rail & Bus Station and Best Community Rail Halt Award for Whitehead Rail Station.

Alderman May Beattie said "The three awards received today is recognition of the horticultural talent we have within the borough. Translink Ulster in Bloom is a great opportunity for our Borough to enhance its surroundings and create beautiful displays that are enjoyed by everybody. Our Borough is renowned for its floral displays which are enjoyed by residents and tourists alike. The Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative also plays a critical role in bringing people and investment to the town. However, it's important to say that issues such as cleanliness, sustainability and community involvement are equally as important.

In the Borough, the 'In Bloom' initiative is much more than bedding plants and making the Borough look good for one day; instead it is a 365 day initiative. Carrickfergus Borough Council along with our partners have done a wonderful job in broadening the appeal of the Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative, by getting people to work together we have made our Borough better. Our successes within Ulster in Bloom could not have happened without the generous support of local people, community groups, businesses and other statuary bodies. I would like to thank the Council’s Parks and Cleansing staff whose hard work and imagination has been the backbone of our entries over many years and I congratulate everyone who took part this year." Ended Alderman May Beattie

Official Opening of Whitehead Diamond Jubilee Wood (23rd June 2012)

Official Opening of Whitehead Diamond Jubilee WoodMrs. Joan Christie OBE, Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for County Antrim officially opened Whitehead Diamond Jubilee Wood today (Saturday 23rd June 2012 at 11am). The opening was followed by a family fun day that includes arts and crafts, storytelling, face painting, a bug hunt plus many other activities on a brimming woodland agenda – and all free of charge. With a wealth of fun activities on offer, it was an unmissable and historic day for everyone.

In total 60 Diamond Jubilee Woods have been planted throughout the UK. Each wood is at least 60 acres in size to symbolise 60 years of The Queen's reign. Whitehead Diamond Jubilee Wood is the only Diamond Jubilee Wood planted in Northern Ireland.

Alderman Jim McClurg, Mayor of Carrickfergus explained "In April 2011 our Council received a presentation about the Jubilee Woods project by the Woodland Trust. We answered Princess Anne's direct appeal to join in the celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee by planting a new 60-acre woodland in Whitehead. We called upon the local community to help with the labour of planting, which began in January 2012. Together, in the words of Princess Anne "we can create something lasting and wonderful. We are pleased to have supported this Woodland Trust UK wide project and have been most appreciative of the support given to us by Patrick Gregg and his team at the Woodland Trust."

"Although the champagne bubbles have faded from the thousands of street parties that took place over the Jubilee weekend, this Diamond Jubilee Wood will continue quietly growing. This is a project which will be best appreciated by our children and grandchildren. During the Queen's long reign, second only to Queen Victoria, she has planted thousands of trees. Those trees form a tangible part of her legacy. Our Diamond Jubilee Wood will form part of ours and will be a very fitting tribute to her."

"This Diamond Jubilee Wood is Carrickfergus Borough Council' most ambitious environmental project to date. It will link the existing mature oak and ask woods nearby. These are of great age and to complement and extend them, this new woodland contains mainly oak and ask trees. In addition, we have planted rowan, willow, alder, cherry, hazel, hawthorn and blackthorn to provide a diverse wildlife habitat which will be enjoyed for many years to come." ended Alderman McClurg

Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside & Amenities sub-committee said "The creation of this new woodland has been an excellent example of partnership and we have so many people to thank including our funders Northern Ireland Forest Service, GROW South Antrim, BIFFA & the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. I would also like to thank the thousands of individuals who took part in the various tree planting events last winter. We now have a woodland with 60,000 trees planted, a 2km of path network, a 1000sqm pond that is already teaming with wildlife. Other attractions include a Commonwealth Tree Avenue planted with copper beech; wildflower meadows, picnic area and a sculpture designed by artist Kevin Killen and local school children."

Patrick Cregg, the Woodland Trust's Director in Northern Ireland, says: "We're delighted that Northern Ireland is on the map of Diamond Jubilee Woods. We're extremely grateful to Carrickfergus Borough Council for making the land available, and we're heartened by the enthusiasm of members of the public who helped to plant thousands of trees earlier this year. The wood will be a wonderful natural resource for local people and visitors, and a much-needed habitat for our precious wildlife."

Whitehead Community Clean-Up (1st April 2012)

A Whitehead Community Clean-Up will take place on Sunday 1st April 2pm – 4pm. Meeting at Presbyterian Church Halls. Refreshments provided afterwards. This is a chance for everyone in the community to come together to give the town a good clean for the Easter holidays. We will be working with Brighter Whitehead on flower beds and path clearance as well as helping the Whitehead Wombles litter-pick the town, the shorefront and the roads leading into and out of the town. Bags, gloves, pickers and bibs will be provided but if you could bring a brush or a shovel that would help. Also bring strong gloves if you have them. If you or your organisation would like to take part, contact Noel McKee on 07825 147927 for details or just come along at 2pm on Sunday 1st April. Get involved and make a difference.

Whitehead Diamond Begins to Sparkle (25th February 2012)

The ‘Diamond Wood’ at Whitehead is glowing with life thanks to the hard work of nature lovers from throughout Northern Ireland. School children, local people and visitors transformed the landscape by planting thousands of trees during a week-long series of events in celebration of the Queen’s historic Diamond Jubilee. Whitehead's new wood is the result of a partnership between the Woodland Trust and proud owner Carrickfergus Borough Council; and is one of 60 Diamond Woods springing to life across the UK as part of the Trust's ambitious Jubilee Woods project. The Northern Ireland gem will be home to 60,000 native saplings, mostly oak and ash. In addition, a majestic tree-lined avenue already has pride of place: 54 copper beech trees represent the 54 countries within the Commonwealth and extend a warm leafy welcome to all. The 'Commonwealth Tree Avenue' was planted by the Housing Executive's Housing Community Network as part of its work to promote good race relations across Northern Ireland. Patrick Cregg, director of the Woodland Trust, said: "We're extremely grateful to Carrickfergus Borough Council for making this land available. And we're heartened by the enthusiasm of the children and adults who rolled their sleeves up to get the tree planting underway. It's a wonderful way to mark the Queen's 60-year reign, while making a meaningful contribution to the environment." The Mayor of Carrickfergus Borough Council, Alderman Jim McClurg, added: "Thanks to collective efforts we have the beginning of a fantastic natural resource. This new woodland will provide a much-needed habitat for wildlife and will be a lasting legacy for future generations. We hope that everyone - local people and visitors from further afield - will take time to explore and enjoy this quiet corner of nature."

Tree Week Launched in Whitehead (29th November 2011)

tree week in whitheadWhitehead residents came out in force to lanuch Tree Week. The 37th annual National Tree Week will run from 26th November to 4th December 2011 and launches the winter tree-planting season. Every year millions of trees are planted across the UK as part of the initiative. Tree Week started in 1975 and this year in Whitehead and Carrickfergus Borough generally we will be playing our part by planting more trees that ever.

Planting a tree is a very positive thing to do and is great fun, even in the depths of winter. There are plenty of reasons to get planting - it's great exercise, children love it, and you'll be making a valuable contribution to our community woodland. To take part in a tree planting event or for further information contact: Stephen Daye, Parks & Countryside Development Officer at Carrickfergus Borough Council. t: 93358039 or e: parks@carrickfergus.org.

Pauline Buchanan-Black, Director-General of the Tree Council said "A tree planted close to where you live, work or study is good for you and for the nation's condition; trees have been proven to have positive effects on mental health and as an antidote to stressful lifestyles, even aiding recuperation from illness. However, to be able to look out on a tree simply lifts my soul and gladdens my heart. That, at bottom, seems to me to be one of the most compelling reasons to argue that everyone should be able to see a tree from their window - and if you can't, then now is the time to set about changing the view. Every tree matters as much for the beauty, growth and renewal, whether in urban or rural settings, that it demonstrates year on year as for the very practical benefits it brings."

Free Jubilee Trees from Woodland Trust: Royal Jubilees are always a great excuse for a party. This Jubilee, you can celebrate and have fun with your community in a way that leaves a lasting legacy by planting a free pack of trees from the Woodland Trust. Click Here for more details.

Ulster in Bloom Success for Borough (06th September 2011)

Gardeners throughout Carrickfergus Borough are celebrating following the results announcement for the 2011 Translink Ulster in Bloom Competition. The horticultural talents of our Borough were recognised at a ceremony in Ballymena today with awards for Carrickfergus Town and Whitehead Railway Station.

Stephen Daye, Parks & Countryside Development Officer, who attended the award ceremony, said "After a summer of fierce competition and intensive judging, Carrickfergus received a second place in the Large Town Category. The Borough also was successful in the Community Rail Halt category with Whitehead receiving the third place. Translink Ulster in Bloom is a magnificent opportunity for our Borough to enhance its surroundings and create beautiful displays that are enjoyed by everybody. Our Borough is renowned for its floral displays which are enjoyed by residents and tourists alike. The Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative also plays a critical role in bringing people and investment to the town. However, it's important to say that issues such as cleanliness, sustainability and community involvement are equally as important. In the Borough, the 'In Bloom' initiative is much more than bedding plants and making the Borough look good for one day; instead it is a 365 day initiative. Carrickfergus Borough Council along with our partners have done a wonderful job in broadening the appeal of the Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative, by getting people to work together we have made our Borough better. Our successes within Ulster in Bloom could not have happened without the generous support of local businesses and local people throughout the Borough; and statuary bodies such as the Housing Executive and Department of Regional Development. I would like to personally thank all the staff at Carrickfergus Parks and Cleansing Sections whose hard work and imagination has been the backbone of our entry over the years and I congratulate everyone who took part this year."

John Trethowan, Chairman, Translink, said "With 127 entries from local councils, businesses and community groups as well as 21 bus and rail station entries, Translink Ulster in Bloom continues to attract high participation levels as people throughout Northern Ireland demonstrate their superb gardening talent. Participants have shown immense skill and creativity to ensure their areas are kept attractive. Their exquisite plant and floral displays can be enjoyed by both local people and tourists, making a positive lasting impression during their visit to Northern Ireland. While a number of category titles have been retained by several council areas, we have also seen a number of newcomers reach the top three placings. We hope these impressive displays will encourage even more people to get involved in Ulster in Bloom next year." said John.

Councillor Evelyne Robinson, President, Northern Ireland Local Government Association, said "As NILGA President, I welcome the opportunity to convey my appreciation and gratitude to the many councils, local ‘In Bloom’ committees, volunteers and supporters for all their hard work and countless dedication which all contribute to the ongoing success of the Translink Ulster in Bloom competition. I am especially pleased at NILGA’s support and our continual encouragement to councils in their entries. As a Councillor I recognise the improvement in my constituency area of Ballymoney, I am very conscious of the savings which can be achieved for rate-payers through involvement in the Competition. Careful husbandry and a feeling of ownership by the residents is very helpful in combating vandalism and the nuisance of anti - social behaviour, besides providing education through good example. A pleasant, attractive environment can also be very useful in encouraging tourists to visit, and in influencing potential investors to establish new businesses. Congratulations to the winners and yet again sincere thanks to the sponsors, judges, councils and all those who make the Translink Ulster in Bloom competition what it is today."

Martyn Todd, board member, Northern Ireland Tourist Board, said "We are proud to offer continued support to Ulster in Bloom and commend the enthusiastic efforts and hard work of all the entrants. This competition plays an important role in making Northern Ireland a must see destination by bringing colour and vibrancy to our towns and villages which makes local areas appealing to both domestic and international visitors. And in creating such attractive townscapes, it also engenders a source of civic pride. The Translink Ulster in Bloom Competition is organised by the Northern Ireland Local Government Association with the support of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board."

Carrickfergus in Bloom Garden Winners Announced (25th August 2011)

Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside and Amenities Sub-Committee has announced the Carrickfergus in Bloom Competition Winners and Runners-up this morning for the Borough-wide Best Kept Awards.

At the home of the Best Kept Garden winner Shelia Johnston, Alderman Beattie said “We are delighted to announce the Carrickfergus in Bloom Community Competition Winners and Runners-up. We are thrilled with the response from those taking part and impressed with the quality and diversity of the entrants. It has been an opportunity for me to see the wealth and variety of horticultural talent in our community.”

“Winners and runners-up will be invited to a prize-giving ceremony at the Town Hall in October to receive their certificates and prizes. At the ceremony we shall announce our plans for Carrickfergus in Bloom in the coming year. I would also like to thank the sponsors for supporting Carrickfergus in Bloom." ended Alderman Beattie

Stephen Daye, Parks & Countryside Development Officer with Carrickfergus Borough Council and one of the judges commented "We where very impressed by the number of high quality entries this year, the time and dedication many entrants spend in their gardens is a credit too them. Deciding on a winner was very difficult for some categories; however all who took part should be proud of their achievements."

See List of Winners

New Diamond Jubilee Woodland in Whitehead (5th August 2011)

Diamonds are forever: Carrickfergus Borough Council and the Woodland Trust to create a living, lasting legacy in Whitehead. Whitehead is set to sparkle with a precious new addition. Land on the doorstep of the town will be the Northern Ireland venue for a new 'Diamond Wood' to mark the Queen's 60 years on the throne. Our new gem - just over 60 acres of grassland near bentra - has been made available by Carrickfergus Borough Council.

Sixty new Diamond Woods - each 60 acres in size, plus hundreds of smaller Jubilee Woods are being created across the UK as part of the Woodland Trust's ambitious Jubilee Woods project. The aim is to plant 6 million trees and to involve millions of people in the planting.

The Mayor of Carrickfergus, Alderman Jim McClurg, says: "The creation of this Diamond Wood brings a special opportunity for everyone to make a personal and lasting contribution to the landscape, while marking an historic event. Working with the Woodland Trust, we hope that as many people as possible - members of the public and schoolchildren - will take part in a series of events next spring."

"Within as little as 10 years, the trees will be towering over the tallest of walkers and we'll have a flourishing woodland, rich in wildlife. We envisage a fantastic natural resource for the benefit of local people and, of course, visitors en route to the Antrim coast."

The project will commemorate the 2012 Diamond Jubilee, marking Queen Elizabeth's 60th year as monarch. Next to Queen Victoria in 1897, she is the only British sovereign ever to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee.

The Woodland Trust hopes to encourage other landowners to plant their own Diamond or Jubilee Wood, and is offering help, advice and in some cases funding. The Trust is also offering thousands of free Jubilee tree packs to schools and community groups. Designed to help groups enhance local shared spaces, the community tree packs come in two sizes: 105 trees (suitable for a small grove or hedge) or 420 trees (for planting on one acre of land). Groups can choose to plant for wildlife; for wood fuel; year-round colour; or tasty treats. To find out how to get involved, please contact the Woodland Creation team on 0845 293 5680.

Web Link: www.carrickfergus.org

Whitehead Group Take First Energy Saving Steps (5th July 2011)

whiteheadTwenty families in Whitehead took their first steps into the year-long Big Energy Saving Challenge being organised by Transition Town Whitehead. Each family received an energy ‘starter pack’ from NIE Energy containing an electricity monitor, a standby switch-off lead and some low-energy lightbulbs. This equipment will help people to get a clearer understanding of how much energy they actually use and begin to make the small changes that will save them money and reduce their personal impact on climate change. “It’s a clear way to think global and act local”, said Declan McGivern from the Transition Town group.

Another group member, Rosalyn Davidson, has put her monitor to immediate use. She told us, “The ‘background’ charge for electricity in my house is less than one penny an hour. As soon as I switch on the kettle, the monitor shows the cost shooting up to 18p an hour. If I put enough water in for just one cup of tea, it boils in less than 30 seconds. That’s a pretty good reason for not filling the kettle.” Jim Kitchen examined the number of lightbulbs in his house. “I was shocked to realise I have 81 lightbulbs throughout the house. I’ve already switched many of them to low-energy bulbs but I’ve still got a lot more to change.”

Neil Coleman from NIE Energy spoke to the group, congratulating them on being one of six groups from all over Northern Ireland – and the only one in County Antrim – which has been awarded funding as part of the Big Energy Saving Challenge. He said, “We’re delighted to be working with Transition Town Whitehead to help people take action to reduce their energy use. It’s good for people’s pockets and it’s good for the community.” The Challenge has just started and will last for a year, during which the Whitehead group will carry out home energy audits, advise on home improvements and organise a series of events as part of their campaign to tackle climate change and address the threat of Peak Oil by building resilience within the Whitehead community.

Launch of Carrickfergus in Bloom 2011 (20th May 2011)

launch of carrickfergus in bloomThe Mayor of Carrickfergus, Alderman Jim McClurg launched Carrickfergus in Bloom 2011 in the grounds of the Andrew Jackson Cottage. School children from throughout Carrickfergus Borough and Community representatives joined the Mayor.

Alderman Jim McClurg said "This year we are continuing with the Carrickfergus in Bloom Community Competition. Categories include Best Kept Garden for individuals; For children we have Painting and Poetry Competitions and the very popular Tallest Sunflower Competition. For the Business Community we have hotly fought categories such as Best Kept Shop. And for those interested in showing off their gardening and photography skills we have the Virtual Flower Show. All these competitions have not only brightened-up our Borough but have been fundamental to our success in Ulster in Bloom. Let's make 2011 another winning years for Carrickfergus Borough."

The Mayor also announced that in the next few weeks the Council will plant out thousands of summer bedding plants and thanked the many sponsors for their generous support and commitment to the Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative. He also thanked the local schools who have shown such commitment to the Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative. "The Schools Growing Club initiative is a great success and young people throughout the Borough are already benefiting with the link between healthy eating and growing fruit and vegetables at home and school. The growing schools initiative offers students the benefit of practical hands on activities, helping to motivate and enhance their learning experience."

The Mayor continued "In 2011 we will continue with the Carrickfergus in Bloom campaigns of promoting capacity building through our grants initiative; we will also be encouraging wildlife gardening thought the Blooming Wild campaign; as well as the food growing campaign with initiatives such as the One Pot Pledge."

"Fruit and vegetable growing is also taking place at Eden Allotment Gardens. Since the launch in 2008 the allotments have expanded to become the largest allotment site in Ireland. We thank Sunnybank Garden Centre for continuing their support of the Best Kept Allotment Competition."

The Mayor also highlighted the important partnership working that is carried out. "Carrickfergus Borough Council along with the Department of Environment, Housing Executive plus various community and charitable groups are working together to improve the environment of Carrickfergus Borough. The significant improvements at Bashfordsland Wood is an excellent example of partnership working that involved many organisations." ended Alderman McClurg.

Tree Week Launch (19 November 2010)

Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside & Amenities Sub-Committee launched National Tree Week in Carrickfergus Borough at Oakfield Primary on Friday 19 November. The launch will also highlight our achievements since the year 2000, in which Carrickfergus Borough Council will have planted 100,000 trees by the end of this tree planting season.

Alderman Beattie said "National Tree Week (27th November to 5th December) is an annual event that launches the winter tree-planting season. Every year millions of trees are planted across the UK as part of the initiative. Tree Week is celebrating its 36th Birthday this year and in Carrickfergus Borough we will be playing our part by planting more trees."

"Although Carrickfergus Borough Council has committed to planting more trees, planting of new trees across the UK has fallen to its lowest level in more than three decades. We need more trees planted now if we are to see any benefit for forthcoming generations and with the start of National Tree Week, there is no better time to get planting."

"Although it may seem that there are plenty of trees, the UK is one of the least wooded countries in Europe, with half the average tree cover, so we need to make sure that we don’t fall even further behind. Tree diseases such as ‘Sudden Oak Disease’ that has affected trees in Carrickfergus and throughout the UK are another reason why we need to continue planting a mix of trees."

"Planting a tree is a tremendously positive thing to do and is great fun, even in the depths of winter. There are plenty of reasons to get planting, it's great exercise, children love it, and you'll be making a valuable contribution to our community woodland. To take part in a tree planting event or for further information contact: Stephen Daye, Parks & Countryside Development Officer at Carrickfergus Borough Council. t: 93358039 or e: parks@carrickfergus.org". ended Alderman Beattie

Tree planting events in December:

Tree Planting at Whitehead Recreation Grounds in association with Brighter Whitehead on Thursday 2nd December at 2pm.

Tree planting at Eden Allotment Gardens (off Beltoy Road) on Saturday 4th December at 11am.

For further information on any tree planting events please contact Stephen Daye on 9335 8039. More tree planting events will take place in January, February & March.

Whitehead Wombles receive Coca-Cola Coast Care Group Award (19th October 2010)

In October the Whitehead Wombles received the Coca-Cola Coast Care Group Award. The Whitehead group have been recognised for the excellent work they have done throughout the year. They have worked with their local beach operator and key stakeholders on the Whitehead stretch of coastline. The Whitehead Wombles are a group of volunteers that work in and around the town of Whitehead both as individuals and in a group. 'The Wombles will always try to keep the amount of litter to a minimum, no matter how disheartening it can be'. See our gallery.

Winners Announced for Community Garden Competition (3rd September 2010)

Joan Reid's best Kept GardenAlderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside and Amenities Sub-Committee has announced the Carrickfergus in Bloom Competition Winners and Runners-up this morning for the Borough-wide Best Kept Awards.

Alderman Beattie said “We are delighted to announce the Carrickfergus in Bloom Community Competition Winners and Runners-up. I am thrilled with the response from those taking part and am really excited about the quality and diversity of the entrants. It has been an opportunity for me to see the wealth and variety of horticultural talent in our community. Winners and runners-up will be invited to a prize-giving ceremony at the Town Hall in October to receive their certificates and prizes. At the ceremony we shall announce our plans for Carrickfergus in Bloom in the coming year. I would also like to thank the sponsors for supporting Carrickfergus in Bloom." ended Alderman Beattie

Stephen Daye, Parks & Countryside Development Officer with Carrickfergus Borough Council and one of the judges commented "We where very impressed by the number of high quality entries this year, the time and dedication many entrants spend in their gardens is a credit too them. Deciding on a winner was very difficult for some categories; however all who took part should be proud of their achievements."

Best Kept Garden

Winner: Joan Reid, Carrickfergus.
Runner-Up: John O’Neill, Carrickfergus.
Runner-Up: Chris Hamil, Whitehead.
Runner-Up: Bill Johnston, Carrickfergus.

Best Kept Container Garden

Winner: Annette Keith, Carrickfergus.
Runner-Up: Christopher Betts, Carrickfergus.
Runner-Up: Robert Welch, Eden.
Runner-Up: Ruth Hickey, Carrickfergus.

Best Kept Community Planting Scheme

Winner: Brooklands Drive Residents Association, Whitehead.
Runner-Up: Charles Sheils Charity, Carrickfergus.
Runner-Up: Greenisland Environmental and Heritage Group, Greenisland.
Runner-Up: Carrickfergus Town Centre Display (Carrickfergus Chamber of Commerce)

Best Kept Commercial Premises

Winner: The Gallery, Carrickfergus.
Runner-Up: McMasters Butchers, Whitehead.
Runner-Up: Glam Hair and Beauty Salon, Whitehead.
Runner-Up: Northern Bank Limited, Carrickfergus.

Best Kept Pub or Hotel

Winner: Coffee and Cream, Whitehead.
Runner-Up: Brewers Fayre, Carrickfergus.
Runner-Up: Hillcrest, Carrickfergus.

See Carrickfergus in Bloom competition website.

Results of Translink Ulster in Bloom 2010 Competition ( 2nd September 2010)

Gardeners responsible for Northern Ireland’s best plant and floral displays celebrated today at the results ceremony for the 2010 Translink Ulster in Bloom Competition. The Borough won three awards with Carrickfergus coming second in the large town category. Carrickfergus Station came second in the Best Station Award and the Brighter Whitehead Community came first in the Community Rail Halt Award for their hard work at Whitehead Train Station. Speaking at the results ceremony in the elegant surroundings of Lissanoure Castle, Loughguile, County Antrim, Veronica Palmer, Chairman, Translink, said: “2010 marks the 32nd year of Ulster in Bloom and attracted 130 entries representing local councils, community organisations and businesses as well as 36 bus and train stations. Despite some challenging weather conditions, participants have produced exquisite and clever floral and plant displays capable of transforming areas and delighting both local people and visitors, enhancing social and economic prosperity. It is great to see that many areas have sustained their impressive flair for horticulture and retained their Ulster in Bloom title and it is also encouraging to welcome newcomers into the top spots demonstrating the growing appeal of the competition. I would like to congratulate all our winners and runners-up and I hope their delightful displays will provide inspiration for others to try their hand at gardening.”

Love Parks Week 2010 (24 July to 1 August)

Love Parks Week is an annual campaign to celebrated in parks and other greenspace. In Carrickfergus we have a number of events.

Shakepeare's Much Ado About Nothing: Don't miss the now annual outdoor theatre production of one of Shakepeare's finest plays, 'Much Ado About Nothing' on Saturday 24 July at Shaftesbury Park, Carrickfergus. Gates open Saturday: 6.30pm; Show starts 7.30pm. Admission is Free, but entry is strictly on a first-come, first-served basis, so arrive early to avoid disappointment. Don't forget to bring a picnic and dress appropriately for the outdoor weather conditions! Event Link

Alice through the Looking Glass: For the first year, this event will include a special performance of the children's classic 'Alice through the Looking Glass' on Sunday 25 July making a special afternoon out for all the family.
Gates open at Shaftesbury Park, Carrickfergus on Sunday: 2pm; Show starts 3pm. Admission is Free, but entry is strictly on a first-come, first-served basis, so arrive early to avoid disappointment. Don't forget to bring a picnic and dress appropriately for the outdoor weather conditions!Event Link

Big Moth Hunt on Tuesday 27th July (7.30 to 9pm) & Venue: Eden Allotment Gardens, Beltoy Road, Eden. Join Catherine Bertrand from Butterfly Conservation Northern Ireland and discover what moth species you can find at Eden Allotment Gardens, Beltoy Road, Eden. Fun FREE event for all. FREE Butterfly ID Chart for all participants. Under 18's must be accompanied by an adult. This event continues the following morning at 10am to ID what has been discovered. Event Link

Moth Identification Event on Wednesday 28th July (10am) at Eden Allotment Gardens, Beltoy Road, Eden. Event Link

Big Butterfly Count on Wednesday 28th July (11.30am to 1pm) at Bashfordsland Wood (Meet at Oakfield Community Centre). Join Catherine Bertrand from Butterfly Conservation Northern Ireland and discover what species you can find at Bashfordsland Wood. Fun FREE event for all. FREE Butterfly ID Chart for all participants. Under 18's must be accompanied by an adult. Event Link

Seashore Safari on Saturday 31st July 2010 from 12 to 1.30pm & Meet at Blackhead Path Car Park, Whitehead. Flora and Fauna Rocks! Explore the flora, fauna and geology of Blackhead Path and shoreline. Visit the weird and wonderful habitat that exists along Blackhead Path with Geologist Ian Enlander from the Irish Whale & Dolphin Group and Botanist John Wann. Event Link.

Get Snap Happy in your Green Space Area

As the weather warms up it’s the perfect time to get out and about in your local public park. Why not grab your camera and take a winning photo whilst you’re there? ‘Postcards from the Park’ is a chance to celebrate the public parks of the UK through images that reflect their role in our every day lives. Open to everyone, the competition has been set up by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Big Lottery Fund and GreenSpace. You can also win £1,000 of Jessops vouchers simply by taking a great photo of your park. It ends along with Love Parks Week on 1st August, so take a peek at www.postcardsfromthepark.org.uk and get snapping! See our local photography competition the Virtual Flower Show organised by Carrickfergus in Bloom at www.virtualflowershow.org.

Launch of Ulster in Bloom 2010 (17 June 2010)

ulster in bloom 2010The 2010 Translink Ulster in Bloom Competition was launched in the natural surroundings of Castle Espie Wetland Centre, County Down. This year there are 130 entries representing councils, community groups and businesses as well as 36 bus and train stations. Supported by the Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA) and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB), the awards are now in their 32nd year and continue to attract the very highest standards of plant and floral displays.

Speaking at the official launch, Translink Chairman Veronica Palmer said it is important that Northern Ireland continues to look after its unique living landscapes: “Our Ulster in Bloom participants play an important role in cities, towns and villages by not only creating beautiful plant and floral arrangements for local people and visitors to enjoy but also by supporting biodiversity; providing vital habitats for local wildlife to flourish and sustaining natural eco-systems. The exceptional standard of entries last year shows that Northern Ireland has a flair and passion for horticulture and we want to reward those individuals and organisations who make that extra effort to enhance their natural surroundings.”

President, Northern Ireland Local Government Association, Councillor John Mathews said: “The Translink Ulster in Bloom competition has made, and continues to make a remarkable contribution to the improvement and enhancement of the villages, towns and cities across Northern Ireland. The competition was started back in 1979 by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, since then it has grown considerably, this year receiving 130 entries.  It is my pleasure to congratulate and thank the participating councils, their staff and local residents for their interest, enthusiasm and horticultural contribution which further enhances the communities in which we live. NILGA members are very pleased to support this event and the sponsors.  We will also continue to support councils as they recognise the value of supporting Ulster in Bloom. I wish all entrants every success”.

Board member, Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Alistair McGowan said: “The Ulster in Bloom competition is an invaluable tool for attracting visitors; it also ensures that their stay in Northern Ireland is even more pleasant. If our visitors have an enjoyable and memorable time they will spread the good word. An increase in the ‘staycation’ trend shows how holidaymakers have decided to stay in Northern Ireland rather than travel abroad.  Destinations at home are perfect for an affordable weekend away and families can enjoy days out at a wide range of Northern Ireland’s finest attractions, taking in many of the beautiful towns and villages which are adorned with flowerbeds, hanging baskets, trees and floral displays. All of the entrants should be proud of their hard work.”

Above photograph of event: Launch of Ulster in Bloom at Castle Espie in Comber on 17 June 2010: L-R Gregg Buchanan, Greenisland Environment and Heritage Group, Hannah Moore, Translink NI Railways – Carrick, John McCauley, Brighter Whitehead, Sandra Buchanan, Greenisland Environment and Heritage Group, Bill Pollock, Brighter Whitehead, Margaret Chambers, Brighter Whitehead, Cllr John Mathews, President, NILGA, Veronica Palmer, Chairman, Translink, Alistair McGowan, NITB Board member, Alderman May Beattie, Carrickfergus Borough Council, Frank Moore, Translink NI Railways Route Manager – Carrick, Stephen Daye, Carrickfergus Borough Council, Carolyn Stewart, Translink NI Railways.

Launch of Carrickfergus in Bloom 2010 (14 April 2010)

Brighter Whitehead attends the Launch of Carrickfergus in Bloom 2010The Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside and Amenities Sub-Committee, Alderman May Beattie, launched the Carrickfergus in Bloom 2010 campaign in the grounds of the historic Andrew Jackson Cottage. School children from throughout Carrickfergus Borough and Community representatives also joined in to the sounds of the APEX Jazz Band. "Carrickfergus Borough Council is encouraging everyone who lives within the Borough of Carrickfergus to ‘do one more thing’ for Carrickfergus in Bloom. Whether you fill a hanging basket, enter one of the 10 competitions, plant a tree, grow some fruit and vegetables or put up bird box. There is something for everyone to do to make our Borough bloom this year.” said Alderman Beattie. "The Council will be planting thousands of summer and spring flowering plants, hundreds hanging baskets as well as thousands of spring flowering bulbs this year. Our tree-planting initiative and the continued reduction of bedding plants in favour of more permanent planting are the ways we are enhancing the environment and biodiversity of Carrickfergus Borough for today and for tomorrow." continued Alderman Beattie "We will again be organising the Borough-wide Carrickfergus in Bloom Community Competitions. Local communities are encouraged to take part by entering the Best Kept Front Garden and Window Box Competitions. Allotment holders at Eden can enter the Best Kept Allotment Competition sponsored by Sunnybank Garden Centre. Children can take part in the Painting, Poetry, and Tallest Sunflower competitions. Local businesses will also be asked to participate by entering the Best Kept Shop and other Commercial premises section. And Web users and keen photographers can enter the Virtual Flower Show. continued Alderman Beattie “Carrickfergus Borough Council along with the Department of Environment, Housing Executive and various Community Groups are working together to improve the beauty of Carrickfergus with the use of flowers, colourful shrubs and trees. The significant improvements at the Marine Highway is an excellent example of partnership working." ended Alderman Beattie

Mayor of Carrickfergus joins ‘One Pot Pledge’ (14 April 2010)

Mayor of Carrickfergus joins One Pot PledgeThe Mayor of Carrickfergus, Alderman Patricia McKinney unveiled her mini allotment in a pot and has taken up the ‘One Pot Pledge’. The Mayor will be growing vegetables, herbs and even strawberries at the Carrickfergus Civic Centre courtyard this summer. Alderman McKinney said "We want to encourage Carrickfergus Citizens to make the One Pot Pledge and sow, grow and harvest their own food for the very first time in 2010." "Growing food, even on a small scale in just a pot, gives people the chance to connect with the food they eat. As well as saving money and encouraging healthier eating, growing fruit and vegetables also helps people to make more sustainable food choices." "We are trying to promote growing your own food and vegetables, getting families and children involved and getting their hands dirty. It's a growing movement throughout the country and we're just hoping to encourage that within our Borough too." "Carrickfergus Borough has already an excellent track record at encouraging our citizens to grow their own. The Borough is the home of the largest allotment site in Ireland and we have successfully run the Carrickfergus School Growing Clubs initiative that encourages pupils to grow and eat fruit and vegetables in their school grounds." ended Alderman McKinney. The Mayor is not the only politician embracing the "grow your own" movement. David Cameron will be taking over Gordon Brown’s vegetable garden at Downing Street. Barack Obama has a herb and vegetable patch at the White House. And even the Queen has turned a corner of palace backyard into an allotment. To join the campaign, go to Carrickfergus in Bloom website, http://www.carrickfergusinbloom.org/onepotpledge.htm which features growing advice and tips." At the site you can follow the Mayor’s progress and even upload your own photographs to show how your own ‘One Pot Pledge’ is growing!

Ulster in Bloom Success (10 September 2009)

The results of months of planting and pruning were recognised as the winners of the 31st Translink Ulster in Bloom competition were announced at the historic Magheramorne House near Larne. After a summer of fierce competition and intensive judging, Whitehead received a second place in the small town category. The Borough also dominated the Community Rail Halt category with Whitehead receiving the first place and Greenisland receiving the third place position. McMaster Home Farm Meats, a local business in Whitehead was also recognised in the Special Awards’ category for their beautiful floral and plant presentations. See our Gallery Section for a photo of the event.

Bill Pollock who attended the award ceremony, said “Ulster in Bloom is a magnificent opportunity for our town to enhance its surroundings and create beautiful displays that are enjoyed by everybody. Our town is renowned for its floral displays which are enjoyed by residents and tourists alike.  The Brighter Whitehead initiative also plays a critical role in bringing people and investment to the town. However, it’s important to say that issues such as cleanliness, sustainability and community involvement are equally as important. In the town, the 'In Bloom' initiative is much more than bedding plants and making the town look good for one day; instead it is a 365 day initiative. Along with our partners have done a wonderful job in broadening the appeal of the Brighter Whitehead initiative, by getting people to work together we have made our town better. Our successes within Ulster in Bloom could not have happened without the generous support of local businesses and local people throughout the Borough; and statuary bodies such as Carrickfergus Borough Council, the Housing Executive and Department of Regional Development. I would like to personally thank all our volunteers that have been vital to the initiative.

Local pupils adopt a beach (08 April 2009)

The children from Whitehead Primary School took part in a clean up organised through the Translink and Ulster Wildlife Trust 'Adopt-a-Beach' initiative run as part of Translink's Biodiversity Project in partnership with the Trust, the aim is to tackle the problem of marine litter and illegal dumping on the local environment. Volunteers learnt about the problems caused by marine litter, while also collecting and recording each type of litter they found. This information will now be sent to the Marine Conservation Society to be analysed and used to tackle sources of pollution at a UK level. It will also help with the development of an annual 'Beachwatch' report that can be used to lobby government and influence industry practices. Translink Biodiversity Officer Rose Cremin said:"Litter is a concern for many reasons, mainly because it is harmful to wildlife and unsightly. It is a year round problem that needs a year-round solution, and this scheme will really make a difference. "By getting involved in these organised beach cleans, local people are helping to combat the pollution problem and build a cleaner and healthier future for the local community."

Civic Reception for Whitehead Community (13 March 2009)

To celebrate the Silver Gilt success of Whitehead in the RHS Britain in Bloom competition, Carrickfergus Borough Council is hosting a civic reception at Whitehead Golf Club for representatives of the Whitehead community. Whitehead scooped the top environmental award in Chester on Wednesday 24th September 2008. The Britain in Bloom results followed on from the town’s success at Ulster in Bloom in which it received a first place in the small town category.

Bill Pollock said “Britain in Bloom is a magnificent opportunity for Whitehead to enhance its surroundings and create beautiful displays that are enjoyed by everybody. Our ‘in bloom’ campaign is much more than flowers and making the town look good for one day; instead it is a 365 day initiative than looks at sustainable development and biodiversity, conservation and recycling, local environmental quality, permanent landscaping, and public awareness of the environment. I would encourage everybody interested in our campaign to visit the Brighter Whitehead website (www.brighterwhitehead.co.uk) for further details on our campaign and how you can help us in 2009.”

Alderman May Beattie said “It’s fantastic that the work in Whitehead has been recognised in this way. Britain in Bloom is a very prestigious event so this is very good for Whitehead. Looking at sustaining the environment is one of the things which is key to the Council and we want to continue that.” Stephen Daye, Parks & Countryside Development Officer said “The Britain in Bloom Silver Gilt award is a wonderful accolade for the community in Whitehead and this is the highest award the Town has achieved so far . It is the result of much hard work and no-one should underestimate the amount of effort which has gone into this floral campaign. This success could not have happened without the generous support of local businesses and local people and schools throughout the town; and statuary bodies such as Carrickfergus Borough Council, Translink, the Housing Executive and Department of Regional Development.”

RHS director-general Inga Grimsey said ”In total, 69 finalists were selected from the 18 UK regions and nations to compete in the UK finals. The finalists all performed successfully in their local campaigns and are outstanding examples of community effort, environmental sustainability and horticultural excellence. RHS Britain in Bloom is the largest horticultural campaign in Europe. It encourages people to actively improve their local environments through cleanliness, sustainability and creative planting. “

Tree Week in Whitehead (28th November 2008)

National Tree Week is an annual event that launches the winter tree-planting season. Every year millions of trees are planted across the UK as part of the initiative. Over the next few years, National Tree Week will be focussing on the overall theme, ‘Trees Matter – Plant Them’. Tree Week is celebrating its 32nd Birthday this year and in Carrickfergus Borough we will be playing our part by planting more trees.

TREE PLANTING IN WHITEHEAD
Date: Friday 28th November 2008 at 2.30 p.m.
Location: Whitehead Recreation Grounds
Event details: Come along and plant some trees in the town that won a Britain in Bloom Silver Gilt award this Summer. Please wear warm clothing and sturdy footwear and please bring waterproofs. Everyone is welcome.

TREE PLANTING AT EDEN ALLOTMENTS
Date: Friday 28th November 2008 at 11.30 a.m.
Location: Eden Allotment Gardens, Beltoy Road, Carrickfergus.
Event details: Come along and plant traditional Irish apple varieties and other fruit trees at the allotments. Please wear warm clothing and sturdy footwear and please bring waterproofs. Everyone is welcome.

TREE TALK
Date: Thursday 11th December 2008 at 8pm (doors open at 7.30 p.m.)
Event organiser: Carrickfergus Borough Council / Carrickfergus Garden Society
Location: St Colemans Church Hall, Larne Road, Carrickfergus.
Event details: Patrick Cregg, Director of the Woodland Trust (NI) will deliver the talk 'Ancient Woodland Treasures Lost and Found'. Everyone is welcome.

For further Information t: 028 93358000 or e: greenspace@carrickfergus.org or visit www.carrickfergusinbloom.org

Whitehead Success at Britain in Bloom Awards (24th September 2008)

Whitehead Success at Britain in Bloom 2008 Awards Whitehead is celebrating another horticultural success after achieving a Silver Gilt award at the RHS Britain in Bloom Awards, the largest horticultural campaign in Europe. The awards ceremony, attended by over 450 gardening enthusiasts and community champions, was held on Wednesday 24th September 2008 at Chester Race Course, with special guest, TV gardener Chris Beardshaw, presenting the prizes. The Silver Gilt award is our town's highest achievement at Britain in Bloom to date, having achieved a Bronze award last year and two Silver awards previously. A delegation representing the town included Bill Pollock, Chairperson of Brighter Whitehead; Local Councillors Alderman May Beattie and Councillor Isobel Day; and Stephen Daye and Mathew Hunter from Carrickfergus Borough Council's Parks & Countryside Service. Britain in Bloom judges Rodger Burnett & Rae Beckwith visited our town on Wednesday 13th August 2008.

Bill Pollock from Brighter Whitehead said "I am absolutely delighted with this result. The Judges praised the enthusiasm from our town’s community and said there were lots of positive initiatives, including the town’s bedding plant displays, permanent landscaping, Railway Station and in particular the work at Beach Road Nature Reserve and the One World Garden. Britain in Bloom is a magnificent opportunity for Whitehead to enhance its surroundings and create beautiful displays that are enjoyed by everybody. Our 'in bloom' campaign is much more than flowers and making the town look good for one day; it is a 365 day initiative than looks at sustainable development and biodiversity, conservation and recycling, local environmental quality, permanent landscaping, and public awareness of the environment. I would encourage everybody interested in our campaign to visit the Brighter Whitehead website (www.brighterwhitehead.co.uk) for further details on our campaign and how you can help us in 2009.

2008 Winners of Ulster in Bloom Announced (11th September 2008)

2008 Winners of Ulster in Bloom AnnouncedThe results of months of planting and pruning were recognised as the winners of the 30th Translink Ulster in Bloom competition were announced at the beautiful Narrow Water Castle near Warrenpoint. After a summer of fierce competition and intensive judging, Whitehead received a second place in the small town category and Carrickfergus received a third place in the large town category. The Borough also dominated the Community Rail Halt category with Whitehead receiving the second place and Greenisland receiving the third position.

Speaking at the event Translink Chairman, Mrs Veronica Palmer OBE said, “I would like to applaud this year’s participants for the most spectacular results we have seen to date. Participants must have been inspired to work even harder to deliver results which are truly fitting for Ulster in Bloom’s 30th anniversary. “Yet again this year we have had turbulent summer weather – apparently the wettest on record since 1914 - which will have been a true test of what Ulster in Bloom represents, a sense of teamwork, community and commitment. And it is this ethos that has seen Ulster in Bloom grow year on year from its small beginnings in 1978 to the 142 entrants this year. This is the tenth consecutive year that Translink has supported Ulster in Bloom. We are very proud of this long term partnership and the positive impact the competition has had, and will continue to have on the environment across Northern Ireland. Our commitment to the competition has been solidified with the addition of the Floral Station and Community Rail Halt categories.

Chairman Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Tom McGrath, CBE NITB said, “We are delighted to offer our continued support to the Ulster in Bloom competition, and I would like to thank all of the partners involved for making it a success. This will be my final Ulster in Bloom as chairman of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and I am proud to have been associated with this competition. For the past 30 years Ulster in Bloom has transformed towns and villages across Northern Ireland, and this year also marks the 60th anniversary of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, great achievements for us both. Visitor numbers to Northern Ireland are at a record high, over 2.1 million and Ulster in Bloom, in creating clean, tidy and florally enhanced environments, ensures visitors have a pleasant stay when they are here, and encourages them to return.”

Opening of the ‘One World Garden’ (5th September 2008)

Opening of the ‘One World Garden’ in WhiteheadAlderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks Committee will officially open the ‘One World Garden’ in Whitehead today (Friday 5th September at 11.30am). The ‘One World Garden’ has been developed as a multi-cultural community garden, providing a safe and attractive environment centrally based in Whitehead. The project was devised by local community group Brighter Whitehead and part funded by the European Union through the Interreg IIIA Programme which is managed by the East Border Region Interreg IIIA Partnership. The project was also funded by Carrickfergus Borough Council.

Bill Pollock, Chairperson of Brighter Whitehead said “Whitehead Town is representing the Borough and Northern Ireland in Britain in Bloom 2008. The theme for Britain in Bloom this year is ‘Local Roots’ and we were keen to engage with this important theme. After some discussion with local stakeholders, including the landowner Carrickfergus Borough Council, it was thought that a suitable project would be a ‘One World Garden’”. “The brief for designer, Barbara Kelso Garden Design, was simple. The ‘One World Garden’ project should be a garden with trees, plants and shrubs to represent the different cultural groups within the area. The garden was designed not only as an educational aid but more importantly to bring people together i.e. different ages, different races and different local and international cultures. The Brighter Whitehead committee is delighted to see the completion of the project but more especially to see it being enjoyed by the people who visit it. The project appears to have impressed the Britain in Bloom judges who on their recent visit applauded the creativity of the garden. We are keeping our fingers crossed when the Britain in Bloom results are announced on 24 September in Chester.”

Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks Committee said “On behalf of Carrickfergus Borough Council we are delighted with the ‘One World Garden’ project. This is a welcome addition to the horticultural displays at Whitehead Recreation Grounds. The Garden has received funding from the Good Relations Sub Committee of Council which is particularly fitting given that we take pride in taking a Civic Leadership role in promoting cultural diversity and social inclusion. The Garden, to me, symbolises the ideal of many cultures and traditions co-existing in close proximity and harmony. I hope that the entire community will understand the significance of the Garden and enjoy it for many years to come.”

The designer Barbara Kelso explained “The entire garden is circular in shape, symbolizing the world.  It is further divided into six sections, each section representing the six continents (excluding Antarctica) of the world; Europe, Asia, North America, South America, Oceania and Africa.  Each section has a planting bed, equal in size, this portraying equality within the world.  The planting beds have an array of plants represented from each continent and posts placed on the outer boundary of each bed in a ‘wave effect’, symbolizes the oceans and seas of the world.  Pathways, lead to the centre of the garden, where there is a seating area to allow people from the entire community to meet together, to sit, relax, and socialise with each other, enjoying the environment that they are in.  The paving has been laid in a circular pattern, flowing smoothly around the garden, encouraging people to explore the entire garden.  The level and well-proportioned hard paving areas, also allows easy access for wheelchair users.  People can sit in the centre of the garden and yet there is still ample room for other people to walk around the garden.”

13th August is Britain in Bloom Judgement Day for Whitehead (5 August 2008)

Whitehead will again represent Northern Ireland in the Coastal Resort category of Britain in Bloom this year. The selection follows the success of the town at last year's Translink Ulster in Bloom competition. The 13th August is Judgement Day for Whitehead as Britain in Bloom Judges arrive to adjudicate Whitehead. Carrickfergus Borough Council along with community groups, committed individuals, the Department of the Environment and Housing Executive have been busy doing their bit to brighten up the town and make it more attractive to local citizens and visitors alike. A huge horticultural operation has been going on and thousands of plants are being tended in Whitehead’s acclaimed floral displays. See gallery for photographs of the judging.

Green waste composting helps Council Allotments (21 July 2008)

Green waste composting from WhiteheadAllotment holders at Eden Allotment Gardens off Beltoy Road are delighted with the free compost supplied by Carrickfergus Borough Council via green waste collected from Borough residents. Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside & Amenities Sub-Committee explained “People ask us what we do with the green waste collected for recycling and so we are delighted to show residents that their green waste is put to good use. The Council started their green waste collection service last year and the compost made has been a real benefit to local allotment holders. The soil in the Eden area is clay-ey and so the compost will lighten it up and make an excellent mulch for feeding the plants and improving the soil structure.”

“All the green waste collected by the Council’s brown bin scheme has been taken to a site where the material is shredded and turned into compost. This process takes a few months and now that it is ready it has been used on the allotments. The compost has been used as part of the conditioning process to help prepare, fertilise and level the land ready for planting. Using the compost has helped to save money and shows how beneficial it can be to compost the material rather than simply disposing of it in a landfill site.”

“Allotment holders in Eden Allotment Gardens have been busy setting out their beds at the borough's new allotments. All 98 plots have been snapped up since the Council started allocating them in April and there is already a waiting list. We will be officially launching our new allotment gardens in Eden (off Beltoy Road) & celebrating National Allotments Week (11 to 17 August) in Carrickfergus with a Family Fun Day on Saturday 9 August, from 12 noon. The Family Fun Day is free and open to everyone and will include a vegetable barbeque, children’s games, face painting, plant sales and a vegetable juggler.”

As well as making its own compost, the Council is also keen to encourage everyone to make their own compost at home by offering compost bins for £5. To find out more about this offer, please contact Sullatober Depot on 93351192. Compost bins are also available to buy at the Family Fun Day on Saturday 9 August.

Whitehead urged to take part in Borough Community Competitions (09 July 2008)

The Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside & Amenities Sub-Committee, Alderman May Beattie has asked the Borough’s keen gardeners to enter the Carrickfergus in Bloom Community Competitions. To encourage participation we are giving £1200 in prize money to the winners and runners-up, who will also be invited to a prize giving lunch in October." Alderman Beattie said "There are ten competitions including Best Kept Front Garden, Best Container Garden, Best Community Planting Scheme, Best Kept Shop, Best Kept Pub or Hotel Best Kept Commercial Premises and the Children's competitions that include the Tallest Sunflower, Painting and Poetry competitions. We also have a new Children's competitions to judge the Borough’s heaviest pumpkin” "We have been amazed by the number of applications already received in the last few weeks of the application form going out, the competition is really catching the imagination of the public. The judges are going to be kept very busy at judging time, which starts in August". "Everybody who lives within the Borough of Carrickfergus has been asked to take part in Carrickfergus in Bloom whether you fill a hanging basket or plant a trees or enter one of the ten competitions, there is something for everyone. By entering you not only brighten up your own house but you also aid our borough's entry to the Ulster in Bloom competition. To enter the competition either pick up an application at any Council premises or t: 9335 8039 or log on to the Carrickfergus in Bloom website www.carrickfergusinbloom.org

Schools celebrate National School Grounds Week (05 June 2008)

Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside & Amenities Sub-Committee will help celebrate the launch of ‘National School Grounds Week’ at Acorn Primary School today by planting with pupils 3 fruit trees in the school grounds. This year’s theme for ‘National School Grounds Week’, which runs from 9 to 13 June 2008, is ‘Love your grounds’. So why love your school grounds? School grounds are at the heart of the school. They are vital for learning and discovery, physical health, social confidence, emotional well-being, community engagement and sustainability. Alderman Beattie said "Carrickfergus Borough Council is an enthusiastic supporter of the outdoors as an educational environment and recognises the vital opportunities for learning and discovery offered by school grounds. School grounds give children valuable opportunities for playing and learning, and we are committed to helping schools make the most of the outdoors with our Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative 'Carrickfergus Schools Growing Clubs'. The initiative provides schools in the Borough with grants to set up or improving an existing gardening club and linking this with a healthier eating and lifestyle message to pupils.” "Carrickfergus Schools Growing Clubs gives pupils the opportunity to plan, sow, tend and harvest a range of fruits and vegetables at school. It extends pupils' understanding of food chain issues by bringing the process directly under their control. Whether the club is run as part of the formal school curriculum, or as an extra-curricular activity, it should be seen as a vital teaching and learning experience for pupils.” “The Growing Club also makes use of the school grounds, which are additional learning spaces at school. It provides an area of interest for the entire school community and can be shown to guests and visitors as a key feature of the school. In addition, it provides an ideal vehicle to promote healthier eating and drinking messages for pupils. In time, the Growing Club will also produce a number of crops which can be eaten in school, perhaps in the school tuck shop or cookery club.” continued Alderman Beattie

Launch of 2008 'in Bloom' Campaign (16th May 2008)

Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside & Amenities Sub-Committee helped launch the Borough's 2008 'in Bloom' campaign in the grounds of the historic Andrew Jackson Cottage on Friday 16th May. Ably helped by school children from throughout the Borough and the APEX Jazz Band. Carrickfergus Borough Council along with the Department of Environment, Housing Executive and various Community Groups are joining together to improve the beauty of Carrickfergus 365 days a year; with the use of flowers, colourful shrubs, trees and attractive street furniture. We encourage shops, businesses, and individuals to brighten up their properties by placing hanging baskets, window boxes, and by generally tidying up their location. This year’s Carrickfergus in Bloom theme is ‘Local Roots’. Whether it’s a spot of gardening, cheering up flowerbeds, cleaning and greening up streets or starting a larger project for local regeneration, Carrickfergus in Bloom can help to bring communities together and make a real difference where you live.” In Whitehead this year the Council along with local community group ‘Brighter Whitehead’ we will be building a ‘One World Garden’ to celebrate the ‘Local Roots’ theme. The ‘One World Garden’ is a multi-cultural community garden, providing a safe and attractive environment centrally based in the town. It will include plants that represent the different cultural groups within the area. The garden will be completed in June.

Funding announced for 'One World Garden' (21 March 2008)

Brighter Whitehead has secured funding from Carrickfergus Council's Good Relations Service for a 'One World Garden'. Bill Pollock explained "The theme for Britain in Bloom this year is ‘Local Roots’ and we would like to engage with this important theme. After some discussion with local stakeholders it was thought that a suitable project would be a ‘One World Garden’. This ‘One World Garden’ will include plants that represent the different cultural groups within the town. The garden will be designed not only as an educational aid but more importantly to bring people together i.e. different ages, different races and different local and international cultures. The garden will be located in the Recreation Grounds at Chester Avenue and will be completed in May 2008.  To download the plan click here

Spring into Action (20 March 2008)

Put the spring back into your step this month and volunteer! People across Carrickfergus Borough can make a real impact by volunteering to help conserve the environment this Spring and throughout the year. Stephen Daye, Parks & Countryside Development Officer at Carrickfergus Borough Council and Carrickfergus in Bloom Co-ordinator said “Come springtime, we all want to be outside; it's a lovely time of the year to appreciate green spaces. And if you want to help your environment, locally is a great place to start.” “In Carrickfergus Borough we are blessed with many community groups that do tremendous work to improve their environment. Whether you live in Greenisland, Carrickfergus, Eden or Whitehead a group could do with your help or you can contact Carrickfergus in Bloom about starting up a group within your own locality.“ Bill Pollock a volunteer with Brighter Whitehead said “Volunteering sounds very worthy, but once you actually start doing it and get involved, especially if it's something near to your community, you get to know people you wouldn't normally come across and you get so much more out of it than you think you're going to. You make new friends, you get a sense of achievement and at the same time you're making a huge difference to the area that you're in.” “The other great thing is that anybody can volunteer - you don't need to be qualified, you haven't got to be fully able. Basically, you've just got to have the get up and go to want to get involved. Whether it's weeding or making the tea, everybody has something to give.” ended Bill. To take part in a community project within the Borough or start up a new group contact Stephen Daye, at Carrickfergus Borough Council, Civic Centre, Antrim Street, Carrickfergus. T: 9335 8039 or inbloom@carrickfergus.org or www.carrickfergusinbloom.org

Civic Reception for Whitehead Community (15 February 2008)

To celebrate the success of Whitehead in the RHS Britain in Bloom competition, Carrickfergus Borough Council hosted a civic reception at Whitehead Golf Club on 15 February 2008 for representatives of the Whitehead community. Whitehead scooped the top environmental award at Coventry Cathedral on Wednesday 26th September. The Britain in Bloom results followed on from the town’s success at Ulster in Bloom in which it received a first place in the small town category. Alderman May Beattie said “It’s fantastic that the work in Whitehead has been recognised in this way. Britain in Bloom is a very prestigious event so this is very good for Whitehead. Looking at sustaining the environment is one of the things which is key to the Council and we want to continue that.”

Walk on the Wild Side in Whitehead (15 February 2008)

Children from Whitehead Primary School in Northern Ireland have been learning how to welcome wildlife into their gardens throughout the winter. Whether the weather is fine or whether the weather is not, furry and feathered friends may well need a little extra help to survive the season and local youngsters have proved keen to lend a hand. They welcomed a real live hedgehog into their classroom as part of an innovative natural learning experience organized under the Carrickfergus In Bloom Blooming Wild banner. The Blooming Wild! campaign has been designed to encourage everyone to do at least one thing to help support wildlife in their gardens. The campaign recognizes that local wildlife habitats are increasingly under threat and that every garden, big or small, could be a potential mini nature reserve. From small, simple changes such as putting up a nest box to larger projects such as building a wildlife pond, we can all make a contribution to securing the future of our local wildlife. The Blooming Wild! Campaign isn’t restricted to schoolchildren. It aims to increase everyone’s knowledge of biodiversity issues within the Borough.

Joanna Lumley announces ‘Postcards from the Park’ competition winner

A photo of Whitehead Recreation Grounds was chosen as regional winner of the nationwide ‘Postcards from the Park’ photo competition which was set up to celebrate lottery investment in parks. The winning photographer, Alex Kane, received the news in person from Joanna Lumley at the exhibition launch at Mile End Park Arts Pavilion in London. The stunning black and white photo, highly impressed the judges who included celebrated photographer Mike McCartney (brother of Paul) and Damien Demolder, editor of Amateur Photographer Magazine. ‘Postcards from the Park’ was launched by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund (BIG), with parks charity, GreenSpace. Joanna Lumley, actress and Patron of Mile End Park, said: "Parks are among the UK's most treasured features and the ‘Postcards from the Park’ competition was a great way of celebrating that fact.” For more information about the exhibition please call the HLF on 0207 592 6102. Click here to preview images from the exhibition.

Wild Week (25th October 2007)

To meet the ever-growing interest in wildlife, and to coincide with the new landmark series The Nature of Britain, Carrickfergus Borough Council is joining forces with the Conservation Volunteers to organise a ‘Wild Week’ event in Windsor Play Park, Whitehead on Thursday 25th October (1 to 3pm). ‘Wild Week’ is a nation campaign that runs between 22-28 October. ‘Wild Week’ will complement the Carrickfergus in Bloom campaign ‘Blooming Wild!’. Blooming Wild! is a local campaign to encourage people to do one more thing for wildlife in their gardens. Find out more about ‘Wild Week’ and ‘Blooming Wild!’.

Blackhead Path Beach Clean-Up (15 September 2007)

A Blackhead Path beach clean-up has been organised for Saturday 15th September from 4pm to 5pm. Meet at the Blackhead Path car park to help clean up and survey our coastline. This is part of a UK wide beach clean-up and litter survey organised by the Marine Conservation Society - the UK charity dedicated to the protection of the marine environment and its wildlife.

Whitehead success at Ulster in Bloom (4th September 2007)

The visits are over, the votes have been cast, and the Judges have made their final decisions. The results of the 29th Translink Ulster in Bloom Competition are in! And it proved to be a blooming marvellous summer for our town’s green-fingered gardeners as they turned up the flower power to win three category’s in this year’s competition. Whitehead have triumphed again! The results announced today (04 September) at Tullylagan Country Hotel in Cookstown are as follows:

Small Town – 1st – Whitehead
Best Station Award – 3rd – Whitehead Rail Station
Community Rail Halt Award – Whitehead Station

Judgement Day for Whitehead as Judges Arrive (09 August 2007)

Whitehead again represented Northern Ireland in the Coastal Resort category of Britain in Bloom this year. The judges arrived on 9th August 2007, in what Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of Parks, Countryside & Amenities Sub-Committee called "Judgement Day for Whitehead". In the town a huge horticultural operation has been going on and thousands of plants are being tended in Whitehead's acclaimed floral displays. The Judges are two highly-qualified horticulturalists Jim Buttress & Sue Wood. They were accompanied around the town by Alderman May Beattie (Chairperson of Brighter Borough), Bob Pollock (Chairperson of Brighter Whitehead), Stephen Daye (Parks & Countryside Development Officer) and Matt Hunter (Parks & Countryside Operations Officer). Before judging Jim Buttress & Sue Wood meet the many groups that work in partnership with CBC including sponsors at a reception in Whitehead Golf Club. In September, the results will be announced in Coventry, Bill Pollock will represent Brighter Whitehead at the event.

Big Thanks to Cannon Motors (31 July 2007)

Local Hyundai dealer Cannon Motors Limited, (Belfast Road, Carrickfergus) have agreed to sponsor our transport via the loan of the Hyundai Santa Fe for the Britain in Bloom judging on Thursday 9th August.  

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