The Best Park

Mid and East Antrim Borough joins search for UK’s best park

Marine Gardens Carrickfergus

A nationwide search to find the country’s favourite local green space, as nominated and selected by public vote, has just started. The national charity, Fields in Trust has launched the campaign to find the UK’s Best Park.

This unique award, as voted by the general public, is open to all public green spaces across the UK through a simple online nomination at

Carnfunnock Country Park, Larne

Launching the awards, former England international footballer, Graeme Le Saux, said: “The Fields in Trust’s annual awards are a fantastic way for us to recognise the organisations and individuals who help make our parks, playgrounds and playing fields the best they can be. “I was very fortunate that growing up in Jersey I had a huge amount of access to outdoor spaces and it was something I really appreciated as a youngster, not just because I wanted to be a football player but also because I was able to spend time outdoors with my friends. I understand the importance of these spaces and the opportunities they provide for our communities.

People’s Park, Ballymena

It might be that a local park is ideal for a Sunday afternoon stroll, or a neighbourhood playground is a hive of activity for children, or a nature reserve provides a stress-free space to relax. Either way, this is a chance to get everyone’s favourite space the recognition it deserves.”

Three of Mid and East Antrim Borough’s parks are in the running for the UK’s Best Park Award:

  • Carnfunnock Country Park, Larne,
  • Marine Gardens, Carrickfergus and
  • The People’s Park, Ballymena.

All residents are encouraged to show what these green spaces mean to them and to cast their vote at nomination at Voting has already opened for the nominated parks. The park with the most votes in each of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will then be shortlisted.

Nominators will be invited to attend the prestigious Fields in Trust Awards on Wednesday 30th November where the ‘UK’s Best Park- as voted by YOU! 2016’ will be named.


Woollen Woods Whitehead

Woollen Mouse
Woollen Mouse

An innovative outdoor artwork, ‘Woollen Woods’, that took place last year in Whitehead, has been nominated for the prestigious 2016 Epic Awards. YOU CAN VOTE ON THIS.

“During the project a number of craft workshops were held at Lighthouse Yarns which proved popular and a free family fun day was held, with activities including pom-pom making, felting, origami, bug hunting and pond dipping. It featured hundreds of woodland-themed woollen artworks which were created by schools, knitting groups and individuals all over Northern Ireland and it  subsequently became the first Woollen Wood in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Its main aim was to create the first such Woollen Wood in Ireland and to combine the arts and the environment to draw new audiences to crafting, conservation and biodiversity in a way to enhance local culture.

The prestigious 2016 Epic Awards nomination followed. The winners and runner ups will be chosen by a panel of judges, but there is an additional People’s Choice Award where the public can choose their favourite of the shortlisted groups.

To vote, visit vote for Woollen Woods Whitehead. Voting is open until 5pm on Wednesday 23 March.

Louise Williamson, Lighthouse Yarns, has been overwhelmed by the Epic Awards nomination and with the support for the project. Louise said: “The best thing about Woollen Woods Whitehead was seeing community participation and the great community spirit that was on show.

“The installation included over 50 private wool donations, creations from Whitehead Primary School, Kilcoan Primary School, Islandmagee, and Mitchell House School Belfast and donations from Top Floor Art, Belfast Stitch & Bitch and Keep Her Knit, Londonderry.

“The Whitehead Wombles, Whitehead Community Association, Brighter Whitehead, and the Whitehead craft circles who crotched flowers for months beforehand, were a huge help throughout the project.

“I’m now looking forward to a bigger and better Woollen Woods 2016,”she added.

  1. Woollen Woods is a UK-wide project that began in 2013 and covers five regions on the UK mainland. Diamond Jubilee Wood is the first Woollen Wood in Northern Ireland. For more info on Woollen Woods visit
  2. Woollen Woods Whitehead 2016 will be opening on Saturday 7 May 2016 with a family fun day. All woollen donations welcome. Post donations to Lighthouse Yarns, The Bank House, Edward Road, Whitehead, BT38 9QB. Deadline for submissions is 30 April 2016.

Live Here Love Here Small Grants Scheme

Small Grants Flyer FinalLive Here Love Here Small Grants Scheme

Closing Date noon, 28 September 2015

Grants are available from £500 to £5,000

Small Grants Scheme Flyer

Small Grants Scheme Application Form 2015

Small Grants FAQ 2015

The Live Here Love Here small grants scheme is open to volunteer groups who would like to complete an environmental or community improvement project in their local area. To learn more please visit  An exciting initiative, it takes a fresh approach to improving our local environment and building a sense of civic pride in our local communities. Launched by Keep Northern Beautiful in association with the Department of the Environment, Tourism Northern Ireland and local councils, the Small Grants Scheme provides support to volunteer projects which aim to:

  • Improve the quality of the local environment
  • Enhance the environmental management of a local area
  • Contribute to the development of civic pride within a community with a focus on environmental improvement

Grants are available from £500 to £5,000 and are open to volunteer and community groups, all school and third level education organisations, youth groups and sports clubs undertaking civic pride projects in the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council area.

Closing date for applications is 12 noon 28th September 2015

Projects must take place within the boundaries of the participating Council areas by groups operating within those Council areas to qualify. If you have any questions please check the frequently asked questions section first or email


Coca-Cola Coast Care Awards – Deadline Extended

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful in association with Coca-Cola HBC Northern Ireland has launched the Coast Care Awards for the sixth year in Northern Ireland.  These awards are designed to acknowledge the excellent work of individuals and groups working throughout the year in the Coast Care Programme, so if you work with or know of a group that deserves an award for the work carried out on a coastal or inland waterway project. Or if there is an individual who you think is so inspiring they deserve to be recognised for their contribution to protecting the Northern Ireland coastline or waterways then you could be in line for a prestigious Coca-Cola Coast Care Award.

To enter please visit

Coca-Cola Community Grants Scheme Application Form 2015

Coast Care Photography Award 2015

Coast Care Awards Entry Form 2015

Group Awards

  • Coca-Cola Coast Care Group
  • Coca-Cola Inland Waterway Group
  • Brighter Futures
  • Better Business Partnership
  • Community Contribution to Tourism (Tourism Northern Ireland)

Individual Awards

  • Youth in Action
  • Local Hero
  • Picture Perfect (Tourism Northern Ireland)

All award winners will receive a commemorative award in recognition of their efforts plus a framed certificate.  Individual winners (including photography) will receive £100 worth of equipment of their choice and Group award winners will receive £200 worth of equipment of their choice.

I have attached a copy of the application form and I would ask that you please e-mail your completed entry to Before 5pm on Monday 28th September 2015.

Live Here Love Here Coca-Cola Community Grant Scheme – Deadline Extended

To celebrate the continued success of these awards we are delighted to announce the introduction of the Live Here Love Here Coca-Cola Community Grant Scheme, which will provide funding of up to £1,000 to community and voluntary groups involved in coastal or inland waterway projects that demonstrate a benefit to the local environment or wider community. This forms part of the wider Live Here Love Here programme, aimed at promoting civic pride within communities and improving environmental quality. We welcome applications from all active Coast Care or Inland Waterway groups, to learn more please visit

The Live Here Love Here Coca-Cola Community Grant Scheme is open to all active Coast Care or Inland Waterway Groups throughout ALL of Northern Ireland

I have attached a copy of the application form and I would ask that you please e-mail your completed entry to before 5pm on Monday 28th September 2015.

Coast Care Photography Awards – Deadline Extended

Time to enter the 2015 Coast Care Photography Awards!

Have you taken an amazing photograph that you think celebrates Northern Ireland’s beautiful coastal or inland waterway landscape? If so, then why not enter the 2015 Live Here Love Here, Coca–Cola and Tourism Northern Ireland Coast Care Awards Photography Competition? We are looking for that one image which highlights the fun and colourful beauty of Northern Ireland’s coastline or inland waterways. Images can be taken on a camera or mobile device.

The winner will receive a commemorative award in recognition of their efforts plus a framed certificate and £100 worth of equipment of their choice. Please e-mail your image and a brief description to Before 5pm on Monday 28th September 2015

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful is the new name for the charity TIDY Northern Ireland.