The 2013 Best Kept Awards are open for entries from Northern Ireland’s towns, schools, healthcare facilities and housing areas.
The prestigious annual awards were established almost 60 years ago to encourage local communities to take up the baton for environmental excellence, and it is one of the longest running schemes of its kind in Europe.
The Best Kept Awards were launched on Wednesday by local schoolchildren and a call was issued by organisers, the Northern Ireland Amenity Council (NIAC), for councils, schools, housing bodies and the management of health and social care premises to enter the awards with information about their environmental projects.
Doreen Muskett MBE, Chairman of NIAC commented: “For nearly six decades the Best Kept Awards have set out to motivate local communities to make the most of their built and natural spaces; to improve and preserve the environmental heritage we are so lucky to have in Northern Ireland. This work has never been more relevant, with on the one hand increased pressure on the environment, and on the other a heightened interest in all things ‘green’, which must be nurtured.
“We want to hear about the projects being organised at grass roots level to make local areas, and therefore Northern Ireland as a whole, cleaner and greener. There are volunteers working in towns and villages, housing areas, schools and at healthcare premises who aren’t getting the acknowledgement they deserve. We’d like to remedy that situation, and we’d also like to get new individuals and groups to take on the Best Kept challenge!”
The Best Kept Awards are used to reward Northern Ireland’s best community environmental projects, including the promotion of recycling and wildlife conservation. Entrants in all categories are judged using a wide range of criteria, including the absence of litter and graffiti, and evidence of community participation in local initiatives. Green-fingered public floral displays and wildlife-friendly planting schemes usually feature prominently among winning entries.
The closing date for the Best Kept School Awards is March 1. The Best Kept Town, Village and Housing Area Awards close on April 19 and the Healthcare Facility Awards are open until May 24.
For entry forms contact NIAC on 028 9040 3681 or visit www.niacbestkept.com for more information.