MID and East Antrim Borough Council has won the Innovation in Communications accolade at a ceremony celebrating the very best of local government services and staff throughout the UK.
The award was announced at the finale of The MJ Local Government Achievement Awards, which this year had a record 18 categories and was attended by almost 1,000 guests from throughout England, Scotland and Wales.
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council – Northern Ireland’s sole representative at the awards – was shortlisted in two categories.
Mid and East Antrim was singled out for the overwhelming success of its #MEAdventures campaign, which was aimed at encouraging residents to experience and explore the stunning parks, walkways, coastlines, events and much more, on their doorstep.
Launched last year, #MEAdventures has convinced thousands to get outdoors, make healthier lifestyle choices, increase the amount of exercise they are getting – and have fun enjoying Mid and East Antrim while they do it.
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Alison Diver was highly commended in the prestigious Rising Star category.
Alison was recognised for the success of a number of events and community initiatives she has delivered through her role at Council.
Mayor Councillor Maureen Morrow said: “Congratulations to all our staff for their superb achievements at the MJ Awards in London.
“This recognition is further testament to a teamwork approach across Mid and East Antrim and an environment in which elected members and officers work hand in hand to deliver the very best services to our citizens, and the greatest use of the public pound when it comes to investment and delivery.
“I was honoured to collect the communications award along with staff on behalf of the Council.
“Alison’s recognition as Rising Star made me extremely proud, and as Mayor I am delighted to represent the top-performing Council in Northern Ireland.”
Chief Executive Anne Donaghy said: “I am very proud that our Council has one of the top performing communications teams in the UK – a team which never ceases to amaze me.
“They always go the extra mile, every single time.
“Innovation is key to the future of Northern Ireland and strong communications are critical in order to achieve what we do.
“I am delighted my team has pulled together the most innovative communications project in the whole of the UK.
“The work the team is doing is fresh, inspiring and cutting-edge, and I commend our staff so highly.
“A huge congratulations, too, to Alison Diver, who was highly commended in the prestigious category of Rising Star. What an incredible achievement and deserving recognition of Alison’s continued excellent work.
“I feel that as they develop, the staff in Mid and East Antrim will undoubtedly aspire to greater things across Northern Ireland as the years go on.
“I am honoured to have such commitment from our staff, who are so talented and ambitious.
“When you look across Northern Ireland, you see people from throughout Mid and East Antrim thriving in the public and private sector, which is so satisfying, inspiring and rewarding to our elected members, who have invested and provided opportunities which have resulted in a culture of performance and delivery.
“Communications has joined the highest-performing teams within our Council, along with planning, waste, biodiversity and economic development.”
Winning an MJ Award not only allows local authorities to be recognised for the delivery of their services over the last 12 months but also to share their expertise with their peers.
Each category is judged by influential commentators from the private and public sectors, giving organisations the chance to illustrate their ability, ingenuity and performance.
The winners and highly commended were announced by BBC Breakfast News presenter Steph McGovern at a gala night dinner at London’s Hilton Hotel, Park Lane on June 26.
Heather Jameson, The MJ’s editor, said: “From the hundreds of entries covering virtually all of local government’s myriad of services, our judges had a difficult task of selecting the best, never an easy decision when there are so many strong contenders.
“The entries ranged from corporate-wide initiatives and children’s and adult services to housing, IT, regeneration, recycling, public health and employment among others.
“New categories included Transforming Lives, Digital Transformation and Corporate Director of the Year.”