TOWNS and villages in Mid and East Antrim will be lead contenders for the 2019 Translink Ulster in Bloom Competition which has been officially launched.
The launch took place in Portrush, with the competition attracting 128 entries representing all local council areas as well as 14 bus and train stations.
There are 15 towns and villages in Mid and East Antrim entered in the competition and hoping to come out triumphant.
The awards encourage cities, towns and villages right across Northern Ireland to look their best through beautiful plant and floral displays, boosting civic pride.
Competition categories include: Small Village, Large Village, Small Town, Town, Large Town, City, Roses in Towns, Special Awards for Outstanding Presentation & Biodiversity, Ulsterbus Tours Community Champion, Floral Station and Most Improved.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Maureen Morrow, said: “We have established a reputation in Mid and East Antrim as an award-winning Borough and I have no doubt that theme will continue in the Ulster in Bloom competition.
“By actively supporting our ‘In Bloom’ campaign and community competitions, residents not only brighten their area of the Borough but often enable our towns and villages to go on to achieve success in these prestigious awards.”
Speaking at the official launch, Translink Chairman Frank Hewitt, said: “It’s great to launch the 2019 Translink Ulster in Bloom Competition in Portrush just ahead of The 148th Open which will showcase the magnificent Causeway Coast on a world stage.
“Ulster in Bloom participants are passionate about their local area, creating beautiful plant and floral displays that leave a lasting positive impression.
“Their hard work is enjoyed by local people while also attracting more visitors to local villages, towns and cities right across NI so it’s fantastic that all local councils are involved.
“This competition celebrates the ‘green credentials’ of local businesses, communities and councils. As a public transport provider, we also focus on promoting more sustainable lifestyles and environmental protection. So, it’s very encouraging that a record 84.5million passenger journeys were made on Translink services last year – the highest number in over 20 years.”
Councillor Frances Burton, President-elect, NI Local Government Association, said: “It is my pleasure to convey the Association’s support, admiration and encouragement to each of you today.
“You are all “In Bloom” champions, harnessing the community benefits of councils, local committees, residents and businesses, coming together to take pride in the places where you live and work, creating a better environment for everyone to share.
“NILGA represents, promotes, sustains and improves local government on behalf of all councils. The Association therefore fully supports Translink Ulster in Bloom across each individual Council area and we are delighted to have 128 entries covering all 11 council areas this year.
“NILGA’s work covers training, negotiation, development, policy and investment, from Brexit to Entrepreneurs, from the Programme for Government to Investment, and from Ulster in Bloom to Councillor Training. You, councils and NILGA are a very visible, very strong partnership, especially at time when we are three years into a political vacuum at Stormont,” said Frances.
For more information on Translink’s bus, coach and train transport plan to The 148th Open visit www.translink.co.uk/the148thopen