Nicola Fitzsimons Thu 20 Oct 2016
Volunteers who have gone the extra mile to clean up and look after our coastline, loughs and inland waterways have been recognised by environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful as part of the prestigious Live Here Love Here Coast Care Awards and Seminar event held at Parliament Buildings, Stormont.
David Small, Deputy Secretary of Environment, Marine and Fisheries Group and Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency presented the dedicated volunteers with their awards along with BBC’s Karen Patterson who hosted the event.
The Live Here Love Here Coast Care programme supports the work of volunteers who clean up beaches, rivers and loughs throughout Northern Ireland. With the continued support of Coca-Cola and Tourism Northern Ireland, the Coast Care Awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding work of local people who are passionate about caring for Northern Ireland’s coastline, loughs and inland waterways and who carry out practical work in a bid to reduce the impact of litter and other environmental damage to preserve the natural beauty of these areas.
The day of awards and rewards even celebrated the beauty of Northern Ireland’s Coastline and Inland waterways through the Picture Perfect Award supported by Tourism Northern Ireland, this award captures our beautiful scenery through one single stunning photograph.
Speaking about the event, Environment Minister Michelle McIlveen said: “In Northern Ireland, we are proud to boast of some of the most stunning coastline in the world. Our long sandy beaches, prime fishing spots and waterways offer excellent recreational opportunities for the health and well-being of all. Thanks to many passionate volunteers these stunning areas are kept in pristine condition for local people and visitors to explore and enjoy.”
“The tireless efforts of the volunteers also have a huge impact on keeping these coastlines and waterways safe for the huge range of species that call them home. I am sure they will also inspire others to get involved in the Live Here Love Here campaign and help us create a cleaner, greener environment for everyone. They set a shining example to us all and make a vitally important contribution to our world,” the Minister added.
Dr Ian Humphreys, Chief Executive of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, said: “Our long-standing relationship with Coca-Cola enables us to reward the hard work, community spirit and sheer persistence of volunteers who regularly clean up our coast and inland waterways. At this event we take a little time to celebrate the achievements of passionate ‘can-do’ people to keep Northern Ireland’s shores, loughs, canals and rivers beautiful. Through their freely given time it is obvious they really do live here and love here. To everyone involved, your work is simply inspiring, well done and thank you.”
Gillian Shields, Community Affairs Manager, Coca-Cola HBC Northern Ireland said: “We are delighted to partner with Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful and support the Clean Coast and Coast Care programmes. These awards recognise and reward the tremendous contribution and practical action being taken by individual and groups across Northern Ireland in looking after our much treasured beaches and waterways. Congratulations to all the beach managers and local communities from around Northern Ireland on achieving these prestigious awards."
Louise Kearney, Director for HR & Organisational Development, Tourism NI, said; “Northern Ireland boasts some of the most spectacular coastline in Europe and this is one of our greatest tourism assets. Volunteers and community groups make a huge contribution to taking care of our coast and we are delighted that that these efforts are being recognised through the Coast Care Awards. Tourism NI is again proud to sponsor the Picture Perfect Award.”
List of Coca-Cola Coast Care Award Winners 2016
• Coca-Cola Coast Care Group
National Trust Volunteers Portstewart Strand (Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council)
• Coca-Cola Inland Waterway Group
Glas-na-Bradan Conservation Association (Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council)
• Brighter Futures
Mourne Heritage Trust Youth Rangers (Newry, Mourne and Down District Council)
• Better Business Partnership
TESCO Antrim (Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council)
• Local Hero
Sebastian Graham (Mid Ulster Council)
• Picture Perfect (Tourism Northern Ireland)
Wilbert McIlmoyle (Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council)
• A Special Award for Inspiring Individual was presented to Eric Rainey (Ards and North Down Borough Council) for his commitment to the the Coast Care Programme.