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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

ANBC | Bonfire management programme to provide funding boost for 22 community groups

Twenty-two community groups in Antrim and Newtownabbey are expected to sign up to a bonfire management programme in the borough which was approved at a meeting of the borough council’s Community Planning Committee on Monday evening.

The initiative will provide a grant of £3,000 for each participant to provide a family fun day / festival in each area.

Online registration is to be made available by the local authority for this year’s programme at Antrim Civic Centre and Mossley Mill on March 31 and April 1 respectively.

Four site inspection dates have been announced with the first taking place by the council on May 13. A further three are planned with two in June and one in July.

Nineteen groups took part last year. Townparks in Antrim signed up to the programme for the first time.

In addition, beacons were distributed to sites in Burnside and two locations in Parkhall in Antrim and Townparks with double beacons used in Doagh and Neillsbrook, Randalstown. Bonfires were held in nine of the participating sites in Antrim and Newtownabbey.

Councillors were told previously that the aims of the initiative are to “work with and support local communities to bring about improvements in bonfire management, particularly in terms of inclusivity, safety and increased family atmosphere”.

In addition, the programme may “further reduce the adverse health and environmental impacts of bonfires including the illegal disposal of waste”.

Site inspections are carried out involving the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, Housing Executive, PSNI and council.

A Covid cluster meant that a festival / family fun day event due to take place at Derrycoole Way in Rathcoole had to be cancelled less than 24 hours before it was due to take place last year and the entertainment booked had to be relocated to other sites within the borough.

The total bill for the delivery of festivals/family fun days and the repair, filling and delivery of beacons in 2021 was £96,768.

Proposing approval for this year’s bonfire management programme, Antrim DUP Councillor Paul Dunlop said:

“I think we all know the work that is done around the bonfires and the changes we have seen over the years. They have turned very much into family-oriented days.”

His proposal was seconded by Antrim and Newtownabbey’s Deputy Mayor Threemilewater DUP Councillor Stephen Ross.


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