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Brighter Whitehead Mark 25 years of keeping area blooming

Members of Brighter Whitehead have been keeping the town blooming for 25 years.

Established in 1995, Brighter Whitehead is celebrating 25 years of voluntary service this year.

With some of their 25-year anniversary plans put on hold due to Covid-19, the group is planning for the future, and throughout the current crisis volunteers continued to meet, safely and within government guidelines, to carry out essential planting, weeding and watering around town.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Peter Johnston, said: “Well done to Brighter Whitehead for their efforts in keeping the town centre and railway halt blooming with an abundance of beautiful flowers.

“With the recent reopening of Blackhead Path, more visitors than ever are flocking to Whitehead, and there is no doubt the floral displays will improve the experience for visitors and hopefully keep people in the town centre longer, whether shopping local or eating out, and boost the local economy.

"I’d like to personally thank all the Brighter Whitehead volunteers and encourage them to keep up the great work. Whitehead has entered the Translink Ulster in Bloom competition each year since 1995 and has represented Northern Ireland in the Britain in Bloom competition twelve times, and Brighter Whitehead have helped Council bring home a host of awards in this time. I look forward to seeing what wonderful displays materialise in the months and years to come.”

Bill Pollock, Chair of Brighter Whitehead (pictured), said: "I’m delighted to say Whitehead looks as good this year as it has every other year, despite the challenging circumstances – a real testament to the hard work put in by the team.

"I’d like to personally thank each and every one of the Brighter Whitehead volunteers, what started as a small group of six in 1995 has grown to over thirty volunteers with our own polytunnels, a branded vehicle and many businesses supporting our activities.

“Brighter Whitehead grow the majority of the flowers that are displayed around Whitehead. This is our contribution to enhancing the town and we were delighted to receive the Queens Award for Voluntary Service in June 2019.

"As always, we’ve new projects planned for the coming months. We are delighted to have secured a small pot of funding from the PEACE IV ‘Your Space Our Place’ programme to aid the development of a communal garden area in a neglected corner of Whitehead. We also have a new willow feature in development and some locally created signage which will be situated in town."

Brighter Whitehead are happy to welcome new members. They meet once a week, every Tuesday, come rain or shine. You do not need any specific horticultural skills, there are jobs for all levels of experience and abilities. You just need the will to make Whitehead a brighter place to live, work and visit. If you are interested in lending a hand, please get in touch.

The Your Place Our Space project, delivered by the Parks and Open Spaces Service, is an exciting intergenerational environmental project, focusing on the shared sustained use of outdoor spaces across the Borough.

This project is part of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s ‘Local Authority Action Plan’, which is funded by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).