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Inter-faith arts project scoops prestigious award for Ballymena group

The Ballymena Church Members Forum, funded and supported by MEABC's Arts Service, has scooped a prestigious award for their community arts project

An arts project, which brought together 400 people from different faiths to create a public art trail across Mid and East Antrim, has scooped a prestigious All Ireland award.

Run by Ballymena Church Members Forum, and funded and supported by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s (MEABC) Arts Service, the winning project was a celebration of our natural world, aiming to highlight environmental concerns and how people can all work together to “Care for Creation”.

The project was chosen as the All Ireland Winner in the Epic Awards, the premier awards for voluntary arts and creative groups across the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.

The awards announcement, which took place online this year for the first time ever, welcomed special guests from Arts Council Ireland, England, Arts Council Wales, Creative Scotland and other organisations who announced the winners and runners-up for each national award (England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales).

Based on the ethos that the arts can connect, re-engage and unite communities, the Ballymena participants created their own inspiring art pieces, to share their works and messages and engage with other people in the area.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Peter Johnston, congratulated all those involved.

“This is a fantastic achievement, and I am delighted to send my congratulations to everyone involved in delivering the project.

“The healing and therapeutic impact of the arts has long been celebrated as a means of bringing people together, and to be named the All Ireland Winner in such a prestigious line-up of community arts projects is just wonderful!”

Robin Simpson, Chief Executive of awards organiser Voluntary Arts, said:

“Volunteer-led local creative cultural activities have never felt more vital than now. The things people achieve through their own creativity and voluntary endeavour, often with little support or resources, are truly amazing and make a massive difference to the lives of their friends, neighbours and communities.

“The groups and projects celebrated by the 2020 Epic Awards demonstrate the incredible force for good represented by local voluntary arts groups in almost every local community, all year.”