Ballymena gears up for bloom judging

Volunteers from Green Pastures Sonshine Week alongside staff from Mid and East Antrim Borough Council as they get ready to plant out Wellington Court
Volunteers from Green Pastures Sonshine Week alongside staff from Mid and East Antrim Borough Council as they get ready to plant out Wellington Court

Ballymena residents have been rallying together in recent weeks in a final push for floral excellence ahead of visits by Translink Ulster in Bloom and Royal Horticultural Society Britain in Bloom judges.

Visitors to the town will notice the recent addition of multicoloured flower pots and equally colourful planting along Wellington Court in the centre of Ballymena.

Artists Janet Crymble and Fionnuala Duffin who recently completed the mural at Church Street 3 car park in the town

Artists Janet Crymble and Fionnuala Duffin who recently completed the mural at Church Street 3 car park in the town

Around 20 volunteers from Green Pastures Church recently gave up their free time to pot an array of blooms as part of their ‘Sonshine Week’ of volunteering in the local area.

And anyone travelling along the Larne Link Road cannot help but notice another standout addition to the town at the Church Street 3 car park.

Work at the car park began in June when a number of Probation Board supervised Community Service personnel prepared the car park walls for local artists to create a fantastic mural.

The mural, which is set to be completed this week, is a celebration of the importance of bees as pollinators – a key message in the Ballymena in Bloom campaign.

The Borough’s First Citizen, Councillor Paul Reid, said: “As Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, I spend a lot of time in Ballymena.

“The town has undergone a wonderful transformation in recent weeks with so much of Ballymena awash with colour through hanging baskets, window boxes, railing planters and traditional bedding plants.

“However, what strikes me the most is the fact that so much of the planting and environmental improvements throughout the town are due to the efforts of local residents, businesses, churches and community groups.

“It is a credit to the people of Ballymena and I wish them and all our other towns and villages every success in the Translink Ulster in Bloom and RHS Britain in Bloom competitions.”

Grainne Teague, Probation’s North Antrim Area Manager, said: “Community Service is supervised unpaid work, where those on Community Service are able to give something beneficial back to communities, make reparation for the crimes they have committed and develop skills to help change their lives away from a cycle of crime.”