Council to provide £25,000 funding for Garden Show

Garden Show Ireland will return to the Castle Gardens in May.

Garden Show Ireland will return to the Castle Gardens in May.

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Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has agreed to provide an additional £10,000 towards hosting the Garden Show Ireland event.

The council had already agreed to provide promotional assistance with event marketing worth £10,000, as well as £5,000 sponsorship, bringing a total investment of £25,000 for the event at Antrim Castle Gardens next May 6-8.

Councillors were advised at last Monday’s Operations Committee that while approval had been given back in October for the £10,000 promotional assistance and £5,000 sponsorship, Garden Show Ireland organisers had since “fine tuned” their plan for 2016 and were now seeking an additional £10,000.

In a report presented to the committee, it also noted that the agreement between council and Garden Show Ireland had been extended by a a further two years to facilitate the delivery of the Show in 2017 and 2018.

Ursula Fay, council’s Head of Arts and Culture, explained that the show organisers had identified the development of the ‘show garden’ element and an expanded role for celebrity gardener Monty Donn as two elements which they could support with this additional funding.

Deputy Mayor John Blair said it was a comparative amount when you consider other council attractions.

He added that it would be an “extremely good investment” and proposed the committee agree to provide the additional funding.

He also called for details of local hotels and hostelries to be made available to the show organisers.

Councillor Neil Kelly also supported the funding request and said it was “fantastic for the Castle Gardens’ profile”,

Referring to the event, he added: “It gets biggers each year it comes.”

Councillor Noreen McClelland said the event had been extremely successful in the past and the key issue was in the marketing and promotion of the event.

“The more buy-in for the local community the better,” she said.

Cllr. Blair’s proposal to provide the additional funding was agreed by the committee.