Eco Heroes celebrated at Live Here Love Here Community Awards 2024

Monday 4 March 2024

The awards, sponsored by Belfast Harbour and supported by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), took place on 29 February 2024, and celebrated the many individuals, schools, and community organisations, that dedicate their time to improving the environment through activities such as education, litter-picking, and tackling biodiversity loss.

L-R - Kira Flanagan from Lettuce Grow, Tullygarley Allotments, Vanessa Postle Sustainable Development Officer at Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, William Millar from Lettuce Grow, Tullygarley Allotments, Thea Priestly from Lettuce Grow, Tullygarley Al

Following a nomination period which was open to the public throughout January, 12 awards were distributed on the evening. Lettuce Grow, Tullygarley Allotments received the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council Champions Award in recognition of their efforts to create sanctuaries for local wildlife and inspire others to improve the areas they live in. Peter Donnan, a member of Larne Community Fridge Group, was also recognised in this category for his contribution to projects such as the community orchard and local allotments, encouraging members of the public to donate produce.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, said: “My warmest congratulations to Lettuce Grow, Tullygarley Allotments for securing this fantastic award – and a big thank you for the excellent work you undertake supporting our Borough. We are indebted to the many wonderful individuals, volunteers, organisations and local businesses who actively improve our local environment - improving areas for biodiversity, keeping towns and villages clean and tidy and ‘greening the grey’ by brightening up forgotten corners.”

Eight additional Champions Awards were also presented to people and groups from Live Here Love Here’s Council partner areas. The Legacy Award was presented to Tidy Randalstown for their long-standing commitment to environmental causes and community service, whilst the Rising Star Award, which acknowledged up-and-coming environmental leaders, was awarded to Rebekah Bajko. Ark Community Gardens received the Community Together Award, supported by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, in acknowledgement of their efforts to address community division through environmental action.

2024 marks 10 years of Live Here Love Here, detailing the campaign’s ongoing commitment to improving communities across Northern Ireland and empowering people to protect the environment.

Lynda Surgenor, Live Here Love Here Manager, said, “Our Community Awards are always a highlight, not only because they recognise and honour the diverse environmental contributions made by community members across Northern Ireland, but also because it’s an opportunity for us to reflect on the success of the Live Here Love Here programme. This year’s instalment is made all the more special as we’re marking ten years of community support for the campaign. We extend our warmest congratulations to all the nominees and recipients – their remarkable achievements will inspire others to join the moment towards a cleaner, greener, and more connected Northern Ireland. We also extend our thanks to DAERA, Belfast Harbour, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and our nine council partners whose support has been instrumental in the positive momentum of Live Here Love Here.”

Some of Live Here Love Here’s initiative include Big Spring Clean and Adopt a Spot. For more information visit the Live Here Love Here website.