Tuesday 12th February saw volunteers gather at the 3rd annual Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful Community Awards in Belfast City Hall with host, TV presenter Joe Mahon and guest speaker Jo Ruxton, filmmaker and campaigner who opened the eyes of the world to the problems of plastic in A Plastic Ocean and influenced Blue Planet II.
The evening was designed to recognise and thank all the volunteers who had been short listed for their continued hard work and dedication to the cause – with an opportunity to hear their inspirational stories which instil pride in our local communities through practical environmental action.
From regular litter picks to the creation of shared community spaces these unsung heroes dedicate their time and efforts into making our home cleaner, greener, safer and more sustainable.
The winners have carried out some remarkable work this year including addressing social isolation and loneliness among older people living in care homes by creating beautiful gardens – the only green space that some residents will see. A keen canoeist has made a significant effect on the appearance of the waterways by removing debris and litter while a young 15 year old litter picker has collected around 100 bags of litter and even taken his litter picker on holiday. Another local hero raised over £1000 from biscuit wrappers alone for ‘Kicks Count’, a charity that promotes baby movement awareness to reduce still birth whilst one group reached out to minority groups to address language barriers by publishing an infographic pack that displays the dos and don’ts of domestic waste disposal and littering – improving community relations.
Guest Speaker Jo Ruxton encouraged volunteers to make a stand in their local communities and champion the reduction of litter: “Never underestimate just how much one single person can achieve. The problem might seem insurmountable but take that first step on your own and just watch how many people join you and help bring about change.”
Live Here Love Here Manager Jodie McAneaney comments: “These awards are so important, they give us the opportunity to highlight the issues and reward those who are actively making a difference. Plastic in particular has been hitting the headlines this year with its devasting effects, making our special guest Jo Ruxton the perfect candidate to inspire us to really strive for change. The fact that every piece of plastic ever created is still on the planet is a real eye opener. Hopefully in 2019 our continued efforts and that of our volunteers and partners can make steps towards tackling this terrible problem.”
At Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful we run a number of campaigns and programmes that embody the values of Live Here Love Here which would not be possible without the help of our dedicated volunteers. If you would like to find out more or get involved with Live Here Love Here please visit our website; www.liveherelovehere.org or contact [email protected]