The search has begun for the best kept schools, towns and villages, and healthcare facilities across Northern Ireland, following the launch of the Best Kept Awards, supported by George Best Belfast City Airport.

The awards now in their 62nd year, run by the Northern Ireland Amenity Council, aim to recognise the outstanding contribution from community groups, local councils, and businesses that ensure their surroundings are clean tidy and environmentally sustainable.

Speaking at the launch event, in Botanic Gardens, Doreen Muskett, President of the Northern Ireland Amenity Council commented on the growth of the awards over the years.

“When we started in 1957, we couldn’t have imagined the awards would become the prestigious competition that it is today. Last year we received more than 500 entries and expect to exceed that in 2019.

“Through the Best Kept Awards, volunteers can showcase their hard work and demonstrate their commitment to their community, whether it be from maintaining the floral arrangements in their town or encouraging recycling at their local school.

“Each action has a wider impact and we are delighted to have the chance to acknowledge the best community and environmental projects.”

Successful entries from 2018 included Hillsborough, which was crowned the Best Kept Town, and St. Mary’s Primary School, Draperstown which was named the overall Best Kept School.

Michelle Hatfield, Director of Corporate Services at Belfast City Airport, commented:

“Belfast City Airport is now in its third year of partnership with the Best Kept Awards and it is wonderful to see the continuing impact that communities can have on their local environment.

“The competition encourages communities to work together and enrich their local area for the betterment of wider society.

“Our support of the Best Kept Awards is just one element of our corporate responsibility programme which assists our local community across a number of facets.

“We look forward to reviewing this year entries and rewarding the best schools, towns, villages and healthcare facilities plus selecting an overall Community Hero award.”

The initiative was the brainchild of President Doreen’s father, the late Professor Arthur Muskett OBE, who initially set out to find Northern Ireland’s Best Kept Village.

Entries to the Best Kept Awards, sponsored by George Best Belfast City Airport, are now open.

For more information on how to enter an awards category, please visit or call the Northern Ireland Amenity Council on 028 9040 3681 or via Twitter, @BestKeptAwards.