Despite stiff competition across the Province, Londonderry has been named ‘Best Kept City’ in the Open + Direct Insurance ‘Best Kept’ Town and Village Awards.
The category was open to cities that have a population of 60,000 or more, which was introduced for the first time this year.
Londonderry also played host to the awards ceremony, which took place in The Guildhall. This accolade follows the recent success of Foyle Hospice, which was named overall winner at the ‘Best Kept’ Health and Social Care Awards last month.
The awards, which are run by the Northern Ireland Amenity Council (NIAC), recognise those towns, villages and housing areas which demonstrate great pride in their area by going the extra mile with efforts to create well maintained, clean and beautiful communities in which to live and work.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Doreen Muskett MBE, Chair of the NIAC said: “Congratulations to Londonderry. The Best Kept Awards have been existence since 1957 and are now very firmly established as one of the ultimate accolades for towns, villages and now cities across Northern Ireland, so the people of Londonderry should be rightly proud.
The collaborative efforts of residents, local businesses and the local council have certainly paid off, creating a beautiful place worthy of the ‘Best of the Best’ title.’
Speaking at the event, Mark H Durkan MLA, Minister for the Environment said: “I commend all who took part and warmly congratulate each of the winners. I am of course particularly delighted to see that Derry is the first winner of the ‘Best Kept City’ award.
“This award is a great accolade for the city, and full credit should be given to the Council and all the local volunteers who worked hard to bring out the best in the city’s environment. ”
The Mayor Elisha McCallion, said: “I am delighted that the city has been awarded the title of Best Kept City, it’s a great honour, and a reflection of the hard work and dedication of Council, residents and businesses across the city.
“Derry has seen many improvements in recent years with the development of the city’s Greenway initiative and our public realm scheme which have resulted in a transformation of many of our public spaces. There is great pride in the positive change that is taking place here in Derry, and this award recognises the ongoing commitment to making Derry both an outstanding place to live and an exceptional visitor destination.”