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On Thursday 5th October, Live Here Love Here and Coca-Cola HBC celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the Coca-Cola Coast Care Awards, held at Parliament Buildings, Stormont. The event, hosted by BBC Weatherman Barra Best, praised and rewarded the efforts of volunteers who have gone the extra mile to clean up and look after our coastline and inland waterways, in a bid to preserve the natural beauty of these areas.

The awards also celebrated the beauty of Northern Ireland’s Coastline and Inland waterways through the Picture Perfect Award; showcasing the beautiful scenery this country has to offer. Guests were entertained by music from talented, young musicians Fourte Strings and visual entertainment by sand sculptor, Tony Hawkins. The guest speaker on the night was writer, surfer and founder of the #2minutebeachclean campaign, Martin Dorey; he spoke from the heart, relating to and encouraging volunteers to continue in their fight against marine litter and highlighting the significance of even the smallest of gestures.

The Live Here Love Here Clean Coasts Programme supports the work of volunteers who clean up beaches, rivers and loughs throughout Northern Ireland, providing equipment and support to these outstanding local heroes. This would not be possible without the continued support of Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The programme was founded in 2007 and in 2008 recorded a total of 110 volunteers. The programme has grown dramatically to a staggering 4642 volunteers in 2016. In 2017, the programme came into its element, with new and innovative events taking place throughout the country. A Clean Up and Drum Circle, a Cycle Sea Safari, Beach Clean and Boot Camp, and an Extreme Cave Clean in the underground rivers of Fermanagh are just a few of the events which engaged local people, both familiar and new to the programme. These events highlighted the effects of marine litter but also showcased the beautiful coastlines and inland waterways that our country has to offer.

Dr Ian Humphreys, Chief Executive of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, said: “Our ten year partnership with Coca-Cola enables us to consistently support a growing movement of people who have the tenacity to keep on cleaning up our coast and inland waterways. Tonight we take the time to celebrate their achievements, their passion and their ‘can-do’ attitude that is keeping Northern Ireland’s shores, loughs, canals and rivers beautiful. It is obvious such volunteers really do live here and love here and their work is truly inspiring. Thank you.”

Louise Sullivan, Director Public Affairs and Communications, Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland said, “We are immensely proud of our long-standing partnership with Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful. As leaders in sustainability, we strive to minimise our impact on the environment and a key element of our efforts are focused on environmental

stewardship within communities. Everyone here tonight has the shared aim of keeping our country as beautiful as possible and I would like to both thank and congratulate everyone in this room for your hard work and dedication in doing so. These awards should act as an inspiration to others and hopefully your example will be followed and we will see many more volunteers around the country caring for our beautiful coast.”

The award winners and honorary mentions are as follows:

Coca-Cola Coast Care Group

Winner: Ballyhornan Development Association

Coca-Cola Inland Waterway Group

Winner: Six Mile Water Trust

Brighter Futures

Joint Winner: Ulidia Integrated College Eco Team

Joint Winner: 29th Belfast Beaver Scouts Carryduff

Better Business Partnership

Winner: Citi Belfast

Local Hero

Winner: Pat Watson, Inland Waterways Association Ireland

Picture Perfect

Winner: Wilbert McIlmoyle