Year in Review…

In January Open+Direct Insurance was revealed as the new title sponsor of the NI Amenity Council’s ‘Best Kept Awards.’ The awards which are steeped in history, (pioneered in the early ’50s by Professor Arthur Muskett ) champion community spirit to recognise towns, villages and communities (plus schools and health care facilities!) that go above and beyond in making NI a greener, more beautiful place.

Open+Direct Retail Network Manager, John Laverty, takes a look back on our inaugural year of sponsorship…

At Open+Direct, we are a local company for local people, with 12 branches across the province, committed to serving the community – the awards echo our sentiments of championing local towns and making Northern Ireland a brighter place to live and work. Let’s take a look back at the past year…

Success for Scarva at it’s crowned ‘Best of the Best’!
Two weeks has passed since the picturesque Co. Down village of Scarva was named ‘Best of the Best’ at the grand final held in the Guildhall, Derry for the ‘Best Kept’ Town and Village Awards. They beat off stiff competition from across the province and following this fantastic win, the village will now progress to the final of the Ireland’s Best Kept Town competition. Loughgall lady Gretta Young was also honoured to be the first ever recipient of the new ‘Community Achiever of the Year’ award, in recognition of her outstanding work with the Loughgall District Improvement Committee. This occasion marked the culmination of a fantastic few months for myself and all at Open+Direct Insurance.

BTP-090615BT1-002Schools Out!
Our sponsorship kicked off in April with the judging of the ‘Best Kept School’ Awards – the effort from schools across Northern Ireland was astonishing. Antrim-based Ballycraigy Primary School was crowned, ‘Overall Outstanding School’ at a ceremony in the Education Centre at Crawfordsburn, Country Park. Since winning the ‘Best Kept’ award the school has gone on to win a national competition for ‘Cultivation School of the Year’ beating schools from across GB.

Health and Social Care Awards
The Health and Social Care awards are truly special – recognising the staff and residents of day-care, residential and healthcare facilities who have showcased their dedication and pride in their workplace or residential care homes by improving their surroundings. The beauty of nature and surroundings can have a profound effect on residents in these facilities so it’s wonderful to see this in action. In September, Foyle Hospice was awarded the title ‘Best of the Best’ in the ‘Health and Social Care Facility’ category.

Holywood 11Behind the Scenes in Holywood!
A personal highlight for me was accompanying judge Ken Forbes on a ‘ride-along’ to Holywood, where I got to go ‘Behind the Scenes’ of the ‘Best Kept’ judging process – to read my blog on this click here. I saw the awards through the judges’ eyes and it really made me appreciate the effort from everyone involved.

Overall, it has been a wonderfully enriching experience being involved in the ‘Best Kept’ Awards. I’d like to give a special mention to our staff from local branches that helped the Broughshane