NI’s ‘garden village’ in final shake-up for £10,000 TV prize

Broughshane has made it into the final of Channel 4's 'Village of the Year' competition
Broughshane has made it into the final of Channel 4's 'Village of the Year' competition

Broughshane is one step closer to being crowned Village of the Year after making it through to the finals of a Channel 4 competition.

The Co Antrim village was selected on Saturday night’s episode of Village of the Year to represent the Central Zone which featured villages from across a wide area of England and Northern Ireland.

Broughshane joins the villages of Beer in Devon, and Hampstead Norreys in the final this Saturday night, and the heats of this week’s programmes will see a fourth contender representing the north of England and Scotland joining them.

Lexie Scott, chairman of the village’s community association, said: “This is a very exciting time for the village.

“We have secured funding from the council and have applied for additional funding for it through the Rural Development Programme.

“It features as a priority in our new village plan.

“We are working with council to try to take forward the plans to build a new community centre.”

The winner of the Village of the Year will secure £10,000 prize money, which Mr Scott said the association would use to help promote tourism in the area.

Broughshane, although no stranger to awards, has never featured on a national television programme and this has clearly added additional motivation to the many volunteers whose work makes the village the special place it is.

Tony Redmond, one of the founder members of the original community group, said: “For me the success which the village has enjoyed in the early stages of this competition is a fitting tribute to many unsung, decent people who helped found the community association almost 50 years ago.”

He added: “Many are no longer with us but if we do manage to become Village of the Year then our success is in no small way down to their faithful commitment over the years.”

In 2016, as part of the Tidy Towns initiative, Broughshane was named Best Kept Small Town in Northern Ireland as well as winning the overall award for Best Kept Town in Ireland.

Known as the ‘Garden Village of Ulster’ Broughshane can also boast Ulster In Bloom, Britain In Bloom and Entente Florale (EuropeIn Bloom) accolades.