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2021 Healthy Oceans Healthy Minds

Healthy Oceans, Healthy Minds sponsored by Belfast Harbour

Minding Blue Spaces

In living on an island, a wealth of serene marine scenes surround us. For our wellbeing, it is vital that we value the mental-health benefits that they can offer us.

Healthy Oceans, Healthy Minds is an annual invitation for communities and individuals to come together and reconnect with the full array of our waterways. Sponsored by Belfast Harbour, the 2021 programme included coastal litter picking events to support Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Clean-Up.

Our mission for Healthy Oceans, Healthy Minds:

  • Inspire and re-establish people’s connection with our seas and waterways post Covid-19.
  • Raise awareness of the benefits a healthy marine environment and the connection to nature/outdoors can make to our physical and mental health and wellbeing.
  • Educate people on alternative choices/habits they can adopt that help protect our seas and waterways from further damage and pollution.
  • Motivate and empower people to take individual positive actions now (even in lockdown) to protect our seas and waterways.

To find out about the current programme, please see Heathy Oceans, Healthy Minds.

2021 Timetable

Sunday 12th September

Seapark, Holywood | EVENT OVER

Litterpick along this popular stretch of beach.

Join the Ards & North Down Beach Cleaners on a gentle stroll and litter pick of Seapark Beach.

Saturday 18th September

Crawfordsburn Beach | EVENT OVER

The Conservation Volunteers are hosting a clean-up of Crawfordsburn Beach, a site popular with walkers and sea swimmers. Join the team for a casual walk and help remove litter from the beach and sea. All welcome, equipment provided. There will be an opportunity to visit the walled garden within the Country Park after the litterpicking event.

A litter pick of Millisle Beach organised by NDA U3A| EVENT OVER

ND&A U3A is part of an international Movement aimed at providing recreational, social and educational activities for people in the third age, that is retired or semi retired.

Join their beach clean group, the Rubbish Friends, for about an hour picking litter on Millisle Beach, then go for coffee/tea and a yarn afterwards!

Killyleagh Shoreline Clean Up | EVENT OVER

The volunteers of the Killyleagh Clean Team (an initiative of the Killyleagh Community Association) will meet for their weekly litter pick, and to mark International Coastal Clean-Up weekend, will focus on litter picking around the Strangford Lough shoreline from Seaside Road to Cuan Beach in the village.

Ballywalter Beach | EVENT OVER

Join members of the local community for a clean up of Ballywalter beach on Saturday. All equipment will be provided. A great opportunity to meet local residents and help to keep this beach beautiful.

Browns Bay, Islandmagee | EVENT OVER

The Marine Conservation Society are hosting a clean-up of Brown's Bay as part of the Big British Beach clean. Join them and hear more about their work.

Bangor Bay, Bangor | EVENT OVER

A group walk and litterpick of the beach from Luke's point to Wilson's Point. Meet members of the Ards & North Down Beach Cleaners and find out more about their great work in Bangor and along the Peninsula. Organised by the Ards & North Down Beach Cleaners Facebook Group.

Clean Up of Stricklands Glen | EVENT OVER

The Friends of Stricklands Glen will be hosting a clean up, join them to learn more about what this fabulous group do in their local area.

Cranfield Beach East | EVENT OVER

Join the team from Too Much Trash NI for a clean-up of Cranfield Beach. The group will be meeting at the slipway onto the beach. Check out their Instagram @toomuchtrashni for more information.

Seapark, Holywood | EVENT OVER

Litterpick along this popular stretch of beach. Join the Ards & North Down Beach Cleaners on a gentle stroll and litter pick of Seapark Beach.

Belfast Lough and surrounding area | EVENT OVER

Join Citizen Sea, the former ring netter turned ocean warrior, for a day long operation to clean up the beaches around Belfast Lough - from Carrick to Bangor Bay. Citizen Sea are encouraging volunteers to #ConnectAndCollect as part of Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Clean-up (ICC), the world's largest volunteer effort to remove and record litter from local lakes, waterways, beaches and the ocean. Coastal volunteers and groups are encouraged to organise a litter pick at their coastal area, then the litter will be taken by RIB and Citizen Sea crew vessel, Whaleheart out to Sea Bird, acting as the mother ship in Belfast Lough. All litter will be landed at Belfast Harbour, showing how much litter was collected along our beautiful coastlines in just one day.

Ards Canal Path, Meet & Greet and Moth Trapping | EVENT OVER

Meet the dynamic duo behind the Ards Canal Path Community Group and the volunteers who have adopted the path as part of the Live Here Love Here 'Adopt A Spot' project. The team are supplying refreshments and setting up a moth trap to find out more about the wildlife that rely on the canal. Join their Facebook page for details on how to get involved.

Blackwater River | EVENT OVER

The brilliant folks at Black Water Barge make regular trips along the river to retrieve litter from the water. The tranquil site is home to an abundance of herons and kingfishers with lots more wildlife to spot from the boat. Enjoy the history and views as you travel in style and help remove litter from this beautiful site. The boat is fully accessible and trips are free.

North Coast for Sand Art and Beach Cleans | EVENTS OVER

Meet members of the inspiring North Coast World Earth group and get creative with sand art and enjoy a beach clean led by the friendly team at Downhill. These guys have created masterpieces which have headlined social media posts. Take part in a beach clean at Whiterocks and for the more adventurous, join the team on the water in Portballintrae.

More details on the great work of the group and how to get involved here https://www.facebook.com/northcoastworldearth/.

Sunday 19th September

North Down Coastline | EVENTS OVER

Councillors Karen Douglas and Martin McRandal are embarking on a 10 mile Coastal Clean Up of the North Down Coast to tackle marine litter and raise awareness of the issues of litter and waste. Join them as they make their journey from Seapark to Skipperstone Beach, lifting and removing litter along the way.

Bangor to Donaghadee | EVENT OVER

Do you own a VW van? Join the members of the Dubs Of Vanarchy NI a in convoy from Bangor to Donaghadee, stopping at beaches along the way to collect litter. Enjoy a coffee, and return to Ward Park for music and craic. Meet in the car park opposite Bangor Bus Station in your shiny VW van!

Saturday 25th September

Clean Up and Drum Newcastle | EVENT OVER

The fabulous team at UnitT are hosting a litter pick Newcastle beach followed by and interactive drumming circle with Community Tribal Drummers. This promises to be a fun event and is open to everyone. More details to follow.

Carnfunnock Country Park | EVENT OVER

Join the Larne Eco Rangers for a litterpick and family fun day at Carnfunnock Park. Lots of activities including live music, good and fun games for the children. Chat with the Eco Rangers to find out how to get involved in their work around the Larne and Carrick areas.

Sunday 26th September

Loughshore Park Jordanstown | EVENT OVER

Litterpick of Loughshore Beach followed by family activities, pizza, ice cream and teas/coffees.

In partnership with the County Antrim Countryside Custodians, the County Antrim litterpicking and environmental group. Join the group for a litter pick of the beach and enjoy a celebratory event with refreshments and fun activities. A great opportunity to meet members of the Custodians and find out how to sign-up. Everyone welcome.

Your story is important

Throughout September we would like to hear from you - if you have a story that connects you to the outdoors, the sea, the coast or inland waterways, if you have advice or a testimonial, please contact us.

Mental Health can be a sensitive issue, and while it is important to speak about, we know that stories can be personal. If you would still like to share your story with us and our followers but remain anonymous, please let us know.

Thanks to Rolling Can Media for the fabulous promotional video