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Council to consider paying £20,000 towards hosting heritage awards in Armagh

Wendy Austin and Joe Mahon proposed hosts for October ceremony

Armagh city centre Market Street

ABC Council is set to spend up to £20,000 to host this year’s ‘Heritage Angel Awards’.

The event, which was approved at Tuesday night’s economic development and regeneration committee, will be held at the end of October.

Ulster Architectural Heritage has been hosting the Heritage Angel Awards in Northern Ireland since 2017, with the support of the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and the respective local authorities which hosted the awards.

It does so in partnership with the Historic Environment Division, Heritage Lottery Fund, the Construction Industry Training Board, the Centre for Archaeological Fieldwork and the Heritage Trust Network.

This initial phase of the awards was to cover a three-year period and 2019 will see its completion.

In 2017, the awards were held in the Grand Opera House in Belfast, and in 2018 in the Guildhall in Derry/Londonderry.

The awards profile groups, individuals and communities across Northern Ireland for their achievements in conserving, protecting, recording and celebrating their historic environment.

UAH has now approached Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council with a proposal to host the 2019 Heritage Angel Awards in Armagh city centre on October 29.

A report to committee reveals: “This proposal offers council the opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to the heritage sector and to showcase the important heritage led regeneration work across the borough whilst promoting the borough to a UK audience.

“UAH have proposed a programme which will celebrate the unique heritage of the borough through a media and PR strategy and through an initiative entitled ‘Heritage in Song’, which affords local artists the opportunity to produce quality bespoke pieces of music related to the heritage of the area.

“Additionally, the awards will bring up to 400 people to Armagh for the awards night and associated heritage activities will be held during the days leading up to and after the awards to showcase the city and its heritage to the delegates. It is anticipated that up to 100 overnight stays will result from hosting the awards in Armagh.”

The awards will be launched simultaneously with the counterpart awards in England, Scotland and Wales in April 2019 and a call for applications will remain open until June 1.

The proposed hosts of the awards are Wendy Austin and Joe Mahon.

The report adds: “If accepted, a representative from council will be invited to join the steering committee for the awards, enabling officers to shape the content of the ceremony and the complementary activities to gain maximum benefit for the area.”

UAH is seeking a sponsorship contribution of up to £20,000 to secure the hosting of the awards in 2019 and the recommendation was that the committee approve the expenditure, which it did. The decision will now go to full council at the end of the month to be ratified.

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