Lord mayor launches belfast’s first community garden in a city park, beside peace wall!
Friday 2 July sees the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Pat Convery, launch a new Organic Community Garden in the Waterworks Parks, North Belfast.
Creativity, community engagement, and bags of enthusiasm have seen 20 participants transform an unused corner of contested space of the Waterworks into a vibrant, productive, shared community garden.
Primarily funded under the Belfast PEACE III Plan with support from Ulster Garden Villages and Belfast City Council, the project tackles sectarianism and racism through the development of a community garden in an area which has been a dividing line between communities.
Councillor Convery, speaking at the launch said: “This beautiful community garden shows how PEACE III funds can enable people from different communities to work together to transform their neighbourhoods -all this while learning to grow your own food and getting active
Independent evaluations have shown community gardens to be a very effective way of building communities, sharing skills, transforming contested spaces and sharing space, particularly in traditionally divided communities.
Promoting Good Relations is one of our key priorities and we have developed a Peace Plan for the city taking full advantage of the opportunities presented by the PEACE lll Programme and the support of the European Regional Development Fun. “
Commenting at the launch Siobhan Craig Grow Coordinator said “Community Gardens don’t just grow fruit and veg – they grow Communities. Many people who were never involved in any community group become very involved through working on community gardens”.
The effects of community food growing on the individual are also well documented. One participant says “before becoming involved I felt very isolated, I didn’t know anything about gardening – now I have met new friends, feel my confidence growing and have actually started a gardening club in our school – I never thought that would happen – Its just great”
Speaking on behalf of Ulster Garden Villages, Councillor Billy Webb (Newtownabbey Borough Council) said “Ulster Garden Villages is delighted to offer early support for this project, which has encouraged others to come on board to bring this very worthwhile project to fruition. “
July 20, 2010