Environmental funding boost for Heights and Killowen area

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Tending their community garden is set to become a part of everyday life for residents on the Killowen and Heights area of Coleraine, thanks to a £10,000 funding boost from the Housing Executive.

Killowen Community Association was the lead partner in a project of volunteers, members of the local community and voluntary organisations,

which was successful in securing the money after signing up to the Housing Executive’s Shared Communities Programme.

The three-year programme develops areas where people choose to live, regardless of their religion or race in a neighbourhood that is safe and

welcoming to all and threatening to no-one.

As part of that, Killowen Community Association was able to draw down funding to develop the Growing Places project and from there the idea of a

community growing space took life.

Also involved in getting the project off the ground were Supporting Communities NI, Causeway Enterprise Agency, Oaklee Trinity Housing Association which has given the group a five year lease, and Causeway Rural Urban Network.

With the help of The Conservation Volunteers the area has been prepared to allow residents to cultivate fruit and vegetables on the plot. It also includes a fenced area, raised beds, a polytunnel, shed and storage area.

The allotment has been designed to be completely accessible to all ages and abilities.

The group has also taken part in training in horticultural skills and sewing skills workshops, funded by CRUN. Members also participated in good relations workshops, funded by the Housing Executive and CRUN.

Jane Hunter, Secretary of Killowen Community Association, said: “We would like to thank all those organisations who have helped with the project, including Killowen and Churchlands Community Association, Killowen mother and toddlers group and West Bann Development. Thanks to Anna Logan for the inspiration, Rose Smyth and Martin Quinn and the Housing Executive for its support and funding.

“We are encouraging all of the community to join in. We hope that everyone likes the garden and makes use of the green space, whether it’s to potter about or do some growing. We would also like to thank the Church for all of its help and support whilst the work has been ongoing.”

Jennifer Hawthorne, the Housing Executive’s Head of Income Collection and Neighbourhoods, said she was delighted that the community group in

Killowen and the Heights had decided to embark on the Shared Communities programme.

“The launch is testament to the hard work and efforts of the community group here and I look forward to continuing to work with

them on projects that will benefit the whole community and build on the good relations that they have already initiated,” she said.

Officially opening the community growing space was Anna Logan, Business Development Manager at the Causeway Enterprise Agency. Anna said:

“It’s an absolute pleasure to be here to see the fruits of the group’s labour have been realised in this community garden. It is a fantastic

asset for the community to have on its doorstep and offers an opportunity for people to get involved with growing food and connecting with their community.”