‘Grow your own’ is the advice being given to residents on Coleraine’s Ballysally estate after the creation of a community fruit and veg garden.
The Growing Project, which is being funded by the Housing Executive’s Community Grants scheme to the tune of £4350/
It will take a two pronged approach of training staff and volunteers of the estate’s Healthy Eating Café as well as equipping residents, young and old, with the skills needed to grow their own produce.
Residents of Ballysally will be given access to a community space at the back of the café where they can grow vegetables and seasonal flowers.
They will also be taught how to create planters and instructed in floristry and the care and maintenance of greenery and plant life.
Building Ballysally Together plans to hold weekly craft classes to teach users how to make ceramics and produce planters, which will then be potted up with plants they have cultivated on the allotment as part of a social economy project.
The planters will be distributed to houses in the area and plans are also in the pipeline to produce hanging baskets to sell to local people.
Adrian Eakin is Treasurer of the community group and he said the estate will benefit from the delivery of a project which will reimage the area, equip local people with new skills whilst developing a spirit of enterprise.
Adrian said: “Local people will benefit from community based activities, improved health and well-being, an improvement in capacity within the communities and an improvement in the physical appearance of the areas.
“It will also allow them to get more involved in volunteering and active citizenship. We can educate young people on the estate in food production and create an ethos of doing it for yourself.
“The funding from the Housing Executive will help us provide cheap locally produced bedding plants and seasonal fruit and vegetables in an urban environment,” he added.
Mark Alexander, the Area Manager for Causeway, told the Coleraine Times is thrilled about the project: “We were delighted to fund the community growing plot for residents in Ballysally.
“Social economy projects are a vital aspect of creating and sustaining communities.
“We would hope that such projects will serve to inspire others groups and estates within the Causeway area,” added the Area Manager.