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Community allotment scheme plants community spirit in Derrybeg

Published: Wed, 22 Mar 2017
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(From Left to Right) Derrybeg Community Association member Micky McLoughlin, our South Down Area Manager Owen McDonnell, Siobhan Fearon (PCSP), our local Officer Eileen Grant, Jim McMahon and Noel Marron.
Community Allotment 4
We are helping to sow the seeds of community cohesion with the investment into a new allotment in Derrybeg.
Working closely with members of the Derrybeg Community Association, a disused playpark at Third Avenue has been transformed into a community allotment through the Community Grant Fund. Our land has been leased to the community group and work commenced in June last year. The project was completed in early 2017.
Our Community Grant Fund offers residents and community groups the opportunity to carry out projects and encourage volunteering, social enterprise and working with statutory agencies.
In total, £5,000 was allocated by us to secure on-site tuition, help to purchase gardening tools, compost bins and other relevant equipment to not only improve the area but have a positive impact on the environment. It is hoped the community allotment will provide a meaningful leisure activity for residents in its construction and offer the experience of growing, cultivating and harvesting amidst an urban area.
The new Derrybeg Allotment funded by us.
Community Allotment 1
Malachy Rafferty, Chairperson of the Derrybeg Community Association said:
“The aim of the allotment was to create a once derelict site which would attract anti-social behaviour into a beautiful, open community space to improve people’s lives. Consultation was carried out amongst residents to determine the best use of the land, who were unanimously in favour of a community allotment.
“This is a legacy project which will benefit residents both directly and indirectly over a long-term period. A number of residents volunteered in the construction and maintenance of the allotment. We are hoping to also create a children’s wildlife garden, which will obviously benefit the younger generation of Derrybeg. It is hoped that young people in the area will assist with the project, to install civic pride and community spirit across the wide spectrum of the area.
“The Housing Executive is helping to build strong communities who are self-sustainable with the creation of the Community Allotment Scheme. To tackle issues relating to anti-social behaviour, Newry & Mourne PCSP have also invested into this project highlighting the multi-agency approach taken in the creation of the allotment.
“The Derrybeg Community Association has worked extremely hard to rejuvenate the area and we hope the creation of the allotment will encourage participation into this inclusive community project.
Owen McDonnell, our Housing Services Manager added:
“We are committed to fostering vibrant communities and improving homes and neighbourhoods throughout our housing stock and the Derrybeg Community Allotment Scheme is an excellent example of this coming into action.
“The investment into the Derrybeg Community Association Allotment Scheme is also looking at tackling anti-social behaviour as we hope that young people will take pride in their local area and contribute. We worked closely with Newry & Mourne PCSP regarding this project and this partnership approach will have a significant impact on the local community.
“This was an opportunity for residents to learn new skills or update their existing skillset, through horticulture. The Community Allotment Scheme has installed community spirit in the area, which will have an ultimately positive impact on life in the Derrybeg area. “