Housing Executive funding helps create Community Champions!

Man pictured with seedlings in a greenhouse
Michael Magee, from Ballycastle Garden Centre, getting seedlings organised for ‘growing packs’ to be provided to local residents as part of the Sowing the Seeds of Recovery Project, funded through the Housing Executive’s Covid-19 Response Fund and delivered by Ballycastle Community Development Group.

A local community group in Ballycastle has been ‘sowing the seeds of recovery’, with over 150 green-fingered residents growing vegetables and flowers during COVID19, thanks to support from the Housing Executive.

Ballycastle Community Development Group received £1,500 funding to deliver their project which is already underway. It’s one of 200 groups across local communities who have benefitted from the Housing Executive’s £290,000 Covid-19 Response Fund.

Community champions have been delivering food, groceries and medicines, telephoning to check on neighbours and bringing some happiness to the streets with gardening, exercising and karaoke.

Paul Kerrigan, Chairperson of the Ballycastle Group, said:

“We wanted to build an online community to connect residents in the Ballycastle area.

“Myself and Shauna McFall, of Naturally North Coast and Glens Artisan Market, came up with the idea of growing seeds and fruit at home, with advice and growing tips given online by Becky Cole from Broughgammon Farm.

“Our digital online hub, Ballycastle Connect, was already established, so this was a great way to build on the services available online whilst reaching out to different age groups with a small project.

“We have 150 growing packs ready for distribution, with compost, a fruit or vegetable based plant, flower seeds and details on how to get started.

“Once all the packs are distributed, online webinars will provide tips and advice on how to look after the seeds and watch them grow.

“We hope to share progress pictures online and maybe cook something with the fruit and vegetables.  

“Prizes for the best three should bring out the competitive spirit in people!”

The project will link into the Mayo Drive Community Garden that was due to be completed in March.

“Since the 50th anniversary of our Mayo Drive street event two years, we haven’t stopped building on its success. We secured Peace IV funding to create a community garden on Housing Executive land, which is almost complete.  Until then our project will continue to bring local residents together, whilst maintaining social distancing.”

The COVID19 Community Fund from the Housing Executive was made available by the organisation to help constituted groups and organisations respond to local residents’ needs.

Grants up to £1,500 have been distributed to dozens of community groups to assist local people, some of whom are elderly, vulnerable or shielding for health reasons.

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