Groups encouraged to get involved in ‘Community Makeover Competition’

Jenni Barkley, Communications and Corporate Responsibility Manager, Belfast Harbour, and Neville Walker, Conservation Projects Development Officer, The Conservation Volunteers.
Jenni Barkley, Communications and Corporate Responsibility Manager, Belfast Harbour, and Neville Walker, Conservation Projects Development Officer, The Conservation Volunteers.

Community groups, schools and playgroups in Derry are being given the opportunity to transform their green

spaces thanks to a “bloomin’ marvellous” garden makeover competition.

Organised by Belfast Harbour and The Conservation Volunteers, four groups from across Northern Ireland will receive a makeover worth £3,000 each to help turn underused areas into vibrant community spaces.

Interested groups are being asked to provide a one-minute video clip to describe their space and explain why reclaiming it would benefit their community.

Helen Tomb, Operations Leader with The Conservation Volunteers, said: “There is no shortage of spaces which, with some tender love and landscaping, could be transformed into useful community spaces.

“With Belfast Harbour’s support last year we created six new school gardens for young people who have little or no outdoor space at home. They now have a greenspace to look after and play in, and are getting involved in new activities such as growing vegetables.”

Jenni Barkley, Belfast Harbour’s Communications and Corporate Responsibility Manager, said: “This is a great opportunity for community groups to finally make-use of that untended green space which might currently be nothing more than an eyesore. Gardening and outdoor activities – particularly in urban areas – have a proven track record in helping create healthier, happier communities so we’re really encouraging groups to come forward with entries.”

One of the groups to benefit last year was Lisnasharragh Alternative Education Programme in Belfast. Peter Forbes from the group added: “The response of the children and staff to our new garden has been phenomenal.  We’re now using the space as a shared outdoor classroom with the neighbouring primary school where the children can grow their own food to take home. We’re very grateful to Belfast Harbour and The Conservation Volunteers for this ‘bloomin’ marvellous’ transformation and would recommend it to other groups.”

This is the second year of the competition which is part of Belfast Harbour’s wider initiative to improve the environment. The Harbour has already set aside 195 acres to support nature conservation and runs a scheme to support bio-diversity projects by its tenants.

Groups interested in the garden makeover competition should upload their entry to their social media page using #harbourinbloom or email it to k.andrew@belfast-harbour.co.uk

The best entries will be selected by Belfast Harbour and The Conservation Volunteers, and announced in January. The winning spaces will be transformed next year by The Conservation Volunteers.