Holylands Community Garden

Tending to good relations

South Belfast News 14th of February 2011

By Scott Jamison

Locals are being invited to become involved in the creation of a community garden in a troubled South Belfast area.

The Holyland Community Garden in University Avenue is run by the nearby City Church and is designed to allow residents of the neighbourhood, which has suffered from high levels of anti-social behaviour in recent years, to acquire ownership of the community.

Development worker at City Church Nigel Jennings, who is in charge of the garden, said he hoped it would bring all local residents together.

“We are doing a few projects here to help all members of the community volunteer and the community garden is one of those initiatives. The people who help create it will own it, and grow the plants and vegetables.

“It’s a bit of a different idea to foster community spirit, so hopefully it will become a place for folks to meet and become established in the Holyland.”

Nigel said the garden was well needed in the area.

“Obviously we have a high ratio of students, migrants and other transient populations here, so this will get them all in the same place and working towards a goal.

“Out of anywhere in Belfast, this is the area that probably needs help to improve relationships the most and we hope this will improve the situation.”

“With spring coming, we are building everything back up and looking for as many people as possible to get involved.”

The idea of the garden was originally mooted in late 2010, however due to the freezing conditions experienced this winter, Nigel said it was only now taking off.

“We set it up in September but the winter slowed everything down. With spring coming, we are building everything back up and looking for as many people as possible to get involved.

“There’s been quite a good response so far, with about nine or ten people signed up, but we are always looking more. Hopefully if we get a lot of people coming along, it will grow and become a community hub.

“The City Church lets out its rooms to various groups throughout the week and this will hopefully become the same in terms of getting a lot of different people together.”

See http://citychurch.wikispaces.com/, or contact Nigel Jennings at City Church for more details.

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