Belfast Telegraph

Finlay Park community plotting for the future

By Rebecca Petticrew

Communities in north Belfast are being encouraged to get green and grow together, with two new community gardens in the area.

Finlay Park's community garden is the newest addition to the area, marking its official opening with a celebratory event on Saturday (September 28) in the park.

Children were enthralled by entertainers before burning off some of energy on a bouncy castle, while their parents and other visitors enjoyed a fruit and vegetable bonanza.

Lord Mayor Councillor Mairtin O'Muilleoir officially opened the new green space – which is one of three community gardens launching across the greater Belfast area during September-October.

The gardens form part of a three-year £150m city-wide investment programme aimed at boosting economic prosperity, employment and community assets across the city. "Between now and 2015 we are developing facilities, such as the community gardens, which will transform the city and help to positively change lives," he said.

"The main benefits provided by the gardens include improving health and wellbeing by boosting physical activity and providing access to nutritious food. They also build community capacity and social cohesion by providing friendship and promoting a sense of community ownership," he added.

North Belfast gardeners can also get their hands dirty at Woodvale Park's community garden which opened at the start of August as part of Belfast City Council's multi-million pound refurbishment project of Woodvale Park.

The space not only allows locals to grow their own fruit, vegetables and flowers, it also improves the environment as well as fostering a sense of community between gardeners.

They are open to all ages and are part of the council's Growing Communities Strategy 2012-2022 developed with Belfast Healthy Cities, the Public Health Agency and Belfast Health Development Unit under the Active Belfast project.

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