Belfast Telegraph

Friendships bloom across the interface

By Natalie Irvine

Residents from five interface communities recently got together to help plant over 100 hanging baskets.

Last Thursday May 27, Botanic Gardens was the host venue for communities from the Lower Ravenhill Road, Lower Castlereagh Road, Short Strand, Lower Newtownards Road, and Lower Woodstock Road areas to create colourful displays for their neighbourhoods.

The event was organised by Eileen Mellon from the Housing Executive’s community cohesion unit who said: “The Housing Executive has been working together with community representatives to deliver new and exciting programmes aimed at building and developing positive relations at a local level, whilst securing shared city space and this initiative certainly did that.

“It was a great success and has gone a long way in helping build positive relations between the communities.”

Alan Jones of Belfast City Council gave the group some tips on how to plant and maintain a hanging basket, after which they all got down to some serious planting.

The Ravenlink Residents’ Group were involved in the initiative. Doreen Little, a member said: “As a group we were delighted to participate in the event, particularly as we got to work with people from other communities and the added bonus is that we will all have a very colourful reminder of our day.

“Also this was a bit of a first for me as I have never been in Botanic Gardens before but I will certainly be back.”

The finished hanging baskets will be displayed along major arterial routes in those areas involved in the project during the summer.

The day was part of the local area network programme with the Housing Executive and Belfast City Council and forms part of the PEACE III funding programme for Northern Ireland.

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