Belfast Telegraph

Groups transform barren areas of Northern Ireland with wild flower project

By Linda Stewart

An outdoor gym, a bluebell walk and a network of wildlife corridors criss-crossing a city – these are some of the ground-breaking wild flower projects that have just been given the green light.

Ten colourful Northern Ireland projects have just won funding to transform urban and rural landscapes as part of the £10.5m Grow Wild programme, aimed at inspiring people to sow, grow and support UK native wild flowers.

The Grow Wild programme, supported by the Big Lottery Fund and led by Kew Gardens, aims to inspire three million people to sow wild seeds and share their results through social media.

One neglected corner in west Belfast will be transformed into a social hub, with youths designing the new space at the corner of St Katherine's and Rodney Parade in conjunction with the West Belfast Partnership Board.

Meanwhile, Dundrum Cricket Club plans to improve its surroundings by revamping a barren space in front of the pavilion with wild flowers.

Ballycraigy PS pupils in Antrim will transform their grounds and two nearby Housing Executive plots into a wild flower haven with help from Muckamore Parish Development Association.

And a bluebell walk is to be created at Benburb Priory by Benburb District Community Association and a group of young people with leaning disabilities guided by Alliance Youth Works. The group plans to regenerate an area of woodland in the village, planting trees, sowing native wild flowers and install panels that tell the story of the local area.

An ambitious project by Armagh City Council will create a network of wildlife corridors through the Streetscape community Greenup, brightening up crossroads in Hamiltonsbawn and the Corcreevy Road in Richhill.

Conservation Volunteers will revamp a disused walled garden at Belle Isle Estate, near Enniskillen, and Phoenix Integrated Primary School will transform a dull space in its school grounds.

Big Lottery Fund NI director Joanne McDowell said: "Grow Wild's campaign is encouraging people to get sowing, to make a real difference to wild flowers and to the places where they live."

Analysis

In the last month alone, 4,300 groups have already signed up to receive special Grow Wild seed kits. Eighty projects learned they had been awarded funding to help them transform unloved spaces with wild flowers – 10 of them in Northern Ireland. Alongside the wild flowers, the groups will incorporate many elements to bring life and colour to dull corners.

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