Belfast Telegraph

Green-fingered pupils are sowing seeds of friendship

Pupils from Botanic, Saint Malachy’s and Scoil an Droichid primary schools in south Belfast have taken part |in a community-led environmental project, facilitated by the Housing Executive, which has seen friendships blossom between communities and generations.

The children planted herbs and flowers in tubs at Chapel Fields Fold, Elm Court and Lagan Fold for residents to enjoy.

It is hoped that the plants |will not only add a little colour |but will become a food and home |base for insects like butterflies and bees.

The project was carried out as part of the Inner South Local Area Network Programme, which focuses on the Donegall Pass, lower Ormeau and Markets areas of south Belfast.

This programme is part of the European Regional Development Fund’s PEACE III Programme 2007-2013 and Belfast City Council’s Good Relations Partnership administers the funding available to Belfast.

Eileen Mellon from the Housing Executive’s Community Cohesion Unit was involved in developing the project.

She said: “The Housing Executive has been working together with |representatives from the Donegall Pass Community Forum, Lower Ormeau Residents’ Action Group and the Markets Development Association to deliver new and exciting |programmes aimed at building and developing positive relations at a local level, whilst securing shared city space.

“This innovative project is one of a number planned for south Belfast and has not only given the children |an interest in nature through actual ‘hands on’ activity but has |also seen friendships blossom between the children themselves and residents in the sheltered complexes |involved.”

The schools involved had nothing but praise for the project and speaking on their behalf, Heather Harte from Botanic Primary School added: “This was a brilliant project and the children thoroughly enjoyed it, both in terms of learning how the flowers and herbs actually grow as well as the friendships that have been formed with children from other schools and the older residents living in south Belfast.

“We hope that this is the first of many such projects.”

Belfast Telegraph

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