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Hours of pancake-flipping boosts sheltered housing garden project

Two residents at Elmgrove Manor in east Belfast are transforming their garden to provide a lockdown retreat for their neighbours.

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Linda Mulholland (left) and Sandra McGuicken (Liam McBurney/PA)

Linda Mulholland (left) and Sandra McGuicken (Liam McBurney/PA)

Linda Mulholland (left) and Sandra McGuicken (Liam McBurney/PA)

Two women have raised hundreds of pounds for a sheltered housing scheme’s new lockdown garden by flipping pancakes.

Linda Mulholland and Sandra McGicken started cooking early on Shrove Tuesday to help provide an outdoor retreat for their neighbours at Elmgrove Manor in east Belfast.

With residents living in self-contained flats and the common room closed due to social distancing, the friends – who share a support bubble – have been working on the garden to create another space to escape to.

Ms Mulholland told the PA news agency: “Whenever this lockdown came, we couldn’t get out and the garden was a mess so we went out and did some bits and pieces to it.

“We got a mural put on the fence and the tenants could come down and have a wander around – something nice and bright.

“We got a few tables and chairs made. It’s our sanctuary.”

The garden is our saviourLinda Mulholland, Elmgrove Manor

Ms McGicken said working in the garden has also been a welcome distraction throughout the pandemic.

“Working at it is good, gives us something to work at because otherwise you’d be sitting in your flat all day,” she said.

Ms Mulholland added: “The garden is our saviour, and we even have a wee squirrel in it too.”

They said the work to the garden has cost money so they decided to raise some more funds to develop it further.

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Linda Mulholland (left) and Sandra McGuicken in the garden at Elmgrove Manor Sheltered Housing Scheme, Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)

Linda Mulholland (left) and Sandra McGuicken in the garden at Elmgrove Manor Sheltered Housing Scheme, Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)

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Linda Mulholland (left) and Sandra McGuicken in the garden at Elmgrove Manor Sheltered Housing Scheme, Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)

By lunchtime the pair had made more than 200 pancakes, which were distributed around the flats with safety precautions in place.

“We always do fundraisers for charity so this time we thought it is our turn in the garden,” said Ms Mulholland.

“We’ve been at it from 8am and we have made over £300.

“They weren’t just giving us money for the pancakes but some extra too – people have been really good.

“It’ll get us a lot of flowers and a lot of soil for the garden.

“It’s going to be nice and bright and beautiful for everyone to sit in – as long as we get the weather.”

The residents also made hundreds of face coverings for key workers using material from their craft club during the first lockdown.

A few miles away in Belfast city centre, the Grand Central Hotel put on a pancake feast for key workers.

Healthcare staff and taxi drivers were among those who stopped to enjoy a pre-Lenten treat on their way in to work.

PA


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