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Mount Vernon launches its perfect poly tunnel

A NORTH Belfast poly tunnel has been launched with over 50 people from the local community as well as funders and statutory agencies turning out for the event.

The 'Poly Tunnel Perfect' site in Mount Vernon was launched, aptly, by the Belfast in Bloom officer, Philip Doherty, with the area having won many awards from Belfast in Bloom over the past few years.

Mr Doherty cut the ribbon to officially open the site with lead volunteer Carol Watson.

The project, which was funded -pound;23,152 from the Alpha Programme, aims to met the needs outlined by the local people. The site where the poly tunnel was already situated has been transformed from an unlevel, weed ridden area with no access to running water to a welcoming learning environment accessible to all, with new outdoor planting beds, paving and a water tap. Smile Sure Start, Fortwilliam Youth Club and many individual residents have taken on the challenge of looking after a raised bed where they will grow their own fruit and vegetables.

Everyone who attended was very impressed with how the site had been transformed and wanted to know how they could get involved. Most left the poly tunnel with their hands full of plants they had purchased. Over -pound;400 was raised from plant sales over the weekend June 1-3 which will go directly back into community environment projects within Mount Vernon.

Also in Mount Vernon, the area's Community Spirit and Cohesion group, chaired by David Black, showed true community spirit through their fundraising efforts and delivery of their celebration for the Diamond Jubilee held on Monday, June 4.

The community joined together, volunteering, making donations and buying raffle tickets to fund the event. Mount Vernon Community Development Forum gave a contribution towards the event as did Fortwilliam Youth Club and Belfast City Council awarded -pound;245 through the Community Chest fund.

The celebration took the form of a street party for all ages and was attended by over 280 people including Social Development Minister and North Belfast MLA, Nelson McCausland.

Children enjoyed the inflatable's and wide variety of activity supplied by Umbrella events while the adults enjoyed a hot buffet and music. Local resident and volunteer Carol Watson invited the senior citizens from the area into her home for tea, cakes and sandwiches which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Feedback from the event has been overwhelmingly positive by all who attended and thanks are given to Community Spirit and Cohesion group as well as all the volunteers who helped out on the day.