Belfast Telegraph

Ulster Bank and group make Splash on activity garden

by Natalie Irvine

Dreams came true for a peace making organisation in north Belfast, when 60 green-fingered volunteers came knocking on their door — ready and willing to create a new garden space for their cross community children’s projects.

On Wednesday, July 7, the gardens belonging to 174 Trust on Duncairn Avenue, became a hive of activity by an abounding team of volunteers from the Ulster Bank, all armed with pitchforks, spades and drills.

Bill Shaw, who has been director for the 174 Trust for over 12 years, said: “I have never seen nothing like it. The volunteers arrived at 9am and they didn’t finish until 6pm. We could never have anticipated how brilliantly they were going to transform this garden space.

“Our garden and play area was used by everyone, but it was looking tired and some areas were becoming a hazard. The portable football posts we used for children’s games, were always getting damaged from moving them so much.

“The Ulster Bank were looking for a community project for their staff to volunteer in and they heard about our after-school’s projects for young people and those with special needs, from an agency called Playboard, who recommended us to them.

“Some staff from the Human Resources department visited us to see if we met their criteria — which we did. It happened very quickly from there.”

Within weeks, the Ulster Bank commissioned a company called Splash who visited 174 Trust on a separate occasion to consult them on what sort of activities the garden and play area was most often used for. They then went away to make their designs —all paid for by the Ulster Bank.”

Bill continues: “Splash came out to us three days before the Ulster Bank volunteers — to lay the foundations and timber. Everyone really worked so hard on this.

“The children and parents are absolutely delighted with the space. There is now a mini football stadium with fixed wooden goal posts, two decking areas, bank seating with board games like snakes and ladders painted on the tables for children to play on.”

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph