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Wildflower Alley: Seeds of pride planted in Holylands regeneration scheme

From boozy back streets to blooming flowers - the Wildflower Alley has been one of the Holylands most successful regeneration projects.

The Chicago-inspired initiative has been central in breathing life into an area dogged by crime and anti-social behaviour.

Up to 40 residents from the Holylands, an area renowned for wild parties and street drinking, created the colourful project in a bid to reclaim the neglected alleyway.

Brid Ruddy, the chair woman of the College Park Avenue Residents Association, who has lived in the area for 25 years, claims the development has "reduced isolation".

The 65-year-old said: "It's really helped lift the community spirit. Even the students come in and help by doing some painting.

"It's a practical way of meeting students. Queen's (University) has been very supportive and donated plants. It's transformed this area. This is the most positive thing to emerge from the Holylands, it's the only community-led initiative.

"I've seen this area get worse and worse and it's appalling.

"This year was really bad - we have lifted stuff like bricks and buckets out of skips and used it for the project."

A range of plant boxes and containers with wildflowers and herbs line the alley while fences are painted with multi-coloured designs.

Residents searched through skips and discarded rubbish and used bricks, old benches and buckets to create the country-look.

Belfast Telegraph