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Release 2nd July 2021
A cross community project is supporting trainees to transform an area of run down and neglected alleyways in north Belfast. The Lower Oldpark Community Association (LOCA) Alleyway Project is bringing together young people from Impact Training on the Shankill Road and Springvale Training on the Springfield Road to build raised beds and window boxes, as well as relations, as part of the planting and improvement works.
Supported by Radius Housing, the project saw the trainees construct the beds, before coming together with representatives from LOCA and local residents, to install them in the alleyway behind the homes on Avoca Street. A planting day was held with local residents and a further clean-up day is planned before the end of the summer. The community have also put up welcome signs in a number of languages.
This is the first stage of a wider environment and community improvement programme being undertaken by LOCA. Included in future plans is the purchase and re-purposing of a shipping container to create a classroom, which will be located on green space near the Avoca Street alleyway and will be used by local residents, groups and a nursery school.
This programme has been funded through the Executive’s Together Building a United Community Strategy and programme for Government / ‘Housing for All’ Shared Housing programme.
Radius has shared housing developments across Northern Ireland. Inclusive Bridging events in the wider community encourage a range of good relations outcomes which involve Health & Wellbeing and Education & Training.
Speaking at the Clean and Green Day, Fiona McAuley, Community Empowerment Worker with Radius Housing, said “This project has such a wide ranging and positive impact on the community of the Lower Oldpark and beyond. The improvements to the alleyway with the planting project help to brighten it up for residents, making it an important place to relax, walk and socialise. The enthusiasm the residents have for these improvements is clear and many of them are looking forward to using the space once again.
“As well as improving the local area, collaboration between trainees from Impact Training and Springfield Training has made this a genuine cross community good relations project. Too often, young people are seen through the lens of the negative news. Here we have seen the excellent work they have delivered and the commitment they have given to making this a success.”
Janice Beggs, LOCA Centre Manager, added “The goal of the Lower Oldpark Community Association Planter Alley Project is to make this area more welcoming. The result has exceeded our expectations, and it has brought so many people together to be involved in the building, planting and wider clean up of this space. Our ambition is to do even more all inclusive community environment and improvement works to make this the most welcoming, bright and friendly community in Belfast.”