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Belfast blooms with Biodiversity projects

01 Sep 2021

Press Release 27th August 2021

Radius Housing has collaborated with Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful (KNIB) to produce a unique biodiversity programme, which is helping Belfast bloom this summer. The Growing Wild Diversity Project has been run in with 60 Radius Housing schemes / communities and 16 schools across Northern Ireland.

Growing Wild Diversity has provided local community groups and schools working on a cross community basis with Biodiversity kits along with raised planting beds. The kits contain bird and bat boxes, hedgehog houses and butterfly and bee boxes to provide habitats for local species to thrive. To support the educational aspect of the project, KNIB ran five bespoke workshops specifically for the programme including one on growing for nature and native trees and rewilding.

Among the communities who have benefited from the programme has been Cullingtree Lodge, Falls Road, and Fruithill Fold, Andersonstown Road. At Cullingtree Lodge,  Divis Youth Project worked with Radius residents to install picket fences along the main entrances to encourage wildflowers.  Meanwhile, at Fruithill Fold tenants worked with Upper Anderstown Community Forum to develop their Biodiversity garden,  they have recently held a community gardening day where over 100 local people attended to work on the garden.

This project is supported through the NI Executive Together: Building a United Community Strategy, which reflects the Executive’s commitment to improving community relations and continuing the journey towards a more united and shared society.  The project has brought people from different backgrounds together for training and to develop and deliver small environmental projects. These projects promote inclusion, tackle social isolation and improve people’s physical and mental wellbeing which will also have a positive impact on the wider environment and community.

Speaking about the project, Melanie Rintoul from Radius Housing said “Biodiversity and looking after nature at a local level is becoming increasingly important. As well as creating a positive environmental impact, actively contributing to your local community by growing has an important role in looking after mental and physical wellbeing. We continue to work in partnership with the local Advisory Group and residents to develop the Ravenhill Avenue/Global Crescent Good Relations Plan. The plan seeks to build good relationships and a sustainable community.  Through the Growing Wild Diversity project we wanted to encourage our tenants and community groups to develop good relations by working together to grow plants, and create habitats for the insects and animals that co-exist alongside us which are vital elements of our local ecosystems.

“We are delighted that so many people have committed to the challenge. These projects have been extremely successful over the summer months and will continue long into the future. The relationships developed during the activity will encourage strong cohesive communities and the new skills learnt will allow those involved to use their green fingers at home to further enhance the appearance of local areas. For Radius, projects like this one help tackle social isolation by developing strong community relations.”

Commenting on the Project, Fruithill Fold Scheme Co-Ordinator, Paula Coogan said “Having learnt so many new ways to help the environment has been a really enjoyable education. Here at Fruithill we are now committed to planting our own vegetables, flowers and to make our own compost. We are nurturing nature, and it is pay back time - Nature has nurtured us all our lives and has gone unnoticed, until now. We are grateful to Radius for engaging with Keeping Northern Ireland Beautiful project, as we have learnt many new skills and have had a great time learning.”

The Radius Growing Wild Community Biodiversity Programme  is supported through the NI Executive Together: Building a United Community Strategy, which reflects the Executive’s commitment to improving community relations and continuing the journey towards a more united and shared society.  The Global Crescent/Ravenhill Avenue shared housing development in Belfast, is also supported by the Department for Communities and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.  £5m was invested in the scheme’s development and associated five-year Good Relations Plan

Radius currently has 9 shared housing developments across Northern Ireland.

The Global Crescent/Ravenhill Avenue Good Relations Plan includes ‘Bridging’ events which are delivered to the wider community to encourage a range of good relations outcomes which include Health and Wellbeing and Education and Training.

 

ENDS

 

For more information please contact:

Melanie Rintoul

Senior Communities Officer

Melanie.rintoul@radiushousing.org


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