State-of-the-art eco-building opens at Colin

Annie Armstrong and Matthew McKinley, CNP;  Simon Murphy, Groundwork NI and Collette Fitzgerald, European Commission Office, at the opening of the Healthy Living Centre at Colin Allotments.
Annie Armstrong and Matthew McKinley, CNP; Simon Murphy, Groundwork NI and Collette Fitzgerald, European Commission Office, at the opening of the Healthy Living Centre at Colin Allotments.

A unique, state-of-the-art eco building, fashioned locally from shipping containers, is expected to welcome visitors from across the island of Ireland and beyond.

Newly opened at Dunmurry’s Colin Allotment site, the Healthy Living Centre has been developed by Colin Neighbourhood Partnership and Groundwork NI.

The social enterprise project based there is expected to be used by community groups, businesses and schools from areas far and wide.

The first commercial building of its kind to be constructed from repurposed industrial shipping containers, the centre has at its heart a demonstration kitchen, supported by a half acre ‘Edible Landscape’ or working kitchen garden.

It also uses the latest eco technology and features a biomass boiler to provide heating and solar panels to generate electricity.

Colin Neighbourhood Partnership’s Annie Armstrong said: “We are delighted to have the new Health Living Centre officially opened by Colette Fitzgerald from the European Commission Office in Northern Ireland.

“The building is a wonderful contemporary structure from which we will run our social enterprise business.

“This will see horticultural courses, cookery classes and educational workshops and more taking place.

“This new phase of the Colin Allotment project will bring about positive change for those in the Colin community and further afield.”

Simon Murphy, Interim Chief Executive at Groundwork NI added: “Building on the highly successful Colin Community Allotments project that we have developed together, we look forward to supporting the Colin Neighbourhood Partnership develop their social enterprise business at the Healthy Living Centre, based around the ethos of ‘Grow, Cook, Eat’ utilising this ‘edible landscape’ and celebrating ‘edible education’ for all.”

Warren Bell of the Alpha Programme’s Steering Group said it was great to see a project so close to the Mullaghglass landfill site benefit from £50,000 funding available through the Alpha Programme.

“ It is inspiring,” he said, “to see what can be achieved on derelict and waste ground, as this site has been completely transformed into this incredible community garden amenity.

The building is one of six projects undertaken through Groundwork NI’s Sharing Our Space Programme with funding through the EU’s PEACE III Programme under Priority 2: Contributing to a shared Society, Theme 1: Contributing to a shared public space.

For more information on the Healthy Living Centre at the Colin Allotments contact Matthew McKinley at Colin Neighbourhood Partnership on 028 9062 3813 or email matthew@newcolin.com.