Bells Lane Allotments in Derriaghy are now officially reopened having completed a £290k refurbishment.
The project was part-funded by Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, the Public Health Agency (PHA) and under Priority 6 (LEADER) of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and the European Union.
As well as featuring nearly 70 plots, visitors to the attractive allotment hub can now enjoy a newly developed meeting space including a covered area with benches, additional parking bays and toilets with disabled and baby changing facilities. The hub will also feature kitchen facilities, a garden shed, poly tunnel and raised beds to accommodate a calendar of demonstrations and activities for schools and community groups in the Lisburn Castlereagh area to engage in. These will be co-ordinated throughout the year to ensure the area is accessible to the whole community.
Bells Lane Allotment Hub will also benefit from improvements that have been made to the main boundary fence and security arrangements.
Alderman James Tinsley, Chairman of the council’s Leisure and Community Development Committee, said: “We’re delighted to be opening this newly developed allotment hub at Bells Lane to address the quality of life, health and wellbeing and sustainability of our area. We’re encouraging local groups and individuals to use this new facility to learn about vegetable growing, healthy eating, and biodiversity.”
Alderman Alan Ewart, Chairman of the council’s Development Committee and Chairman of Lagan Rural Partnership’s Local Action Group, said: “This allotment hub is as much about growing community as it is about growing food and flowers. By investing in this site, we’re aiming to improve the health and wellbeing of our communities by boosting physical activity and providing access to nutritious food. It’s also an opportunity to build community capacity and social cohesion by providing friendship and promoting a sense of community ownership.”
David Tumilty, Health & Social Wellbeing Improvement Manager at the PHA said: “We are delighted to support this innovative approach to community engagement. There is considerable evidence on the benefits of ‘grow your own’ initiatives in tackling obesity, as well as a range of other issues. In addition to the positive effect that gardening has shown to have on health and wellbeing, it can also help address community and social issues, biodiversity and green space, employment and skills development as well as food security and sustainability. The initiative will also support people to be more physically active, which is good for both body and mind. It can help control weight, protect against heart disease, some cancers, type two diabetes and support good mental health.”
The project supports the Making Life Better public health framework by enabling people to make healthier choices.