Disused area of popular park transformed thanks to inspirational green-fingered volunteers

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A community garden has been officially opened at The People’s Park, Ballymena, following several weeks of hard work by a group of inspirational volunteers.

Disused area of popular park transformed thanks to inspirational green-fingered volunteers.

Members of The Base group have been working alongside Council’s Parks and Open Spaces team since April to transform an unused corner of park into The Base Garden.

The Base is a day opportunity programme funded by the Northern Health and Social Care Trust and provides a day service for adults with learning disabilities.

Speaking at the official opening of the garden, Councillor Audrey Wales MBE, said: “I am delighted to see the transformation this green space has undergone in just four short months.

“This project was part of our Mid and East Antrim In Bloom campaign, which encourages everyone who lives in the borough to think about their local environment and how flowers, plants and gardens can enhance it for people and wildlife.

“Council is committed to providing spaces for Grow Your Own initiatives, which as well as our large allotment service, can also include community gardens such as this.

“The Base have worked closely with Council staff to create the garden by building raised beds and nest boxes, fencing and signage, planting a small orchard, and growing their own fruit and vegetables.

“Council has also donated a number of pieces from the Garden Show Ireland Show Garden to The Base and is delighted to see them repurposed and on display, for park users to enjoy.

“The RHS Britain in Bloom judges will be arriving in Ballymena on Friday 10 August and I know they will be visiting The Base Garden as part of their tour. I’m sure they will be thoroughly impressed.

“I know The Base will continue to enjoy and make use of this garden, and look after this valuable asset, so it can be enjoyed for many years to come. Well done to everyone involved.”

David McKay, Base Co-Ordinator, said: “The members are thrilled with how the garden has turned out and have loved working on the project from building the raised beds to learning about growing plants from seed.

“I would like to thank Mid and East Antrim Borough Council staff, especially the Parks and Open Spaces team, as without them this would just not have been possible.

“We have also received great support from The Conservation Volunteers and Groundwork NI, and a number of local businesses, including Martin and Hamilton and Chipmongers NI, who supplied treats today for everyone.

“We were also pleased members from other local Base groups were able to join us at the opening today to see what is possible for them to achieve themselves. We will be outside enjoying the garden, and the harvest it will provide, for the rest of the summer and for many years to come.”

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