The North Belfast Communities in Transition (CIT) areas are New Lodge and Ardoyne. One part of this is an Urban Regeneration capacity project which is working with ten community and resident organisations who have identified problematic and underused sites.

With these groups and stakeholders we are co-designing potential solutions for these spaces. The emerging idea is to gradually link the spaces as a ‘grid’ or ‘net’ of sites under common management to form a social enterprise Plant Nursery.

The underused spaces have a mix of ownerships and tenures, some cannot be easily changed or built on due to underground or planning constraints. The Plant Nursery idea would mainly grow in containers and larger trees and plants with contained root balls. This means the sites can move around and sell on to various agencies.

A head gardener would lead a team of trainees to make productive use of the spaces for plant growing. The team would circulate through the sites on a bi-weekly rota for maintenance and work, spaces would be open for community programmed use at these times. Part of the space could be utilised for regular community drop in meetings and these could be linked to gardening clubs or open times for training and as garden resource for residents. This resource would stimulate wider growing and micro projects within residential areas, front gardens and small communal areas. The aim would be to use the Plant Nursery project as a vehicle to provide resource to residents, plant starter packs, pots and practical resources to allow residents to more actively use their own spaces.

The urban project is continuing a series of learning events and will publish a draft plan of this idea in the coming months. We aim to publish and roll this out later in the year.

Anyone interested to learn more on this project can contact;
Mark Hackett mark.hacket@ashtoncentre.com
Community Development
Ashton

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