£20k boost transforms former bonfire site in Castlemara

Daryl Gilmore, Ruby Wilson, Courtney Gilmore and Darcey Smith at the opening of the new growing space in Castlemara with community representatives Susanne Campbell and Lyndsay Graham, the Housing Executive's Ronnie McCreanor, Colin Baker and Chris Davis and landscape architect, Barry Craig.  INCT 12-725-CON
Daryl Gilmore, Ruby Wilson, Courtney Gilmore and Darcey Smith at the opening of the new growing space in Castlemara with community representatives Susanne Campbell and Lyndsay Graham, the Housing Executive's Ronnie McCreanor, Colin Baker and Chris Davis and landscape architect, Barry Craig. INCT 12-725-CON
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  • Growing space intended for use by ‘entire community’
  • Development made possible by £20k funding from Housing Executive
  • Scheme follows successful hub and mural projects

A former bonfire site in the centre of Carrick’s Castlemara estate has been transformed into a community growing space.

The Housing Executive has invested almost £20,000 to create the area after being approached by Castlemara Community Association.

The Housing Executive and the Landscape Centre have done a brilliant job here

Susanne Campbell

The site has ground-level growing plots for both the young and able bodied with raised growing spaces for the disabled or elderly residents with mobility issues.

A selection of herbs, fruit bushes and trees have been planted and the area also has a picnic table and seats so residents can enjoy the long summer days.

The growing space will be available for all the community to use, said Castlemara Community Association chairperson, Susanne Campbell.

“We are planning to grow vegetables, including onions, carrots, runner beans and strawberries, which the community can use,” Susanne added.

“The community will look after the garden and benefit from the produce we grow. It will also be a good place for older people to socialise, somewhere they can potter about during the day and tend to the vegetables.

“We are delighted with the work. The Housing Executive and the Landscape Centre have done a brilliant job here.”

Ronnie McCreanor, Housing Executive grounds manager, said:“We are delighted to have provided this fantastic asset for the community to have on its doorstep.

“It will offer an opportunity for people to get involved with growing food and connecting with their community.”

The growing space is the latest in a series of projects led by the Community Association.

Earlier this year, the group converted a former military-owned portable building into a new community facility.

Services at the new ‘hub’ will include mother and toddler sessions, a youth club, and training courses.

It will mean residents will no longer have to travel out of the estate for key community activities.

The unit was secured through a partnership of the Housing Executive’s Building Relationships in Communities (bric) project, Carrickfergus Borough Council and the Ministry of Defence’s Reserve Forces and Cadets Association Northern Ireland (RFCA NI).

Meanwhile, younger residents of the estate gave their input to a community mural unveiled in the area last September.

Reading ‘Welcome to Castlemara’, the signpost features several local motifs such as the castle and the seafront.