Ballymacash Community Allotments help grow community spirit

The sun is shining now on Ballymacash Community Allotments after the removal of large trees that had kept the allotments in shade.

The allotments are part of the Ballymacash Community Village, which has developed from the Ballymacash Sports Academy.

Ryan Brown, one of the directors at the Ballymacash Sports Academy, said: “Here at the Academy, we are more than a football ground, we are fast becoming a Community Village and the allotments are an important element in that village. The Ballymacash Community Allotments are a great success, thanks to the vision of our Academy Manager, Neil Woolsey, and funding from Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council.

"The allotments have provided a space for people to come together to grow vegetables and flowers in a tranquil environment.

Ryan Brown, Director at Ballymacash, Ciaran Stitt Housing Executive, Malachy Brennan, Housing Executive, Alderman Amanda Grehan and young people from Live Life Well-Being.

"This has provided my wife Lesley and myself, a veteran, with an opportunity to have a place where we can spend time together doing something that we enjoy.

"The allotments are used by individuals as well as local groups, like the Live Life Well-Being Centre, who use the space to grow vegetables as part of their social enterprise. They deliver their produce to the Lisburn Food Bank, local community groups and also homeless centres.

" Ballymacash community craft group also use the allotments, and Joy Carey, who runs the group, often comments on how beneficial it is for her groups' health and well-being to be out in the fresh air growing their own vegetables and flowers.

"The allotments are very rewarding when we see the fruits of our labour come to growth from planting seeds to actually having the produce on the dinner table and they are quite tasty I might add.

Some of the fresh produce from the Ballymacash Allotments
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“I would like to thank Alderman Amanda Grehan for her continued support of both Ballymacash Sports Academy and Ballymacash Rangers FC in particular for her engagement with the Housing Executive grounds maintenance manager Malachy Brennan. His team have done a fantastic job topping the large trees around the allotments as they were reducing the amount of sunlight on the allotments and inhibiting the growth of our produce.”Alderman Amanda Grehan added: “What started as a football club has now developed into an important Community Village through the development of additional services, such as the craft group and now the allotments.”