A new community garden has been unveiled at Abbeyfield & Wesley Housing Association’s headquarters and sheltered scheme in Carrickfergus.
BBC Radio Ulster Gardener’s Corner presenter, David Maxwell, officially opened Wesley Court Community Garden, as part of Abbeyfield’s ‘Breath of Fresh Air’ programme.
Geraldine Gilpin, chief executive, Abbeyfield & Wesley Housing Association, explained: “Research has proved that being outdoors has positive effects on health and wellbeing. There had been a large expanse of grass at the front of Rocklands House at the Wesley Court sheltered scheme which provided an attractive area of greenery, but which was not actually used. The management board was keen to transform the lawn into a community garden.”
Project funding was generated from a legacy, grants from The Gills Trust and Mid & East Antrim Borough Council and fundraising.
Garden designer Barbara Kelso was commissioned to design a versatile outdoor space.
Barbara said: “The brief was to create a multi-purpose community garden with various zones that could accommodate people undertaking different tasks or activities at the same time. As Rocklands House is a Grade 2 listed building, the garden had to be in keeping with it.
“The final design has created interesting vistas at every turn, as paths wind around flowers and vegetables growing in raised beds - all leading to seating and picnic tables. The planting is designed to provide interest throughout the year. For the more energetic there is low impact gym equipment which provides an opportunity to keep fit.”
A greenhouse in the community garden was recently renovated with assistance from the Conservation Volunteers and a team from McDonalds.
Lily Gault, who has been a resident at Wesley Court since the scheme opened 22 years ago, said: “We’re really going to enjoy the garden, throughout the seasons.”