Fundraising effort after thieves hit community garden in East Belfast

A fundraising project has been organised for a community alley garden in east Belfast to replace plants and trees that were stolen earlier this month.

Saturday, 29th May 2021, 10:00 pm
Updated Saturday, 29th May 2021, 10:03 pm

Local residents behind Rainbow Alley, created last summer, have set up a Go Fund Me page to raise money to secure their urban garden. The group has set a target of £1,000.

Two weeks ago volunteers were devastated after apple trees and fruit bushes were taken from planters in the rejuvenated alleyways off Reid Street in the Cregagh area.

Caroline Turkington, who organised the fundraiser, said: “Local residents of  Rainbow Alley established an urban apple orchard, provided gardening workshops,  created green spaces for local wildlife, encouraged locals to grow their own fruit and veg, and engaged with a wide and vast cross section of residents.

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“From the old to the young, from the most vulnerable to the isolated, from keen gardeners to those just starting out … everything was going well until Rainbow Alley was robbed.” 

She added: “Residents are now extremely concerned about what this means for the future of Rainbow Alley. Funds are needed promptly to secure and help residents continue with their work. 

“Supporting our fundraiser will secure the urban garden and replace everything that has been stolen and vandalised. Unfortunately securing and locking down planters, trees, tools, equipment and providing security comes with an extra added cost.

“Rainbow Alley’s urban garden has provided much needed therapy to local residents who have struggled with mental health and chronic isolation. Rainbow Alley is not just a garden, it has been a remedy and solution to mental anguish and suffering.

“Something that residents want to continue with.”

Co-founder Joanne said: “During lockdown I started gardening, I had never gardened before in my life. I am bi-polar and sitting outside in a green area is just wonderful. No doctor ever gave me a prescription to say being outdoors and volunteering with your community was going to help your mental health – but it does, it totally does.”