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McCausland awards funding for Rathcoole Community Sensory Garden

Social Development Minister, Nelson McCausland has awarded 28,141 to Newtownabbey Borough Council.
Monday, 22 April 2013

The Neighbourhood Renewal funding will allow the Council to develop a community sensory garden within the Rathcoole housing estate.

Minister McCausland said: “This is good news for the people of Rathcoole. I am pleased to have supported this community space project which aims to provide a place for inclusion, celebration, reflection and renewal; it is an excellent example of statutory and community sector partnership to improve the local environment and image of communities, making them more attractive places to live and work in and also underpins the value of people and place.

“This project supports my Department’s strategic objectives of community, social and physical renewal. These objectives aim to improve the quality of life for people in some of our most deprived neighbourhoods. They help to increase social inclusion, voluntary activity, contribute towards healthier lifestyles and aid community development.

“I hope to visit the garden when the works are complete and take the opportunity to talk first hand with members of the community about the benefits this neighbourhood renewal funding has brought.”

The sensory garden will be based at the back of Inniscoole Day Centre and will be open to members of the public Monday – Friday 9-6pm from late April 2013. The project, which aims to increase the integration of people with disabilities with the wider community and provide opportunity to support school / community intergenerational activities, is highlighted as a priority need within the local Rathcoole Neighbourhood Action Plan. The garden will contain visual and sensory elements and will include seating for meditation. It will also be used as an educational tool for schools and community groups and will have a community gardening group responsible for the seasonal planting of the garden.

Victor Robinson, Mayor of Newtownabbey, welcomed the funding saying: “A sensory garden will provide the community with a shared space in which they can not only enjoy the outdoors but can also boost their mental and physical health. It is a great opportunity for the local community to build upon good relations with their neighbours through meeting at this sensory garden. It is a fantastic addition for the Day Centre and the individuals attending the centre can become involved and no longer feel excluded from the community.”

If you would like to become involved in the gardening group or would like further information on the community sensory garden please contact: Inniscoole Day Centre 028 90 854333 or Sara Barkley, Rathcoole Neighbourhood Renewal Co-ordinator (028) 90 340197.

Notes to editors:

  1. DSD is contributing funding of £28,141 to this project. Newtownabbey Borough Council is contributing £2,395 and the Northern Health and Social Care Trust has agreed to assume responsibility for the ongoing maintenance of the garden.
  2. The Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy “People and Places” which was published in June 2003 sets out governments proposals for closing the gap between the quality of life for people in the most deprived neighbourhoods and the rest of society.

    The Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy has four interlinking strategic objectives:
    -Community Renewal – to develop confident communities that are able and committed to improving the quality of life in the areas;
    -Economic Renewal – to develop economic activity in the most deprived neighbourhoods and connect them to the wider urban economy;
    -Physical Renewal – to help create attractive, safe, and sustainable environments in the most deprived neighbourhoods; and
    -Social Renewal – to improve social conditions for the people who live in the most deprived neighbourhoods through better co-ordinated public services and the creation of safer environments.
  3. Media enquires to DSD Communications Team on 028 9082 9233. Out of office hours, please contact the Duty Press Office via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.