East Belfast community garden gets a biodiversity boost from the National Garden Scheme

Responsible business network Business in the Community Northern Ireland (BITC) is one of four organisations in Northern Ireland to be awarded funding from the National Gardens Scheme (NGS) Community Gardens Grants, which was used to develop and improve the organisation’s community garden on the Albertbridge Road in east Belfast.

Responsible business network Business in the Community Northern Ireland (BITC) is one of four organisations in Northern Ireland to be awarded funding from the National Gardens Scheme (NGS) Community Gardens Grants, which was used to develop and improve the organisation’s community garden on the Albertbridge Road in east Belfast.

Representatives from BITC, the NGS, and the Probation Board for NI (PBNI) – which has been maintaining the garden – were joined by Titanic DEA Councillor Ruth Brooks to unveil a plaque recognising the work undertaken to drive sustainability in gardening and encourage biodiversity and wildlife to thrive.

The £1000 of funding facilitated the planting of perennial flowers with trellis for climbing plants, and bug hotels and bird boxes were installed. A ringfenced ‘no-mow’ area was also created to allow for re-wilding, with guidance from the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan. Seating for visitors and local workers to enjoy was restored and signage was put in place, to educate others on the new pollinator plan. BITC has further plans to plant hedgerows and more flowers for the spring.

Keelin McCone, Head of Environment, Business in the Community said: “We’re thrilled that, thanks to the NGS Community Garden Grant, we’ve been able to take positive action for the environment by upgrading and developing this green space in the city to boost native biodiversity and promote better physical and emotional wellbeing for visitors.

“As an organisation, through our initiatives such as the NI Environmental Benchmarking Survey and Business and Biodiversity Charter, we promote and support the implementation of business practices that benefit biodiversity and we’re delighted to have been supported by the NGS and the PBNI to boost biodiversity in our own green corner of Belfast, just outside our office building.”

A registered charity and membership organisation, BITC exists to support and challenge business to be a force for good in society. Led by business, in Northern Ireland the Network’s 270+ members are comprised of companies of all sizes and from all sectors who convene and collaborate to tackle key societal and environmental issues.

The National Gardens Scheme Community Gardens Grants is currently open for applications and submissions will close at noon on Monday 13 November. Applicants will be notified of the results by the end of March 2024.

For more details and an application form visit: https://ngs.org.uk/who-we-are/community-garden-grants/.