Environment Minister Mark H Durkan today announced that 33 community groups will share £211,549 from the DOE’s Challenge Fund for environmental projects.
In June the Minister invited community groups and schools to apply for funding for projects which would give their local environment a boost.
The Challenge Fund still remains open for schools. The closing date for schools to apply is 25 September 2015.
The projects cover every aspect of the environment from red squirrel and pine marten protection in Newry, beach cleans in Kilkeel to river restoration in Fermanagh and community allotments and woodland management in Derry.
Announcing the successful applicants at a scheme in Derry which has benefitted from Challenge Funding, Mark H Durkan said: “It is heart warming to see so many people in our community coming together to produce innovative schemes to enhance their local environment. I commend them for it. It is fitting that 33 community group projects will get a leg up from Government. I pledged that money raised from our 5p levy on carrier bags would be ploughed back into the environment . The Challenge Fund is one way of doing that.
“This project I am visiting today, the Built Heritage Architectural Project, which celebrates and promotes access to our rich architectural heritage in Derry, is a great example of the Challenge Fund at work and will help educate and inform many future generations about Derry’s historic buildings. People from the community, working freely for the benefit of the community. That is what Challenge Fund is all about.”
Referring specifically to funding available for schools, the Minister continued: “It is important that young people in particular have the chance to see their creative ideas for enhancing our environment become reality. Part of the Challenge Fund is allocated only to schools. The closing date for applications from schools is 25 September 2015. I encourage schools to get their entries in if they haven’t already done
The organisations which will benefit from funding are as follows:
- Taghnevan Community Development Association – Glenholme Park, Taghnevan, Lurgan
Taghnevan Community Woodland Walk – Creation of 3 acres of woodland and a 1km walk (wheelchair accessible) on waste ground. The pathway will better connect the community to many recreation resources. Council partnership and strong volunteer engagement.
- St Mary’s Youth Club – Derry
Introducing communities to outdoor learning – 5.6 hectares of woodland is currently over grown, and is a hub for antisocial behaviour. The project will deliver an orienteering course and improve community access to the site, thereby enabling the local community in their enjoyment and utilisation of this area. Very strong partnerships and volunteer involvement.
- Beragh Red Knights, GAC – Beragh, Co Tyrone
River Footpath And Accessibility A project that will facilitate a greater community usage of the club’s grounds for recreational purposes, allowing the community to better access their natural environment.
- Devenish Partnership Forum – Enniskillen
Devenish Embracing the outdoors – The project will create a wild flower area and expand an allotment site, making it more suitable for older people or those with special needs. The project will better enable the community to enjoy their natural environment. Strong partnerships with other organisations and high volunteer involvement.
- St John’s Drumnaquoile GAC – Castlewellan
St John’s Drumnaquoile Community Allotment Gardens – Transformation of waste ground into an area of allotments and vegetable gardens for use by all in the local community.
- Ballyholland Sunshine Club – Newry
Bring the Past to Life – Intergenerational project with substantial volunteer involvement and a strong partnership with the Conservation Volunteers to increase biodiversity, pass on skills to the next generation whilst transforming a disused piece of land at the GAA club, which is used by all the community.
- Rosemount & District Welfare Rights Group – Derry
Growing Together – The Project will transform a derelict space into a community garden and allotments that will facilitate all sectors of the local and wider community regardless of age and ability. It will target the most isolated and vulnerable members of the community to encourage participation and inclusion. It will also raise awareness around recycling.
- Doury Road Development Group – Ballymena
Eco Estate – The project is to improve a deprived estate through environmental volunteering workshops working with the Conservation Volunteers increasing biodiversity and improving civic pride in the area. The project will engage and ‘skill up’ 42 volunteers.
- Glenshane Care Association Ltd – Dungiven
Glenshane Business Park Beautiful Gardens Project – The project will transform two gardens from dereliction, and will be utilised by disabled adults and the wider community. The work will complement future social enterprise activities and will be conducted by large number of volunteers and partner organisations.
- Liberty Consortium – Derry
Green Finger’s Allotment – Support for an employee to develop the educational output of the Allotment scheme, designing and delivering a range of workshops to be delivered to the local community.
- Suffolk Community Forum – Belfast
Malinmore Leisure, Training & Interface Allotment Development – Funding to carry out an Economic Appraisal with a view to creating shared allotments and other facilities for use by the whole community.
- Enagh Youth Forum – Strathfoyle
Steps To Recycling Awareness (STRA) – A small doorstep recycling initiative
- Portglenone Enterprise Group – Portglenone
Portglenone Green Group – Improvement of facilities at Bethlehem Abbey to enable disabled members of the community to get involved in environmental work, and developing a small woodland (3 Hectares) to be used by the community. A project that has excellent environmental and social benefits.
- Moortown St Malachys GAC – Cookstown
Merging the environment with sport – The project will use surplus land at the GAC to link sport and recreation together with the environment and provide the local community with additional facilities. This involves significant volunteer engagement.
- Tobin Youth Centre (Moortown) Ltd – Cookstown
Tobin Youth Centre Community Garden Project – Conversion of disused land into a community garden, which will be used to promote environmental education across all ages within the community.
- Mornington Community Project – Belfast
Community garden development and programmes – Expansion of a community garden and workshops on Home Growing and on Healthy Food Preparation for the whole community.
- Sion Mills Community Forum – Strabane
Sion Mills River Restoration and Environmental Education Project – The installation of an interactive interpretive panel, refurbishment of the riverside walkway, installation of new features to attract visitors and to promote access to the natural environment.
- Harmony Community Trust – Strangford, Downpatrick
Environmental Learning For Fun – There will be five work-study weekends with at least 48 disadvantaged teenagers and 12 volunteers from urban areas being engaged in practical environmental work at Glebe House, Strangford. The teenagers and volunteers will come from community groups in Belfast, Newry Mourne and Down and Ards.
- Greater Village Regeneration Trust – Belfast
A Beautiful South – A project that will engage 30 unemployed volunteers in improving their local environment by increasing biodiversity and generating a sense of civic pride amongst young people through school-based workshops
- ArtsEkta – Belfast
Through the Forest – This project intends to deliver an exciting new environmental education programme as part of the Belfast Mela 2015 – a multi sensory children’s arts experience featuring a diverse programme of interactive nature-inspired creative arts workshops, delivered by visual artists, craft people, dancers, musicians and storytellers.
- Foyle Down Syndrome Trust – Derry
Down’s Organic Garden – Engaging 23 teenagers and young adults with Down syndrome in creating their very own organic garden from a derelict site.
- Ardboe Community Projects – Dungannon
Lough Neagh: Natural History project – The project will Involve school children and families around Lough Neagh in discovering and raising awareness of the international importance of Lough Neagh, highlighting species, habitats and management to help protect the Lough and surrounding landscape.
- Springwell House – Belfast
Learning For Independent Living Gardening – Engaging nine adults recovering from addictions to develop a community garden.
- Corrymeela Community – Ballycastle
Reconciliation with Your Environment – The project will enhance Corrymeela’s two acre campus and will provide opportunities for disadvantaged people to create a range of habitats to the benefit of nature conservation and create on-campus learning zones to improve ecological learning whilst increasing biodiversity. There will be significant volunteer engagement, and expert partnership involvement.
- County Armagh Wildlife Society (CAWS) – Loughgall, Armagh
Wild Flowers of South Armagh
The production of an ID guide for 24 species of declining plants species to aid a survey which will improve the identification and survey skills of volunteers and results will be recorded with CEDaR. Strong partnerships and volunteer involvement.
- Owenkillew Community Development Association – Gortin
Gortin Community Learning Outdoors – A cross community and cross-generational project that will create a space to help children and adults to learn about their local wildlife. Excellent levels of volunteer input.
- Lough Erne Wildfowlers Council – Enniskillen
Breeding Wader Project – Boa Island, Lough Erne – This project will engage many volunteers in a scrub clearance to re-establish breeding waders to this part of Lough Erne.
- North West Red Squirrel Group – Eglinton
Conservation Of Red Squirrels In Muff Glen Eglinton – Surveying the area in Eglinton of Muff Glen for red and grey squirrels using trail cameras and trapping of grey squirrels for dispatch. Supplementary feeding for red squirrels in special feeders. Education programme to local public. Volunteers will help with surveying.
- Bellanaleck Community Group – Bellanaleck
Enhancement of Biodiversity at Bellanaleck Community Garden – This project will improve biodiversity at Ballinaleck Community Garden by the planting of additional hedges, installation of bird boxes and bat boxes, and tree and wildflower planting. The project has strong volunteer input.
- Transition Town Whitehead
Beach Road Reserve Biodiversity Enhancement Project – This project aims to undertake biodiversity improvements to the Beach Road reserve in Whitehead, including the creation of new habitats and the enhancement of others, as well as improving access and interpretation of the site’s assets.
- Ring of Gullion and Cooley’s Red squirrel group – Newry
South Armagh pine marten den box scheme – A project to encourage pine marten numbers in the area by erection of artificial pine marten dens in the area as natural alternatives are scarce in South Armagh. The project will also raise awaremess by holding education and awareness events at schools and local community events and by installing web cameras on den boxes. Partnership with QUB and strong volunteer engagement.
- Kilkeel Development Association – Kilkeel
The Big Beach Crusade – There are many beaches in the local Kilkeel area & this project aims to educate the community about the seashore ecosystem & to get 400 children actively involved in the conservation of local beaches.
- Erne Rivers Trust – Ardtonnagh, Enniskillen
Earls River Restoration, Documentation and Management – River enhancement, Documentation and Monitoring Project.