Minister visits community growing space

Local people who will be using the plots at the Community Growing Space at Sperrin Park in the Waterside. (Photo - Tom Heaney, nwpresspics)
Local people who will be using the plots at the Community Growing Space at Sperrin Park in the Waterside. (Photo - Tom Heaney, nwpresspics)

Social Development Minister Mervyn Storey MLA has commended the Caw/Nelson Drive Action group for transforming a once derelict piece of waste ground into a community growing space in Londonderry.

Thanks to funding of almost £30,000 from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive the Action Group have created the new community space at Sperrin Park which allows residents on the estate to come together to learn how to grow their own vegetables as well as helping develop a better sense of community.

Minister Storey visited the area today to see for himself the growing space which is located in the heart of the community.

Minister Storey commented: “It was great to see at firsthand how this outdoor space has been developed which is clearly helping to benefit local people by improving their physical and mental wellbeing through regular outdoor activities.

“The enthusiasm displayed by the Caw/Nelson Action Group in the development of the growing space has not only helped regenerate the area but it also offers a unique opportunity for residents to acquire new skills, make new friendships and take a pride in their estate.”

Avril McAllister, the Housing Executive’s West Area Manager, was delighted to welcome the Minister and said: “Our Grounds team has been working closely with the local community through Caw/Nelson Drive Action Group to transform the physical appearance of the estate and encourage civic pride. The community growing space is a great social hub and a welcome addition for local residents who are now able to benefit from growing their own food.”

During his visit, the Minister also took the opportunity to congratulate Linda Watson, Coordinator of the Caw/Nelson Drive Action Group and Head of the West Tenant Scrutiny Panel on recently being awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to the community.

The Minister said: “I would like to offer my warmest congratulations to Linda on receiving this British Empire Medal. I am sure it is an immensely proud achievement and a fitting acknowledge for the dedication she has shown to serving the community.”

The Minister also viewed the Crescent Community and Cultural Centre which opened in 2012 and which acts as a community hub for a number of local groups.