The ‘Healthy Places’ Award focuses on how projects affect people’s lives, their health and wellbeing and how they tackle disadvantage and inequalities. The winning project ‘Growing Communities’ lead by The Conservation Volunteers, was awarded top marks for its contribution to addressing to health and equity, while also supporting the environment and the economy.
Growing Communities is delivered in community gardens and allotment sites throughout Belfast and provides quality opportunities for people to get involved in the management of local green spaces. The project focuses on training people to grow their own food with a strong focus on sustainable gardening and improving areas for biodiversity. All sessions are free and inclusive to all citizens with an interest in outdoor volunteering.
TCV Project Manager, Helen Tomb collected the Award on behalf of the Health and Communities team in Belfast. Helen said, ‘I am delighted to pick up this award on behalf of the Belfast Team. The award is great recognition for the hard work of staff and community gardeners who have worked together to make this project a success. The TCV staff have a genuine passion for the project and for the people who come back to the project week after week. We can see the difference this project makes to their lives and the green spaces we strive to improve’.
Joan Devlin Chief Executive of Belfast Healthy Cities said they were delighted with the standard of award entries. “It is important to acknowledge the work being done across Belfast to facilitate and promote wellbeing especially among groups of people who can feel excluded. These awards offer an encouragement to organisations and we are very pleased with the level of response we have had over the last two years.”
The Growing Communities Project is delivered in partnership with Belfast City Council as part of the Growing Communities Strategy for the city. The three year project aims to provide space and opportunities for people to improve their physical and mental wellbeing by taking part in outdoor volunteering. To date, the project has involved over 4000 individuals across 13 sites. The project has also picked up awards for the quality of groups involved as well as a Special Award for Biodiversity from Translink Ulster in Bloom.
For more information about The Conservation Volunteers Northern Ireland please visit https://www.tcv.org.uk/northernireland