Growing on community spirit

Pupils of St Mary's on the Hill and Ashgrove Primary School with Rosie Irwin (Newtownabbey Borough Council biodiversity officer) Catherine Hardy (chair of Glengormley Community Group), Mayor Victor Robinson and Sally Houston (artist) unveil the new mosaic in Lillian Bland Community Park. INNT 49-009-FP

Pupils of St Mary's on the Hill and Ashgrove Primary School with Rosie Irwin (Newtownabbey Borough Council biodiversity officer) Catherine Hardy (chair of Glengormley Community Group), Mayor Victor Robinson and Sally Houston (artist) unveil the new mosaic in Lillian Bland Community Park. INNT 49-009-FP

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CHILDREN from Ashgrove and St Mary’s on the Hill primary schools unveiled their impressive new mosaic art work in the Lilian Bland Community Park this week.

Newtownabbey Borough Council’s biodiversity staff Lindsay Matthews and Rosie Irwin have been working with the Glengormley Community Group, residents and conservation volunteers to create a shared space and a community garden.

Funded by the Alpha Programme with the support of Conservation Volunteers NI and Newtownabbey Borough Council, the garden is a place for people to get involved in community growing, gardening, volunteering and to be inspired and engaged with their local green space.

The new mosaic piece designed by pupils from both schools is designed to be a focal point within the garden.

Community artist Sally Houston said the mosaic was designed by the children who were inspired by nature and the images of butterflies and some of the local flowers that can be found in the park.

She said: “They drew on the many varied aspects of nature we see around the park and with it being designed around autumn time there are lots of those colours involved in the piece.

“The children were involved in every aspect of the design through to the eventual construction of the piece, which hopefully will give them a real sense of ownership of the project.”

Over the past few weeks Sally has been installing the mosaic in stages.

The children were invited down to the garden to observe and to add to the biodiversity by rolling up their sleeves and planting some wildflower plugs of Red Campion and Primrose. Both of which will add colour and some much needed food sources for insects and wild birds.

Biodiversity officer Rosie Irwin added: “We have carried out a lot of planting so that hopefully in the new year the park will be full of bright new attractive colours.”

The art work was officially revealed by Catherine Hardy, chair of the Glengormley Community Group along with Mayor Victor Robinson.

Catherine said: “This is a community park for everyone to enjoy and be a part of and I would encourage everyone to come along and be a part of this project.

“This feeds into the biodiversity message we need to be teaching our children and importantly shows them that beans do not come from a can or vegetables from the supermarket.

“The children from both the schools have done an incredible job with this project and I would like to thank them for their incredible effort.”