Market Garden has room to grow after £10k funding boost

Pictured are Richard Rogers of Groundwork NI; Councillor Paul Hamill, Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, and Niamh-Anne McNally of The Alpha Programme along with Mark Davis and Roy Millar of Monkstown Village Initiatives.  INNT 39-754-CON
Pictured are Richard Rogers of Groundwork NI; Councillor Paul Hamill, Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, and Niamh-Anne McNally of The Alpha Programme along with Mark Davis and Roy Millar of Monkstown Village Initiatives. INNT 39-754-CON

A Newtownabbey-based programme is set to expand its community garden following a £10k funding boost.

Monkstown Village Initiatives secured funds from The Alpha Programme to create further growing space in their BT37 Market Garden while providing training opportunities for young people through their Rural Youth Project.

The proposed work will include site clearance, the installation of a polytunnel and the development of growing beds.

The Alpha Programme was launched in 2008 by Alpha Resource Management, a dedicated waste management and renewable energy company within the Lagan Group.

The initiative distributes funding through the Landfill Tax Credits scheme to a range of community and biodiversity projects within a 15 mile radius of the landfill site at Mullaghglass on the outskirts of Lisburn.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Paul Hamill said: “I am delighted to hear that Monkstown Village is receiving £10,000 investment.

“This is fantastic news for our borough and even better for those of the Monkstown community. 

“The community garden is a well-used facility and it is great to see funding being provided to help enhance the facility even more as well as engage the younger generation of our borough and improve the health and wellbeing of our residents.”

The Alpha Programme has invested over £4.5m in 135 projects over the last ten years.

The latest round sees nine projects across five council areas benefit from a share of over £250,000.

“All the projects are designed to make a positive environmental impact and cultivate community led initiatives,” said Niamh-Anne McNally from The Alpha Programme.

“A wide range of sports clubs, community gardens, play areas and other environmental regeneration projects have benefitted through the initiative.

“We are delighted that our funding continues to make a difference to local communities.”

The Alpha Programme is administered by Groundwork NI and makes awards to successful groups four times per year following an application process.

Richard Rogers from Groundwork NI added: “Over the past couple of years Monkstown Village Initiatives have worked hard to develop a flourishing community garden and we are delighted to be able to support them in building on their success to date.

“This Alpha Programme small grant will enable them to extend their growing space, promote health and wellbeing, engage more young people and pilot a new social enterprise.

“We are encouraged to see groups applying at all funding levels with innovative ideas.

“With our expertise we can continue to mentor these projects to ensure they flourish and create a lasting impact for future generations.”

Applications for the next round of Alpha Programme funding close on September 29, 2017.

Anyone considering applying to the programme is encouraged to contact Groundwork NI to discuss their application prior to submission.

Application forms and a map showing the eligible project area are available from Groundwork NI’s website www.groundworkni.org.uk

Other local initiatives to benefit from Alpha Programme funding include resurfacing of the community playing fields at Greenisland Football Club.