In Cloughmills the Community Action Team received a grant to make their site more accessible for people with disabilities by upgrading their paths. Before this, anyone with a buggy, needing wheelchair access or assistance with walking couldn’t access the site, but today they can all use the community garden. The group, which is led by volunteers is also running a gardening and food growing project for women, where they meet regularly to harvest and then cook their own food. The life changing aspect of this project, according to volunteer Patrick Frew, is the growth in confidence among the women who take part and the opportunity they get to socialise, have fun and learn together. Organised at a time when children are at school so that women with caring responsibilities can take part, the course is always oversubscribed.
With Energia’s support Cloughmills Community Action Team have transformed an unused space into an area for everyone of all ages in the community to benefit from. Over the past 10 years Cloughmills Community Garden project has grown with new additions continually being added to the site creating new opportunities for the surrounding community members and people beyond.
They were home to the first Community Fridge in Northern Ireland which is now thriving within the community which aims to reduce food waste. They have also developed a men’s shed, outdoor kitchen and vegetable gardens. A unique project titles ‘Free Range Families’ is one of their popular workshops where the garden is open to families to learn and discover where their food comes from with the opportunity to get their hands dirty. Through a range of activities The Community Action Team encourage intergenerational activities and a cross-community approach through a mixture of social and practical activities in Cloughmills strengthening the community.
Rosy Billingham, Energia Community Liaison Officer: “I’ve just joined the Energia Renewables team and so I was keen to meet some of the voluntary organisations and groups who have applied for grants from our wind farm benefit funds. It was great to see the impressive work these volunteers are doing and the impact that their projects, both small and large, are having on local community life. Energia is proud to be working with the Community Foundation and making a positive difference in the areas surrounding our wind farms.”