Ballymena outdoor projects blooming with NHLP funds

Community groups in Ballymena and across the borough have been delighted to receive funding from the Northern Healthy Lifestyle Partnership (NHLP) in 2020, with Council’s conservation and gardening projects now being finalised.

Friday, 9th July 2021, 8:52 am

The NHLP funding stream is managed by the Northern Health and Social Care Trust (NHSCT). Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr William McCaughey, said: “Council has worked with NHSCT on a number of projects recently and we were delighted to be able to support more community groups via the NHLP funding stream.

Gardens can be great for the environment and wildlife, and they are good for people too, research consistently shows. The NHS consider exercise to be essential to living a healthy and fulfilling life and it’s medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. Physical and mental illnesses associated with our increasingly sedentary urban lifestyles have a growing economic and social cost. Gardening can play a key role in helping to keep you fit and healthy - 30 minutes of gardening is comparable to playing badminton, volleyball or practising yoga. As well as this, gardening can lead to significant reductions in depression and anxiety, can improve social functioning, and can help maintain independence and prevent cognitive decline.

Sandra Anderson, NHLP Co-coordinator, said “We were pleased to allocate funding to support five projects in Mid and East Antrim as part of our work to encourage and promote healthy lifestyles. I have been delighted to learn how local communities have been able to directly benefit from this support.

Mayor Cllr William McCaughey visits Islandmagee Community Garden one of the five projects in Mid and East Antrim which received NHLP funding
Mayor Cllr William McCaughey visits Islandmagee Community Garden one of the five projects in Mid and East Antrim which received NHLP funding

“Gracehill Community Association made improvements to the looped walk around village including Gods Acre, which has included signage, railings, seating, heritage planting and community walk and clean up activities. Wakehurst Residents made improvements to King George V Park which include mature cherry and beech tree specimens planted around the boundary of park to add interest and biodiversity value, and new floral displays. Harryville HEAT volunteers have helped isolated members of the community by completing garden improvement works such as planting bulbs, shrubs and trees, woodwork, painting, and clean ups.”

Cllr McCaughey concluded: “It’s great to see such a range of projects happening across Mid and East Antrim, I look forward to seeing them all flourish.”