PLANTING & GROWING COMMUNITY – A STORY FROM NORTH BELFAST
A garden can transform what an area looks like, but it can also draw a community together. In Glencairn in North Belfast, Pioneer Evangelist Stephen Whitten has been putting this vision into action to create a community garden next to St Andrew’s Church.
The Glencairn Estate is a deprived area of social housing, where people are excluded from many life opportunities. Some live in isolation, experience mental-health issues and a lack of hope for the future. Also on the estate, a significant number of young people don’t go to school and instead stay at home. Creating this space will help people who feel without purpose, make a difference and others who feel forgotten can be part of a team. It’s an opportunity for the community to see the church roll up its sleeves and engage with people around them.
Stephen explains it this way: “Physical work has a way of bonding people and we have already experienced this on our clean-up days. The space is in the centre of the estate so it’s visible for people walking past and makes people feel like stuff is happening in an area that can feel forgotten about.”