11 April 2012
Children and adults are working hard at the Ozone Centre planting seeds to tackle anti-racism and anti-sectarianism as part of the ‘Growing Respect’ Programme
The innovative and imaginative approach is providing gardening lessons as part of the scheme with young and old joining forces to plant fruit and flowers in specially prepared beds at the centre in the Ormeau Park.
Led by the Belfast City Council’s Parks and Leisure department the scheme is cross service, using the council’s leisure facilities, parks, staff and partners to embed values and respect. The introduction of gardening aims to teach the importance of environment on a neighbourhood and its people as well as how each contributes to the other.
Several hundred people are involved in the project through local community groups across the city with the programme also running at the Shankill Leisure Centre.
Councillor Steven Corr, Chairman of the Parks and Leisure Committee, said: “The gardening is a great tool allowing all age groups to interact, with many learning a new skill, but it also about teaching patience and respect, that things take time to happen and cannot always be forced.
“It is about appreciating what is around us, and how we can help things grow by paying attention and nurturing them, that often you get out of something only what you put in yourself,” he added.
Speaking about a £150m investment strategy which the council is planning for the city he said: “One of the things pointed out at community meetings is the importance of people working together to tackle issues and the development of good relations in kick starting activities across interfaces.
“This programme is an example of that groundwork in operation. It is not just about respect for individuals whatever their age, creed, colour or culture but respect for where you live and how you can help improve things for yourself and for others that the programme teaches,” he added.
The programme is running at Shankill Leisure Centre as well as Ozone with different groups meeting each evening. Any group interested in participating in next year’s programme is asked to contact the Ozone Centre on 028 9045 8024.
It is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, through the European Union’s PEACE lll Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).
Getting a little help from Abeer Wafdi is Nada Megahead who are both participating inthe 'Growing Respect' programme at the Ozone centre in an innovative approach to seeding anti-sectarianism and anti-racism, as well as intergenerational friendships.The programme is funded by PEACE lll and involves community groups from across the city. For anyone interested in getting involved next year more information is available at www.belfastcity.gov.uk/growingrespect