Housing Executive Secures New Pastures in West Belfast

New Pastures West Belfast group photo
L-R back row Michael Og Gaskin and Declan McDonald. Front row Damien Lindsay, Casey Hendricks, Madisen Murphy, Bap Kelly and Lisa Hendricks.

St James Community Forum’s urban farm has been boosted by a grant from the Housing Executive, allowing for the erection of new secure fencing.

Additional grazing ground, gifted from the Ulster Wildlife Trust, will make the West Belfast farm more accessible to local families, boosting cross-community relations in the area and increasing opportunities for local children to interact with animals.
 
With a herd including goats and a sheep, the five year old farm has had a positive effect on the health and well-being of families in one of Belfast’s interface areas.
 
Young farm volunteer, Michael Og Gaskin, said: “The farm provides a place in the area for young people to socialise with each other.”
 
Young farmer, Shannagh, added: “I like to feed the animals and take the goats walking around the bog meadows, it’s really fun.”
 
St James Community Forum Volunteer, Damien Lindsay, said: “The new land was fenced and secured by the Housing Executive through a very generous grant.
 
“It’s made the farm nearly twice as big and it has really benefitted the local community.”
 
Housing Executive West Belfast Area Manager, Paddy Kelly, added: “We are proud to support such a worthy project.
 
“By securing extra space for St James Farm, we hope to help facilitate positive cross-community relations in the area for generations to come and allow young people a rare opportunity to interact with farm animals in an urban setting.”
 
Plans are in place to further upgrade and develop the farm into to a modern community facility.

Work is due to start on a barn with pens, toilets, a kitchen and community space for workshops and courses.
 
The next phase of the expansion will involve landscaping, containing raised beds, a poly tunnel and relaxation garden and a barbeque area.
 
This will create a modern hub in the centre of the St James community.

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