Housing Executive breathes fresh air into West Winds

Group of people admire a flower bed
Admiring the West Winds estate facelift are Victor Watson, ID Verde, Cathy Wright, Housing Executive, Billy Sproule, West Winds Development Association, Gary Hilliard and Owen Brady, Housing Executive, and Julie McGowan, West Winds Development Association

A colourful £15,000 parkland has taken root at the main entrance to the West Winds estate in Newtownards, thanks to the Housing Executive.

Work on three new plant beds, featuring a mixture of shrubs, herbaceous perennials and small trees, has been completed by contractors IDVerde.

Funding was provided by the Housing Executive and the Department for Communities Small Pockets of Deprivation Fund, which the housing body administers.

Local residents applied for the cash to create a more attractive environment to help improve the mental health and wellbeing of people living in the area.

Billy Sproule, who has been the West Winds Development Association’s chairman for the past 25 years, said that the residents were delighted with the results.

“Upgrading the environment with planters and flower beds is one of the steps we are taking to help improve the general area and the mental health of local people,” he said.

“We’ve completed another planting scheme at the shops to revitalise that space including welly boots filled with flowers, which have been attached to a wall to deter graffiti.

“We are celebrating the estate’s 50th year with a big community event on September 3 and this excellent revamp has brighten up the whole area. This is very much an ongoing project and we will be doing more once extra funding becomes available.”

Housing Executive area manager Owen Brady said: “We are very pleased to have been able to provide the funds for this significant upgrade. It is important for our tenants to live in attractive and tranquil environments and we are very open to new ideas for improvements.

“We hope that the residents get a great deal of pleasure from their spruced-up surroundings.”

Sarah Harkness-Robinson, from Supporting Communities, said: “Congratulations to the community group and its interagency partners on working together to make the estate a more welcoming place to visit and live.

“Works at the front of the estate are part of the community group’s busy 50th anniversary programme. Supporting Communities is delighted to have been able to facilitate partnership working on this.

“I commend the group on developing an exciting and varied programme, which will not only provide an opportunity to look back but also to look to the future.”

The Rev Stephen Doherty, minister of the West Winds Community Church, said: “The church community help with litter picking and the residents go out and cut the grass.

“Everyone deserves a pleasant place to live and these newly planted areas are hugely important in giving the community a sense of pride and wellbeing.”

Residents are now hoping to get funding for a ride-on lawn mower to keep the communal grass areas trim.

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