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Martina nominated for Housing Hero award

Published: Wed, 12 Mar 2014
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Martina is pictured in the unused patch of land transformed into a beautiful community garden
Martina Forrest helped transform an unused patch of land  into a beautiful cross-community garden in the centre of  Limavady
Limavady housing officer Martina Forrest, who spent two years helping a community bring a woodland garden to life, has been nominated for a national Housing Hero award.
Martina who works in our in Limavady office, helped residents in the town's Glens estate to transform a piece of waste land into a unique woodland garden, which is now used by cross-community groups.
The garden is home to a ‘Sow and Grow’ area, a Marie Curie daffodil garden and a tranquility garden, which is designed to allow families to have picnics or local people to sit and relax and enjoy the surroundings. The community grows its own produce in the garden and is currently looking forward to harvesting potatoes, carrots, beetroot, cabbages and fruit, which will be used in cookery classes in the nearby centre.
Birds and creatures that frequent the garden provide a wealth of material for youth and educational projects. Flowers grown in the garden are also used in flower arranging classes. It is this diverse use of the garden that prompted us to nominate Martina as an Inspirational Colleague in the annual awards, organised by Inside Housing and the Chartered Institute of Housing.
The awards are one of the biggest award ceremonies in the housing sector’s calendar. It aims to ensure that the ‘unsung heroes’ of the housing world are recognised and rewarded for their contribution in making housing a vibrant and caring sector.
Martina picked up an award late last year at the Housing Executive’s annual conference for her work in identifying a project that would unite the community.
Limavady Housing Executive manager, Pamela Mullan, praised Martina’s work saying: “The garden has brought the community together and fostered good relations in the area.
“Communities in Northern Ireland can often be separated by religion, however the neighbouring Roe Valley community uses the Glens community centre, providing a cross-community element to Martina’s successful work in this area.”
The awards ceremony takes place on June 23rd at Manchester Central.