A former fly-tipping site, described by residents in Portadown as an “eyesore”, has been transformed into a thriving community allotment.
The Housing Executive-owned land is now home to a range of vegetable patches thanks to their partnership with Killicomaine Residents’ Group.
Mark Ingham, the Housing Executive’s South Area Manager, said: “This piece of Housing Executive-owned land has been completely transformed thanks to the hard work of Killicomaine Residents’ Group and our maintenance staff.
“It had previously been used for fly-tipping and was in need of regular clearing. As a result, the piece of land was regarded by residents as an eyesore and was very difficult for Grounds Maintenance to maintain.
“Working with the local office, our Grounds Maintenance Supervisor Colin Baker approached the community group to ask if the land could be put to use to grow produce instead and we were delighted to help facilitate this.”
He added: “This area now has a brand new lease of life and has brought the whole community together. Seeing the land being used for the benefit of residents is fantastic. The project has been such a success that there are even talks to extend the allotment further.”
Killicomaine allotment has been recognised for its importance within the area with a grant from The National Garden Scheme, which awards money to community garden projects.
Keith McCann, from Killicomaine Residents’ Group, said: “Before we established the allotment the area was often used for dumping garden waste and other items. We created a kitchen garden behind our community house and this allotment is a continuation of this project.
“It’s a real community project, with 20 volunteers from the local area helping out. One neighbour even looks after the watering of the plants using a water tap from his home. Local people have really benefitted from the allotment, with residents receiving surplus produce free of charge.
“This wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the Housing Executive, who gave us the use of the land but also paid for the construction of the allotment and supplied benches.”