The Community Garden and Centre was officially opened by the Mayor of Waterford, Cllr. Pat Hayes in the presence of Waterford City Manager, Michael Walsh.
The project, which is the brainchild of the hardworking voluntary committee of Ballybeg CDP under the auspices of Project Manager, Liz Riches, came to fruition after first been proposed in 2008. In a community that has a higher than average rate of unemployment, it was felt that a project of this nature, would give local people practical skills to support them in their move towards employment or further education.
As a result of hard work, vision and dedication the Ballybeg Community Garden and Artery Landscape, Design and Garden Centre has become an integral part of community life in Ballybeg.
Within the Community Garden over 30 small plots have been developed and are tended by groups of friends, families and children. Open and accessible, The Community Garden has become a social space, a place to learn and share and a place that provides organic fruit and vegetables to many families in Ballybeg.
Within the Community Garden you’ll also find The Artery Garden, a not-for-profit community enterprise which specialises in selling plants and providing advice and support to growers. Landscaping and design services are offered as well as short courses in organic growing for teachers, crèche workers and individuals wanting to learn more about growing their own.
According to Liz Riches, Project Manager of Ballybeg CDP, the final result has been amazing. “The Community Gardens were borne out of the dedication, generosity and energy of the local community. What was unsightly waste ground lying idle beside the Parish Centre is now a vibrant, colourful community garden that belongs to the community and is for their benefit.”
“We have been lucky to receive phenomenal support from local businesses and government agencies, and of course, Waterford City Council, and in particular the City Manager, Michael Walsh, who donated the land to us.”
Not content to rest on their laurels, the CDP has plans to further develop the Community Gardens. “We have seen the positivity and pride that the gardens have contributed to the community, and we really hope to develop further projects of this nature so that every resident of the community can become involved and help contribute to the enhancement of Ballybeg.”
The Ballybeg Community Garden is open seven days a week and The Artery Landscape, Design and Garden Centre is open Monday to Thursday from 10am to 4pm and Fridays from 10am to 1pm at present.
For further information about the developments at Ballybeg Community Garden and the range of landscape, design and courses call Sean O’Driscoll, Horticulture Co-ordinator on 051 350100 or check out www.ballybegcdp.ie.