The Speedwell Trust has received a £6,256 grant from Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All programme. It is part of a Big Lottery Fund grants roll out of £743,207 to 95 groups across Northern Ireland including five projects in the Dungannon area sharing a total of £43,025. (See full list of awards)
The Speedwell Trust, based in Parkanaur forest, Dungannon, works with children and young people from over 100 primary, secondary and special needs schools to facilitate shared environmental and good relations programmes.
They are using the grant to refurbish part of their garden, to enhance wildlife and biodiversity and make it more attractive for use by the wider community. They will also develop a pond area that is safe and accessible for people with disabilities or special needs.
Eamon McClean, Speedwell Trust Manager, said “We believe young people have an important role to play in developing strong, sustainable and cohesive local communities. Through cross-community participation in Speedwell programmes they can challenge existing prejudice and attitudes.
“The Speedwell Garden was created in 1997 by the staff of the Speedwell Trust and contains a variety of environmental habitats including ponds, raised beds, bird watching areas and minibeast hotels. The garden is extensively used by groups visiting the Speedwell project as well as members of the local community. Last year over 3,000 people visited the garden. But over recent years, it has fallen in to a state of disrepair.
“We are restoring the garden to make it more attractive for visitors, and refurbishing the ponds and surrounding areas to improve safety standards, to enhance biodiversity for local wildlife and to encourage volunteers to become involved in environmental activities. We are also improving accessibility for disabled people and people with special needs.”
The redeveloped pond area will provide new opportunities for a range of groups involved with the Speedwell Trust. Volunteers will use the pond area to work on their facilitation skills with smaller groups.
Ellen Doris, a retired teacher and current volunteer with the Trust, said: “Last year I volunteered with the Speedwell staff, helping them deliver many shared activities. The pond refurbishment is much needed as it will allow me to focus on educating the young people rather than being worried about their safety in the pond area.”
Other Dungannon area projects
South Lough Neagh Regeneration Association is a cross community group, based in Maghery near Dungannon. They received a grant of £8,049 to refurbish a reception area so it can be used for meetings, training workshops and community events.
St John’s Primary School are using the £10,000 grant to provide equipment that will allow the school to start an out of school club Monday to Friday and on Saturday mornings.
St. Joseph’s Grammar School in Donaghmore is a post-primary grammar school, with an all-ability Irish Medium stream. They are using the £8,720 grant for a project outside of class time to help pupils gain the confidence and skills they need to keep them safe online.
St. Joseph’s Primary School Caledon in the Caledon area of Dungannon are using the £10,000 to install a fitness trail and non-slip durable playground markings for games and activities outside of class time.