THE Lecale coast has received a welcome funding boost, with the announcement by Environment Minister Mark H. Durkan that Ballyhornan and District Community Association (BDCA) has been successful with two of its applications to the NGO Challenge Fund 2014.
Speaking earlier this week, BDCA Chairperson and Ballyhornan Family Centre Manager, Patricia Curran expressed delight in the awarding of the funding. “The Challenge Fund projects will raise awareness and understanding of our coastal environment, develop plans for short and long term environmental improvements, and get the local community involved in the design, planting and maintenance of the projects in Killard Square and Drive, Bishopscourt, Tullyronan and Ballyhoran village centre.
“Residents and visitors to Ballyhornan are struck by the contrast between the beauty of the coastal environment and the areas of dereliction within the village. Residents are desperately keen to ensure the built environment blends with the beauty of the natural environment.”
“Over the next few weeks, local residents will be asked to participate in consultation and information events in the Ballyhornan Family Centre, hosted by a design team from ARD Ciaran Mackle Architects. These consultations will explore potential environmental improvements with local communities, statutory, business, elected and voluntary partners. The first of the Public Consultation meetings will take place from:
7-8.30 pm, on Thursday 13 February, in the Ballyhornan Family Centre.
“Everyone is welcome. Along with the development of future plans, local people will be offered the chance to attend training days on topics around conservation, gardening etc, coordinated by staff from the NI Rural Development Council.
“We have some ideas already around what projects local people would like to see on the ground,” added Patricia. “These include from community allotments, to bird boxes, to tree planting. The local community are very excited at the prospect of the sensitive development of this long neglected area, and the potential for it to become a tourism destination, encompassing both the rich history of the area (from mediaeval times to World War II) and the wonderful Marine Nature Reserve and Strangford and Lecale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty”.
The NGO Challenge Fund NI 2014 is administered by Northern Ireland Environment Link (NIEL) and is funded by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA).
The Challenge Fund, launched in 2011, has enabled environmental NGO’s in Northern Ireland to carry out projects with practical benefits for the environment. It has been run as a pilot scheme for the last two years, and due to its enormous success Minister for the Environment, Mark H. Durkan has allocated £2.2million for Challenge Fund 2014.
Ballyhornan and District Community Association (BDCA) was formed fifteen years ago, and comprises residents of Ballyhornan village and surrounds. It aims to improve living conditions in this coastal village, which includes the large former RAF Bishopscourt base.