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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

Funding success for new sensory garden in Ballyclare

Butterflies amongst lavender flowers

Funding has been approved by the Department for Communities Access and Inclusion programme for a sensory garden at Ballyclare War Memorial Park, councillors have been told.

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s Operations Committee was informed at a meeting on Monday evening (6th November) a funding application has been successful.

The committee heard the Department had expressed a particular interest in receiving applications for sensory gardens and accessible equipment for play parks, as well as projects that would “positively impact sustainability and address climate change”.

An application for the purchase of accessible play park equipment was also successful.

In 2020/21, the council secured £120,000 funding from the programme which enabled the development of a £30k sensory garden at Hazelbank Park in Newtownabbey, which opened in May 2021, as well as accessibility trails at Valley Park and Threemilewater Park in Newtownabbey.

Last year, the sum of £27k assisted the creation of a new sensory garden at Antrim Castle Gardens which was officially opened in September 2022 to provide a “therapeutic and calming outdoor sanctuary” for children and adults with autism, dementia and other sensory needs.

Councillors were also advised at the meeting an audit of the borough’s 35 play parks is to be carried out. They were told this would involve each piece of equipment and fencing.

The borough’s play parks were last surveyed in 2016 and ranked in terms of condition and value of works required to improve facilities.

Since the 2016 audit, the council has opened a new play-park at Antrim Loughshore, with a further new development scheduled for completion at Belfast City Playing Fields, Mallusk, in spring 2024.

Macedon Ulster Unionist Councillor Robert Foster asked to be informed of any developers’ contributions that have been put in place in the borough.


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