A blog by Cairns Residents Group
Cairns residents group represents a housing estate of 40 homes in Cushendall, in the Glens of Antrim. Its a beautiful place to live but ever escalating fuel costs hit families in this rural areas very hard.
Our group managed to get funding to start an allotment with the intention of growing our own veg to reduce outgoings and improve health and lifechoices in our area. It’s on waste ground which we got permission from Moyle council to use. In celebration of our achievement and to launch our new allotments we hosted a Big Lunch inviting the whole community to give everyone an opportunity to see our progress and share in our success.
Plans for an event on the allotment were snow good when we were hit with the worst snow storms since ’1963.’ Refusing to let a bit of snow beat us we moved to the local Parish Centre, armed with a bouncy castle, a face painter, a supply of donated cookies and buns, and a huge rabbit we went ahead with a mini Big Lunch day and managed to have good fun and make a little cash with the bun sale!
Sometimes with funding there are lots of deadlines that can’t move but Moyle Council agreed to reschedule the allotment opening and everyone from pensioners to toddlers came out in force to help to get the place tidied up using gloves and bags sent from Council.
Just our luck the rescheduled date arrived - the gales howled and the hail rained down. But we went ahead and erected gazebos, set up tables and got going. The allotments made a great impression on our visitors including elected representatives and everyone wandered around and took a genuine interest in what we have achieved. Even people from neighbouring places working on their own allotments and volunteers from a group in Ballycastle took the opportunity to visit and to see the set up in Cairns. It was also a great opportunity to highlight to residents and the community the great local support we have and we really are delighted with every individual’s contribution.
Now our residents are enjoying the growing challenge and we are keen to grow our Facebook page to share ideas with other communities, hopefully this blog will bring us new friends with lots of ideas we can share.
We’re proud of our progress together and now we are building our confidence and knowledge to take further steps to help our neighbourhood flourish.
If you are volunteering in your community and want to take bigger steps, you may be interested in the Big Lunch Extras experience