New initiative underway to create vibrant community hub in west Belfast

An exciting new community engagement project is now underway at Bog Meadows Nature Reserve and St. James Community Farm.  

Thanks to funding from the National Lottery Community Fund, the 'Our People Our Places’ Project will see Ulster Wildlife, St. James Community Farm and Falls Community Council work in partnership to create a vibrant community hub centred around Bog Meadows Nature Reserve and St. James Community Farm.  

Wildlife Watch group

This four-year project will enable local people to enjoy the health and well-being benefits of working with animals and growing their own food at St James Community Farm, as well as exploring, learning and relaxing in their extended garden – the wild, green space offered by Bog Meadows Nature Reserve.  It will also help strengthen social networks, develop new skills and build community capacity by offering traineeships and a range of events and programmes based around nature, conservation, animal husbandry and gardening. 

This project provides a fantastic opportunity, especially during these challenging times, for people to get outdoors, to reconnect with nature and to improve their health and wellbeing.
Deborah McLaughlin, Bog Meadows Community Engagement Officer

We have a whole range of activities and programmes that people can get involved in, including our NatureFit volunteering programme, a new Wildlife Watch group for children and families, a Nature Tots programme for pre-school children, educational visits for school groups, and a whole range of public events and activities for community groups.  There really is something for everyone.” 

The project will see both Ulster Wildlife and St. James Community Farm working together to provide a range of benefits to the local community and visitors of the nature reserve and farm.   

Damien Lindsay, St. James Farm Community Engagement Officer, added, “This partnership will be a brilliant opportunity to bring animal care and wildlife initiatives into the heart of the West Belfast community, highlighting the beauty on our doorstep.” 

Séamus McCann, Funding Officer with National Lottery Community Fund, said, “This project funded via our People and Communities programme puts local people and their health and wellbeing at the forefront of its work. This work will be greatly enhanced by the strong relationship and collaborative working of the three organisations involved.  The National Lottery Community Fund is proud to support and fund this project seeing it as a good example of National Lottery players money being well utilised and ideally many of them same players will be participants in this project.”        

To find out more about how you can support the project or get involved, visit ulsterwildlife.org/bog-meadows-our-people-our-places or the Facebook pages of both Bog Meadows Nature Reserve – Ulster Wildlife, and St. James Community Farm