Friday, 14 February 2014

Love Parks this Valentine's Day

Carrickfergus Borough Council has launched its plans for 2014 Love Parks Week on Valentine's Day in the most romantic place possible – the great outdoors. Over the past six years the people of Carrickfergus Borough and throughout the UK have shown how much they love their local parks by getting out and celebrating national Love Parks Week, which takes place between 25th July to 3rd August 2014. Events range from Tai Chi, Zumba & Boot Camps to Moth and Butterfly Hunts and other wildlife events and walks. We want these events to inspire people to get out and enjoy fresh air and the fun of the outdoors. More information at

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Community Orchard Planting Day on 23rd February 2014

Fruit Tree Planting Event on Sunday 23rd February 2014, starting at 1pm in Whitehead Diamond Jubilee Wood. A full-on family event so, apart from the tree-planting, there’ll be guided walks, artistic endeavours and other attractions. Experts on hand to tell you the stories of the trees, show you how to forage food for free, teach you how to keep a hedge under control. We’ll help you to build your own bird-box, hang some feeders and make a leaf-print. This event is organised by Transition Town Whitehead.

Turning plastic bags into apples: The government's 'carrier bag levy' was started in April 2013; it meant you had to pay a 5p charge when you chose to take a shop's plastic bag with your groceries. This has raised over £3m since then, much of which has been channelled into the NI Environment Agency's NGO Challenge Fund, available to community and voluntary organisations for environmental projects. Transition Town Whitehead has been one of the beneficiaries; and received a grant of almost £8,500 from the fund for their 'Edible Landscape' project. With the ready co-operation of Carrickfergus Borough Council, who manage Diamond Jubilee Wood. They intend to plant a sustainable and edible community orchard in the Diamond Jubilee Wood. The grant has enabled them to buy almost 200 fruit and nut trees - apples, pears, cherries, damsons, walnut, hazelnut - and a mixture of berry bushes. Within a few years, these trees will be bearing fruit, for the benefit of everyone who visits the wood and, indeed, for the bird population as well.

Jim Kitchen, from Transition Town Whitehead, said, "Planting these trees this year is our investment in the future. In a few years' time, we'll literally be able to use the fruits of our labour by making puddings, jams and chutneys from the produce of this orchard. We hope this is the first step in what will become an edible landscape - over the next few years, we can add beehives, fruiting hedgerows and, maybe one day, a full scale community allotment scheme. So, why don't you come along and help us take the first steps. It's all happening on Sunday 23rd February from 1pm to about 4pm. If it's still raining, put on your boots and waterproofs, bring a spade if you have one, and join us for this planting party. You don't need to know anything about planting trees; you just need a wee bit of enthusiasm.