Community groups, residents, politicians and local business people gathered today [Friday 12 September 2014] for the official opening of a new green space in East Belfast — the Bridge Community Garden.
The Bridge Community Garden is located on a site owned by BT and previously used as a car park. Thanks to the vision of BT and funding from Biffa Award, Bombardier Aerospace, DSD, Belfast City Council and Ulster Garden Villages, the space has been transformed into a unique community space for local residents and community groups.
The garden is home to an innovative permanent soundscape, the first of its kind in Europe, installed by the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC) at Queen's University Belfast and sponsored by Allstate Northern Ireland. Garden users and those walking by are treated to the sounds of the jungle, rushes of water and other soothing tones. The innovative nature of this project stood out to Allstate NI which uses smartphone technology, motion-tracking and social networking to allow visitors to interact with the sounds within the park. You can hear the sounds for yourself at www.soundscapepark.org.
A mural has also been installed in the garden by the Lower Castlereagh Community Group, funded under the Housing Executive's Building Relations in Communities (BRIC) initiative.
Peter Morris, BT Head of Operations NI, explains:
"We hope the Bridge Community Garden will be a welcoming space for local people and families in an area that has experienced difficulties over the years. Working with local communities to improve lives is central to our goal of creating a better future and this garden is a great example of something that will make a difference to people living and working in East Belfast."
The garden is located just in front of Business in the Community's offices on the Albertbridge Road and Managing Director Kieran Harding added:
"This has been a true partnership effort between the private, public and voluntary sectors and we want to thank everyone involved for their participation and support. Two stalwarts who've ensured that this unique project happened are my predecessor John Heaslip and architect Jeremy Jackson, both of whom have worked tirelessly to make this garden come to fruition.
"We hope that this garden will be enjoyed, embraced and used widely by all sections of the community in east Belfast."
For further information visit www.soundscapepark.org