Grow Wild Northern Ireland’s BIG Lunch at the Botanic Gardens

Flowers in the alleyIn September community groups from across Northern Ireland got together thanks to Grow Wild running a very successful Big Lunch in the Botanic Gardens Belfast. 

Bed of flowers

A flower

Over the past couple of years dozens of groups in Northern Ireland have been awarded funding of between £1,000 and £4,000 to bring people together to transform a communal space by sowing and growing native plants. These projects are strengthening social bonds, raising awareness of wild flowers and also improving our natural surroundings. And now we are encouraging even more to apply.

Our Big Lunch brought our funded groups together with those that are thinking of applying in order to exchange ideas and find ways to develop the best projects for Northern Ireland. But we not only shared ideas but picnics and cupcakes as the sun bounced off our faces. Over tea and coffee new acquaintances became friends and chance meetings became productive ideas.

A group of people smiling

A man looking at flower arrangementsAround 45 people enjoyed the Grow Wild Big Lunch in the beautiful surroundings of the Botanic Gardens in Belfast, along with delicious wild flower cupcakes, made by local baker Beth Thompson, and a tour of the amazing Wildflower Alley nearby.

There is a natural affinity between these two Big Lottery funded programmes, Grow Wild and The Big Lunch. The Big Lunch is a simple idea that aims to get as many people as possible to have lunch together in a simple act of community, friendship and fun. And Grow Wild brings communities together with wild flowers. The Grow Wild community projects and the various groups that actively sow our free Grow Wild seeds are part of a wild flower community across Northern Ireland.

A crowd walking at the Big Lunch

Groups travelled from Magheralin, Benburb, Ballyeaston, Larne, Carnlough as well as a good turn out from Belfast. Stephanie Baine, Grow Wild Northern Ireland Partnership Manager, spoke about the next steps for Grow Wild and the use of native Northern Irish wild flowers and plants to bring people together.

"The Grow Wild Big Lunchers visited the now famous Wildflower Alley in the lanes behind some of the houses of the Holylands district of Belfast," she said. "Residents have taken up paintbrushes and shovels to rejuvenate the lanes in an attempt to cut down on anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping. They have turned the area from boozy back streets to a blooming haven of flowers and art. The Wildflower Alley has been one of the Holylands most successful regeneration projects. And this all started with a lot of enthusiasm and hard work from the Alley’s residents and a few free seed kits from Grow Wild."

If you missed the event it is no problem - Grow Wild and The Big Lunch want to hear from you with your brilliant ideas. 

Find out more information about Grow Wild community project  .

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