Belfast City Council is offering a grant of up to £50,000 for the creation of a social farm or garden in the city.

The council is seeking expressions of interest from Belfast-based small businesses, community groups and schools to create a temporary city centre social farm or garden for a period of around 18 months.

The deadline for expressions of interest is 5:00p.m on Monday, August 21, and projects must be completed by February 29, 2024.

The council said the project will be supported by the “expertise” of its ‘Greening the City’ Advisory Group.

Organisations represented on the Greening the City Advisory Group include:

  • Belfast City Council;
  • Belfast Health and Social Care Trust;
  • Belfast Healthy Cities;
  • Belfast Hills Partnership;
  • Department for Infrastructure;
  • EastSide Partnership;
  • Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful;
  • Northern Ireland Environment Link;
  • Northern Ireland Housing Executive;
  • Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland;
  • Public Health Agency;
  • Queen’s University Belfast;
  • The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB NI);
  • Social Farms and Gardens;
  • West Belfast Partnership Board.

Chair of Belfast City Council’s city growth and regeneration committee, Cllr. Clíodhna Nic Bhranair, said: “Our ‘Bolder Vision for Belfast’ includes encouraging a greener, less polluted city centre – so we want grey to green proposals to focus on urban farming, social gardening or a community food-growing initiative, possibly on a council owned site.

“We’ll be supporting the project we fund through our advisory group’s expertise – and we’ll be encouraging proactive community engagement to create a sense of ownership.

“We’re looking forward to seeing greater biodiversity in the city centre being achieved through the introduction of plants, flowers, bug hotels and bird boxes.”

Nic Bhranair said the project also provides a great opportunity to raise awareness about food growing, nutrition, and how they link to health and well-being.

An online information session is being held at 6:30p.m on Thursday, August 10, and those interested in attending should email the council to receive a registration link.