Stormont Estate Allotments 18 May 2012
Minister Wilson launches the Stormont Estate Workplace Allotments project
Sammy Wilson today launched a workplace allotment project for Northern Ireland
Civil Service (NICS) staff based within the Stormont Estate.
The Allotment project is aimed at providing NICS staff based within the Stormont Estate the opportunity to participate in a healthy, outdoor, recreational activity during their own time. Whilst this is being launched initially as a pilot exercise it is hoped that further opportunities will be developed across other public sector workplaces.
Speaking at the launch Sammy Wilson said: “I welcome this opportunity to launch the allotment project today. We are the first work place allotment in Northern Ireland which is an achievement in itself and also coincides with the Programme for Government’s strategic priorities for 2011–2015 on improving health and well–being.
“As a keen gardener myself, I can think of no better way to reduce stress levels from a working day than to spending some time outdoors on the allotment. Not only does it provide physical exercise, it also can give a sense of productivity and generate satisfaction when the end results are achieved by growing your own food.
“I would also like to thank the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens (FCFCG) and staff within my department for their contribution in bringing this project to fruition. I look forward to seeing the benefits of this scheme and have no doubt that this will contribute to the health and wellbeing to staff which is essential to enable people to reach their full potential.”
Director of the NICS Occupational Health Service, Professor Ken Addley also welcomed the initiative: “This unique project allows staff to get away from their desks during their lunch, after work or at weekends and to benefit from the physical activity involved. They can also benefit from the outdoor environment, growing fresh food, socialising with colleagues who share a similar interest and for some, learning new skills. In short, the allotment project offers staff a real opportunity to improve their health and wellbeing.”
Emma McGuigan, from FCFCG had this to say: “The Stormont Estate Allotment project is an innovative way of employers contributing to the wellbeing of their workforce. The Northern Ireland Civil Service is the first employer in Northern Ireland to participate in a work place allotment project, and I hope their participation encourages other businesses to consider rolling out this initiative to their employees.
“I would like to thank the Minister and the Stormont Estate team for all their work in taking this project forward. Minister Wilson has been very supportive from our first meeting back in February and throughout the process. Without his commitment and approval we wouldn’t have this opportunity to bring this project to life.”
25 individual plots and one community garden training plot have been created for staff at the Stormont Estate. The plots are about 40sqm in size, will be available for the production of fresh fruit and vegetables and will be accessible throughout the week into the evenings, all year round.