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Challenge Fund 2015

The Challenge Fund
We love the Challenge Fund! It’s official. No messing about. We love it. The fund is administered by Northern Ireland Environment Link (NIEL) on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. Minister Mark H Durkan said: The fantastic response from shoppers and retailers to the carrier bag levy has led to a massive 72% decrease in 'single use' carrier bags.

"The carrier bag levy is very much the people’s fund. Last year I ensured that the money from the levy went back into the community through environmental projects. I have visited many of these projects and have been most impressed by the level of partnership between NGOs, local interest groups and schools to deliver environmental excellence across Northern Ireland."

AYW took part in three projects with Challenge this year.

  • Wet, Wild and Worth it - our own project, on our own sites with our own groups. This work develops each year and the fund enables us to educate the groups with learning disabilities in new subjects.
  • Benburb Wild Walks - This project was led by the Benburb Community Association who invited our Benburb team to create better access into the forest for the local community.
  • In the Shadow of Greatness - This was a partnership project with Lough Neagh Discovery Centre creating a tree trail along part of the shore of the lough at Oxford Island.

Wet, Wild and Worth it

ARC, Aughnacloy, Derrymore, Edenvilla, Loughgall and Seeconnell all explored water. This year, groups of adults with learning disabilities and care staff enhanced the habitats and sites on which they work by creating and renovating ponds and waterways . These bodies of water are essential to a sites; creating space for a unique biodiversity, acting as a visual focus for the landscape and are an invaluable source for education. The groups created or renovated these water spaces and learned about their interconnectedness with the site, on which they work, and its’ biodiversity.

See some photos

Benburb Wild Walks

Due to the success of our Bluebell walk project and the interest it generated in the village, we expect more people to visit the project area. The little Wood sits at the edge of a much larger forest with many interesting features including a Victorian Iron Bridge over the Blackwater River (which flows through the site), a Pinetum, Mill and Quarry. The access pathways though, are in a chronic state of dereliction.

The Benburb team fixed and maintained two pathway loops through the forest, and installed a new interpretive panel, giving them the opportunity to learn about the local biodiversity, learn pathway maintenance skills and giving local people safe educational walks in their local forest.

See some photos

In the shadow of greatness

"Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." Warren Buffett

The Oxford Island site is well visited and provides an opportunity to raise awareness about woodlands. This project aimed to better interpret these areas and encourage visitors to identify and understand more about native trees.

The Edenvilla team were taught to identify the various species in a designated stretch of woodland, and helped to undertake some woodland biodiversity restoration. Small areas were cleared of non- native species and new native species were added (particularly rarer native species like Whitebeam). Beautiful waymarkers with added tree names. (English, Ogham, Latin) were added to coincide with new interpretation boards, trail map, and fact sheet.

See some photos

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Website created and maintained by Craig McCarter < thecraigery@gmail.com>