Wildflower Alley is a triumphant tale of urban regeneration.
In an area of Belfast that has been in decline for two decades, residents have joined forces to transform a neglected alleyway into a beautiful wildflower haven. After the alleyway that backed their houses was gated off by the council, thirty-four houses took part in this incredible community-led regeneration. Within six months the residents, mostly over 40 years old, had developed a garden space using recycled materials.
The alleyway now has flowers, wall mural, brightly painted gates and fences, cobblestones, relaxed seating, bird feeders and hopscotch. Their long term plan is to begin planting up the streets too.
Wildflower Alley has had a recent upgrade with the addition of a rain absorbent surface. They were chosen by a Local Government Department who were seeking to develop a community project and provide sustainable drainage under the Sustainable Drainage Scheme (SUDS). This meant they got the entire alleyway and part of the street resurfaced for free.
The project acts as a small slice of paradise in the city, and the benefits of the residents’ hard work extends beyond the aesthetic: Wildflower Alley is also a concerted effort to curb negative behaviour and crime, as well as helping with urban drainage and reducing the risk of flooding.
But with all of this, they still feel that their greatest achievement is the creation of a real community spirit.