Dublin, Friday, 26th April, 2013:
Work got underway this morning on transforming waste ground at a Dublin inner city housing unit run by the Simon Community into a designer garden which is the brainchild of students from a local secondary school.
The Garden of Hope project at the Simon High Support Housing facility at Sean MacDermott Street will take shape over the coming week thanks to the work of volunteers, gardeners, students from Larkin Community College, the US Embassy in Dublin, working in tandem with Localise, an NGO which focuses on encouraging young people to actively “give back” to their community.
Working to a design crafted by award winning gardener Diarmuid Gavin, the volunteers, including a team of skilled craftspeople put together by Mr Gavin, will work over the next seven days in turning the waste ground into a tranquil place which the long term residents can enjoy.
Derek Cleary, director of Localise, thanked everyone for their help and dedication. “The students at Larkin are a bright shining example of teenagers who see the value of positive action and of giving back to their community. It has been a pleasure helping them on this and other projects over the years. They are just one of about half dozen schools which we work with and where we know that with such energetic and positive students, our country has a great future.”
Dairmuid Gavin said: “When the US embassy asked me to help I was only too pleased to get involved. It is a really worthwhile project which will provide a beautiful oasis of calm. I am very grateful to gardeners, landscape artists and others who have given freely of their time. It has been great also to utilise parts of exhibits which have been on display at the Chelsea and other flower shows. I can think of no more worthy setting for such exhibits.”
Eoin Lee Blay (16), a third year student at Larkin Community College, said: “Simon housing is part of our community. We traditionally provide gifts at Christmas. But this is a long term project that, I hope, will give joy all year round for many years to come when I and my friends have left school.”
Glenda Wright from Dublin Simon Community said: “Dublin Simon Community is extremely grateful to Diarmuid Gavin, Larkin Community College, Localise, the US Embassy and everyone involved in the Garden of Hope Appeal project. As one of our permanent, supported housing projects Sean MacDermott Street is provided for people who are, for whatever reason, unable to live independently. By providing a stable environment many residents experience an improvement in their physical and mental health. We believe the new garden will further increase the sense of belonging for the residents of this service. For many it is the first place they have had to call home.”
Work will continue throughout the coming week. It is hoped to complete the garden by Saturday, 4th May.