On Friday night last (24th January) a special event was held in SEFF offices, Lisnaskea to mark the end of a Peace funded Project with a difference. A common interest of horticulture brought SEFF Allotments Group and Killycarney Gardening Group (based in West Cavan) together and relationships between the groups have been building for some 15 months now.
The Groups were funded via the EU’s Programme for Peace and Reconciliation (PEACE III) managed by the Special EU Programmes Body, administered by the South West Council Peace cluster for a ‘groundbreaking’ Peace Project titled; ‘Learning from the Ground that divides us.’
In a statement Kenny Donaldson, Director of Services at SEFF reflected: “On Friday night last a Report produced by Teresa O’Hare of The Orchard Acre Farm, Irvinestown was launched, and those present also listened back to the BBC ‘Gardeners Corner Programme’ which featured SEFF’s Community Allotments and the Peace Project between SEFF and Killycarney Gardening Group.”
“The ‘Learning from the Ground that divides us’ Project was an innovative approach to Peace building. Throughout this Island; Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, people have a strong attachment to the land and the ground. In fact many would surmise that it is ‘green sod’ and the ownership and control of that’ green sod’ that has been a significant factor in our disagreements over the centuries.”
Meanwhile Sandy Holland of Breffni Integrated continued: “Through gardening-based workshops facilitated by Teresa O’Hare and shared heritage trips in both South Fermanagh and West Cavan, the Project provided the means for allotment holders and gardening enthusiasts from across County Fermanagh and West Cavan to come together to learn from one another, to build mutual confidence and trust as well as sustainable relationships.”
“Killycarney Gardening Group (mentored by Breffni Integrated) and SEFF share the same ethos that the most sustainable peace building occurs when those from diverse cultural backgrounds are brought together through a shared interest or love of a particular subject matter and this proved to be the case with this Project. Both organisations are delighted with the Project outcomes and are in discussions around developing a follow-on Project which will build further on the relationships that have been forged. Participants from both groups are to be commended for their openness and commitment levels which they demonstrated throughout the Project.”