12 Jan Site Search On! Castle Black or Island Taggart?
A Happy New Year to you all!
Things at the Cauldron Community Educational Eco Village project continue to be progressing apace.
Currently we are very focused on finding a site in Northern Ireland to meet our needs and are exploring a number of potential avenues in this regard. We are very honoured to be meeting with Heather Thompson (Director for the National Trust in Northern Ireland), Billy Reid (Assistant Director of Operations) and Ian McCurley (Consultancy Manager of Natural Conservation and Heritage) on the 25th January to explore the possibility of the National Trust being able to provide the essential landsite needed for this inspirational and pioneering project. Wouldn’t the 93 acres of Island Taggart on Strangford Lough make a perfect site for an Eco Village? Or perhaps among the 2,000 acres of the Crom Estate in Fermanagh, a home for Northern Ireland’s first Eco Village awaits?
We also had a very fruitful meeting on the 7th December with Anne Donaghy, the Chief Executive of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and Head of Planning Paul Duffy. Anne was very supportive of our intentions and has recognised how beneficial this project can be and how facilitating us would “reflect positively” on her council area; in terms of “community development for social change, the provision of a hub for life-long learning; enriching the community economically, socially and culturally; promoting eco-tourism, culture and heritage; and providing a centre for peace and reconciliation.”
As such Anne has proposed a number of potential sites for us in her council area including the Magheramorne Quarry Site (aka Castle Black of Game of Thrones!) This site is actually owned by Lafarge Tarmac but they, as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility, have previously pledged to donate the 300 acre site to the council. As a thank you to the local community for the many decades, since 1794, that the quarry was in use and profitable. There has even been previous plans for an Eco Village at the site, including outline planning permission for a Low Impact Eco Housing development. As such Anne kindly wrote an endorsement of our Eco Village plans to Lloyd McNally the Lafarge Tarmac Regeneration Manager. The Cauldron Community is Coming! 🙂
On top of this Anne also has offered the consideration of St Patrick’s Barracks as a potential home for the Cauldron Community, though with other plans afoot, it may only be 30 acres available which may be too small for our requirements; we seek 65+ acres ideally. She also mentioned about the possibility of us linking into a rural development project in the Glenarm area, which would be fabulous, as the Glens of Antrim is such an Eco Haven of beauty. We are really pleased to have the active support of this Council along now with Derry and Strabane council in seeking to facilitate our project in Northern Ireland, with Mayo and Donegal Council representatives offering support from the Republic of Ireland too!
We are also really pleased to have the continued and active support of Charlie Fisher the programme manager of DTNI who has advocated our cause to Scott Wilson of the Strategic Investment Board (SIB) ref the provision of a list of all available Community Assets in Northern Ireland that may meet our needs. The 777 acres of Ballykelly Army base in Derry may yet have an Eco Village.
We are also really pleased that Eco-Schools NI manager Carmel Fyfe, with the approval of CEO Ian Humphries of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful has affirmed to us on the 8th January 2016 that “Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful seek to set up a formal affiliation with the Cauldron Community Educational Eco Village as part of our work to cooperate with other organisations who share our values and vision.” We are very passionate that our Outdoor Eco Education Adventure Park is second to none in working with the 10 topic areas of Eco-Schools in providing a fantastic interactive learning environment for all children aged 1-111.
Emma Pengelly our new Junior Minister and DUP MLA for South Belfast also showed her support for the Cauldron Community at a seasonal meeting in the South Belfast Social Enterprise Hub on the 11th of December. We were really impressed with Emma’s refreshing and progressive enthusiasm for positive developments in Northern Ireland. Emma kindly recommended to us the “Together Building a United Community” initiative as a potential source of funding for us, gave a number of other helpful pointers and promised to keep in touch. We are very happy to work with all of the politicians in Northern Ireland to ensure that the Environment is celebrated as an area of vital shared heritage and importance.
We continue to work closely with the indomitable force of nature that is Andrew McMurray of NRG Solutions and his latest venture into setting up Northern Ireland’s first Co-Housing Project. Representatives of the Cauldron Community attended the meeting on the 25th November in the Agape Centre and John-Paul Patton the Cauldron Community Coordinator will help co-facilitate the next meeting on 13th January. The Cauldron Community is very keen that a Co-Housing system is central to our Eco Village living arrangements.
We also held a very fruitful Cauldron Community Aspiring Residents Meeting in Belfast on the 12th December and formally appointed Lorraine Montague as Assistant Director, Alessandro Crapanzano as Treasurer and Maite McLoughlin as Secretary of the Cauldron Community. John-Paul Patton was also reaffirmed in his role as Director and general Coordinator of the project. Numerous other Aspiring Residents also took on a range of assistant roles and tasks to help move the project forward as a dynamic team. Go CC!
Do you have or know of anyone with 65+ acres of land that would make a perfect home for our Eco Village? Get in touch! Are you someone who would be interested in living in our Eco Village? Get in touch! Are you an ethical investor who recognises the economic, social, cultural, as well as Environmental, potential of this project? Get in touch!
Be part of the solution…