Drumtara Community Allotments

A Community Allotment scheme which has bloomed into a Social Enterprise.

Located within the Ballee Estate in Ballymena, Drumtara received funding from the Department of Communities and Northern Ireland Housing Executive in 2016 for the development of a new community garden.

Out There Services completed an estate walkover with the Client and representatives from local resident groups and identified a plot of land that was subject to anti-social behaviour and fly tipping.

Out There began to produce outline designs that would incorporate a new allotment facility within the space available.

Throughout the process, Out There consulted with the Client and residents to ensure everyone was fully aware of the concept of the scheme.


Due to complex topographical nature of the site, there was a large civil engineering enabling works package to profile levels and gradients to make the site useable. Once complete, the main landscaping works commenced which consisted of:

  • Importing fill and hardcore to new levels
  • Construction of 33 Nr new allotment plots
  • Polytunnel installation
  • Timber pergolas
  • Raised vegetable beds
  • Individual sheds
  • Internal paved and unbound pathways
  • New site security fencing
  • Internal fencing
  • Paving works
  • Turfing and planting

Following on from the construction works, Out There provided their very own in house Community Horticulture Specialist to deliver a number of training days to teach residents how to use their allotments.

Training included vegetable and fruit planting, basic horticulture skills, jam and chutney making and a “Plot to Plate” initiative showing residents how to use everything that has grown in their lots.

Out There are a registered City & Guilds training centre and provided training for residents which included Level 1 in Practical Horticulture Skills, with many residents now working towards their Level 2.

These training sessions have allowed for a Social Enterprise to grow, with allotment holders selling their homemade jams and chutneys locally.

Drumtara has been hugely successful, and this pilot scheme is something we hope to develop across communities in the country.

"This project will help to regenerate and create a more vibrant community. Drumtara will be used as an example of good practice for other groups across Northern Ireland."

Jennifer Hawthorne
Head of Communities Northern Ireland Housing Executive