James McCourt photographs a field in Oldpark, Belfast that’s become a temporary solace for the area’s motorbike-riding youth
Words by James McCourt
It’s Saturday morning. A squad of lads arrive with their motorbikes to race around the field.
Many of the residents of the area have moved across Belfast due to violence between Catholic and Protestants. Located next to the peace wall in Oldpark, these local teenagers gather in the area to race their motorbikes around the field. The Belfast city council are to commence work to uplift the housing estate, transforming the abandoned houses into family accommodation. With the transformation of this area these teenagers will lose their place of solace. A field that deters criminal activity and allows the youths an escape from reality.
‘It’s only a matter of time mate. Don’t know where we are going to go like’.
James McCourt photographs the Garden of Hope – an urban farm situated within a housing estate in West Belfast, providing a family community with a sense of pride and purpose
Words by James McCourt
Regarded as an area of deprivation, statistics from the End Child Poverty Campaign (2013) stated that “43% of children grow up in poverty in West Belfast”.
The St James’ area of West Belfast is home to the ‘Garden of Hope’. An urban farm situated within a housing estate. To the children, this is an escape from the banality of the everyday, giving the community and the children a purpose. The items used within the farm are donated by the local community; each item has a sense of place.
Following the conflict within Northern Ireland, this small yet family orientated community, are in the latter stages of redevelopment.
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