Blogging the news and views of Global Action Plan Ireland

Lynn Boylan: Community Project Coordinator

11th of April 2012

“In ode to National Spring Cleaning”

So the days are getting longer, the birds are busy nesting and we are busy cleaning!

What is it about the Spring that spurs us into donning the rubber gloves and scrubbing everything in sight?  Sofas get moved, windows get cleaned, curtains get washed it seems everywhere suddenly needs cleaning!

There is no definitive answer as to why people suddenly feel the need to clean with the arrival of Spring but it appears to be an international phenomenon.

In Greece they have a ‘Clean Week’ on the approach to Lent.  In the Jewish culture the spring clean takes place to coincide with Passover usually in and around April and in Iran they call their Spring Clean ‘khaneh takani’ which literally means shaking the house!

Even the medieval Europeans waited until the Spring to have their annual bath.  Yes thats right their ANNUAL BATH!!

Or the more Scientific of us may blame it on the body’s hormone melatonin which increases in winter making us sleepy but is reversed by the onset of longer days.

Whatever the cause, there is no denying that the smell of disinfectant is in the air!

But before you reach for that expensive, kills 99.9%, chemical filled bottle, spare a thought for the environment.  All those chemicals have to go somewhere and thats usually into the water supply, not to mention your skin and nose!  There are so many environmentally friendly products available now that work just as effectively and then there are the homemade products that are practically free!

Homemade Remedies:Try using olive oil mixed with a little vinegar to shine your wood like you wouldn’t believe!

And for an all purpose cleaner for showers and work surfaces a mix of 120 ml of vinegar and 60ml of baking soda into 2 litres of water will have you whistling while you work!

Now when you have ran out of corners to sweep and furniture to polish never fear, your Spring Cleaning needs can still be met by joining the Ballymun Tidy Towns and help to Spring Clean Ballymun.

The 1st April saw the launch of An Taisce’s 14th annual National Spring Clean Campaign

National Spring Clean encourages people to take pride in their local areas and to take action against litter.  Here in Ballymun the local tidy towns committee are organising clean up events as part of this campaign.  On the 24th April at 1.15pm there will be a spring clean around the Ikea area with staff from the shop and as many locals as possible.  The more people involved in keeping Ballymun tidy the stronger the impact on encouraging even more to get involved.

You know how good a clean house feels, imagine how great you would feel if the whole of Ballymun had a spring clean!  Go on! You know you want to!

If you would like to take part in this spring clean or in future clean ups please contact me, Lynn at the Global Action Plan Office 01-8625846.

 Eoin Craven: Community Gardener on gardening in small spaces

5th of April 2012

No Garden?…no problem! 

Go vertical-If you only have limited space…go up (think runner beans, tomatoes, climbers, etc)

Pots- big and small, window boxes, hanging baskets…even old tyres, banged up bathtubs, fishing crates and many other “scrap” containers can be used for growing a vast range of plants….and not just traditional flowers either!  Many fruit and veg. do very well in pots or other containers, for example, salad leaves, beetroots, herbs such as chives and sage, baby carrots, runner beans, tomatoes, strawberries even dwarf apple trees.

Think water-Containers and pots dry out much quicker than beds do, so, you need to keep them watered in dry weather. Mornings and evenings are best and rainwater is the Ballygowan of the plant world, so install a water butt if you can

Compost-Get as much compost, well-rotted manure or other well-rotted organic matter into your pots as much as possible. This will give nourishment to your beloveds and help the containers to retain more moisture…meaning less watering!

Choose Trailers-Trailing varieties of plants such as trailing nasturtiums, rosemary’s, cotoneaster and many more, give more plant for less soil…pumpkins look great sprawling out across your patio!

For more tips or advice please contact me on 01 862 5846

Go n-eiri libh! Eoin

Máire Hurley: Gardening Co-ordinator with GAP Ireland on a fruitful days labour with Volunteers from Accenture

Friday 9th of March 2012

On Wednesday March 7th last GAP teamed with Accenture (global management consulting, technology services..) and worked on developing a garden space for one of our local community groups, the Ashling project, in Ballymun.  The Accenture volunteers along with myself and colleagues worked hard clearing the garden site, and preparing a 50m section for the planting of a native Irish hedge row, no easy feat!!  It was inspiring to see the enthusiasm of the team of 12 volunteers. They have left a usable and valuable space for the local children for the future development and planting of this garden.
The volunteers visited other community projects such as the  Muck & Magic Community garden, the Ashling project, the Reco Youth center,  the Ecostore, furniture recycling, repaint scheme and  the recyclable projects.  A great opportunity for Accenture to see the valuable work that GAP does within the community and the positive supportive relationships we share with our social partners.
I will not sum the day up in one word, as it would not do the volunteers justice, but as the song goes, “what a difference a day makes”….and it certainly has to all of us!!
Thank you, Máire

InternBlog-Interning with Global Action Plan

Friday February 17th 2012

Having been with GAP for a month now I have been in a great position to see them organise, set up and start the 2012 Green Living Programme. There will be 5 courses that run throughout 2012 two of which have already begun. For me it has been really positive experience to see how different groups within the Ballymun community come together to learn more about what they can do to help themselves and the environment. With the two groups we have began by looking at waste management and how they can reduce their output, which in turn helps the environment and has money saving benefits. I look forward to the next few weeks to see what GAP brings to the sessions and how the groups use and take on board the new information. A thought to hold until next time “Most of us are familiar with recycle and reusing, but how often do we think of the third R – REDUCE? ‘Reduce’ is probably the most important of the three Rs because, if we reduced, it would limit the need to recycle and reuse.” 


Friday February 3rd 2012

A very lovely but cold Friday morning in Dublin and I am into my third week of placement with Global Action Plan Ireland.  I am working with GAP with a primary focus on Fairtrade and the Fairtrade Fortnight within the Ballymun community. Its really interesting for me as I studied a module about Fairtrade  at Univerisity.  I spend my time out and about and see how GAP get out into the community and work with others. I am also enjoying work with the Green Living Programme (GLP) Co-ordinator to establish the GLP for 2012. This programme is a great resource in aiding people to lower their environmental impact and it has increased my knowledge too! Thats all for now, will update again soon, until then…”Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”Dr Seuss


Joanna Gange-Harris is a Geography Graduate from UWE, Bristol, United Kingdom and will be interning with Global Action Plan for the next couple of months.