We visited a project in Moss Side on Cranswick Square where they took a large back-yard area between houses, got it gated, and with little money but lots of hard-work transformed it. Previously it was disused, full of rubbish and needles, with houses backing on to the cobbled area having no front gardens and only small back yards.
With their housing association’s permission and only £7,000 they’ve created a beautiful and used space. However, it took a core of 8 people many many weekends of hard graft, ably assisted by other residents from time to time.
They’ve also put up lots of hanging baskets along the nearby streets (all watered by a couple of dedicated volunteers) and (with permission) put in some wooden boxes full of flowers by the trees, that have had plants put in at their base too. They have a small building which was already there, but they’ve re-clad it and had the asbestos taken out. Next year they’ll re-fit the inside of it and put on a solar panel. There’s a barbecue with two grills, so one can be veggie, the other meat; a bird feeding post; raised beds with big healthy veg planted in black plastic suppressing the weeds; benches by a grassed area, and picnic tables on a large area of decking. More kids’ and adults’ parties are beginning to happen as word gets around about the space, and they plan to put up signs and distribute flyers so that people know how to get the key to use the space. Thanks to Bill and Anthony for showing us round.
Here’s what the MEN wrote about it.
We then had a brief visit to the Aquarius Estate in Hulme, owned by CSM. They’ve had a few pocket parks created in areas that were formerly run-down and unused, plus raised areas previously grass have been planted up with a mix of veg and flowers. We met Morag who does most of the maintenance. It was really stark to see the area in the shade and the rain lee of a tree where both plants recently put in and weeds were both struggling.