An exciting new partnership between We Love MCR Charity and Groundwork has successfully awarded four local communities with the funds to transform unused areas and turn them into green spaces.
It comes after Groundwork Greater Manchester – the local branch of a collection of charities working to transform lives in the UK’s most disadvantaged communities – launched its ‘Eco-Streets Competition‘ earlier this year to provide local communities with the chance to win £6,000 of funding each.
After one of Manchester’s most iconic charities, We Love MCR, heard of Groundwork’s competition, it fell in love with the idea immediately and hopped on board to double the funding available for projects within the borough. This has meant four communities have now been awarded this transformational opportunity.
The generous donation is helping to bring more ideas to life and will equip communities with the skills to design, install and maintain natural features to create communal spaces.
A panel of judges reviewed nearly 50 applications from across Greater Manchester, scrutinising community need, group creativity, and inclusion of nature-based-solutions that tackle climate change.
The four lucky winners are Pioneer Quay in Deansgate / Castlefield; Pigeon Park in Longsight; Blooming Amazing Community Alley in Trafford; and The Ginnel Garden in Edgeley, Stockport.
Pioneer Quay is a canal-side site based in Castlefield, which has been disused and neglected for a number of years, and this funding aims to transform it into a real hub of community activity and a vital green lung in the heart of the city centre.
The team behind the transformation planned for Pigeon Park – which is the informal name for a prominent triangle of grass in the centre of Longsight that’s gained its nickname thanks to the flock of pigeons that congregate there – are hoping the space will become somewhere people will stop to “read a book or just enjoy a bit more of what nature has to offer.”
Blooming Amazing Community Alley is an unusual wide-sectioned alleyway that backs onto a primary school in Gorse Hill, where there’s been flytipping, contaminated bins and broken glass for many years – but this funding offers the opportunity to transform the alley into a creative and inclusive community space.
The Ginnel Garden in Edgeley is an intergenerational project that engages neighbours of all ages in growing, creating and spending more time together, and while some creative steps have already been taken to improve the space, the group are keen to create a climate resilient alleyway which could help to inspire other communities.
Speaking on the awarding of the whopping £24,000 funding, Marie O’Neill-Steinegger – Grants Officer at We Love MCR Charity, who was also on the judging panel – said: “The last 14 months have really shown us how important green spaces are to communities [and] having spaces in nature is so vital for everyone’s mental health, for general physical health and allowing communities to come together.
“It’s been fantastic reading all of the applicants’ stories and hearing about the great work happening across the city.
“We can’t wait to follow their progress and see how they develop.”
Groundwork’s experienced landscape architects and community coordinators will be supporting each of the four projects throughout the summer to help design and install their new community spaces ready for use.
“Funding for green spaces can be hard to come by, and we’re so thrilled we’ve been able to support these four groups.” Amy Wright from Groundwork Greater Manchester added.
“I can’t wait to see these climate resilient and nature-friendly Eco Streets come to life.”
Featured Image – WLMC