7 Aug 2017

Transformed by community spirit

We explore four fantastic spaces that have been spruced up thanks to the hard work and vision of the local community.

Everybody knows about a spot in their local area that could do with a little TLC, but what if we stopped thinking about its potential and did something truly brilliant with it? That’s exactly has happened in these community spaces, which have been transformed into vibrant hubs for gardening, farming, public art and (best of all) socialising.

While some of us might not even recognise our neighbours in the street, these spaces are great ways of bringing us all together to engage in some good, old-fashioned conversation. This year, as part of our Make It Happen campaign, we’re encouraging everybody to get off the sofa and out into their neighbourhood. So why not pop along to one of these spaces and be inspired?

Rainbow Community Garden.

RAINBOW COMMUNITY GARDEN

1 Levisham Close, Endike Lane, Hull

What was once a forgotten piece of land on a north Hull housing estate is now a thriving community garden, thanks to the hard work of local lady Jeannie Webster, a resident of over 40 years who recognised the space’s potential back in 1998.

Today, the Rainbow Community Garden is a hidden gem on the estate, bursting with plants, vegetables, salads, herbs and wildlife. Managed by 10 eco-warrior volunteers and two part-time members of staff, the garden is frequented by local residents, schools and social services users who spend time volunteering, learning new skills and getting to know each other.

Jeannie and her team are keen to encourage amateur gardeners and growers into the space and has plenty of creative ideas for the future. She said, “We’ve known for a long time that people want to grow their own vegetables. We have a small growing area, but people want to go a step further and increase production which is great. We’ve also been speaking with a local artist about incorporating art into our garden and hope to add a mural to brighten up the area later on in the year.

So why not give the Rainbow Garden a go? Whether you fancy volunteering or just want to have a nosey, the gardens will be open to the public on 9 and 10 September from 11am-3pm as part of this year’s Heritage Open Days.

SYCAMORE COURT RAINBOW GARAGES

Sycamore Court, The Parade, Park Grove, Hull

Princes Avenue is a bustling, diverse community. And what better way to celebrate this than by sploshing rainbow-coloured hues across 21 of its garages?

Noticing that their courtyard was looking a little drab, Dave Bush and Rich Wilson got thinking about how they could jazz it up in a way that best represented local residents.

Dave explained: “We thought it would be great to do our own piece of artwork to celebrate City of Culture, while sprucing up the neighbourhood and celebrating diversity. There were 21 drab looking garages so we came up with the idea to paint them in the seven colours of the rainbow.

“The project was supported by local businesses, who kindly donated the paint and residents came together to be the artists and bring the creation to life. We hope that we may inspire other communities to get creative – this shows there are ways and means of doing things relatively cheap if you all pull together.

We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.

Terrace Enders. Photo: © Chris Pepper

TERRACE ENDERS

Turbo Systems and Half Way Pub on Hessle Road, Hull

Having been the home of Hull’s trawling community at the height of the fishing industry, Hessle Road is steeped in maritime history. Now it is being celebrated with two stunning murals thanks to the creativity and dedication of the Goodwin Development Trust, Hull Bullnose Heritage Group and local residents.

Standing proudly over the busy road, these vivid images were created by local artists Andy Pea, Sharon Darley and Lydia Caprani along with Belfast artists Kev Largey and Mark Evans.

Andy has a particularly personal investment in the project, as his father spent most of his life working on Hull’s docks.

He said,The Turbo Systems wall is where we are acknowledging the whole community and the lives of people who worked on Hessle Road.

“On the Half Way wall, we are remembering the lives of those that never came home. We wanted to make a wall for the boys lost at sea.

“For me it is a celebration of the Hessle Road community and fishing industry, and it is about remembering and celebrating the lives of those that lived on the street and trying to bring it all together in two amazing murals that will stand on Hessle Road for a long time.”

EAST HULL COMMUNITY FARM

Barham Road, Bilton Grange, Hull

Set up by Hull City Council, but very much run by local people, East Hull Community Farm is one of the city’s best kept secrets. With around seven acres of land, two gardens, greenhouses, animal shelters and a shop, stocked with fresh farm eggs and local produce, it’s hard to believe the farm is situated amidst a busy housing estate.

Easy Hull Community Farm is open to the public throughout the week, providing a friendly and sociable environment with plenty of chances to get involved. Whether you fancy volunteering or embarking on a course in horticulture, land-based animals or conservation, you’ll meet new people and get fitter and healthier along the way, right on your own doorstep.

Wondering what else you can do in your community in 2017? Our Make It Happen campaign is packed with ideas, from physical activity to community groups and learning new skills. Go check it out!

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