We all want to live in a place that makes us feel happy and in a neighbourhood we feel proud of.
Many of us think the outside of our homes are just as important as the inside. In Blackpool we want to work with our communities to support them to make the changes they’d like to see in their local area.
There are formal ways to transfer the care of space and land to communities however this can be quite a big and daunting task.
Transforming alleyway programme
The ‘transforming alleyway’ programme is designed to act as that first step into community activism and is a less formal and more supportive process, led by the local community.
The process is simple:
- Choose your space - This should be land or an area within the community you live
- Get in touch with us at email@example.com, tell us which area you’re interested in and provide a map of the area. We will tell you who owns the land, what the access rights are and advise on next steps
- Talk to your community – get people involved, share ideas and come up with a plan. We will provide a guidance document and some supporting templates for posters and leaflets. The more of the community you can engage the better and consideration should be given to the inclusivity of the project
- Share your successes – we’d love to hear about the amazing work you’ve done and celebrate your achievements
Case study - Belle Vue Strawberry Gardens
In August 2016 a group of residents came together in the alley for cake tea and for a walk and talk about what we had in front of us. We are very fortunate in that our alleyway contains strips of land with established trees. But these areas were being used for dumping rubbish and as an extension of the local tip.
Something positive emerged from our meeting – we formed a community action group with a common objective, to clean up, nurture and re-love the strips of land. We decided it was time to act before they got any worse and became a burden to the residents and the council.
We wanted to protect and bring back a sense of respect for the area we live in. So now we had our seed of an idea and we just needed to plant it. The transformation of the alley is still ongoing. Collective action of a very concerted type eventually cleared the wild overgrowth and rubbish that had accumulated over the years. Growing beds
were established by the various participants.
Friendly relationships have now become the norm. People now meet, eat and socialise not only down the alley but also in each other’s houses and gardens and nearby pubs and restaurants. As a by-product we have an active neighbourhood watch scheme, recognised by the police.
Crime and disorderly behaviour are all but non-existent. People now talk to each other.
Plans are afoot to continue and develop this warm, inclusive community with a view to bringing more residents, of any age, the benefit of good company and happiness.
Written by Angela Ogden, group representative