A Newcastle community co-operative is one of the more than 376 groups being considered for Skipton Building Society’s Grassroots Giving programme.
Greening Wingrove, a community interest company, was set up in 2012 by residents of Arthur’s Hill, Fenham, Spital Tongues and New Mills to bring about positive change in the area.
Set up in 2012 by a group of residents, the co-operative runs various activities to clean and green the local area and engage marginalised communities. It has also taken management of a previously burned out bowling pavilion in the local park and volunteers have refurbished this to create a community facility. Through its “reclaim the lanes” community events, the co-op has been engaging local bands, addressing street waste and fly dumping.
Over 2,000 people attended the events over the past three years, which also focused on growing of local foods. In the past the area had a reputation for high burglary rates and empty properties. The activities help residents get to know each other.
The co-op is run by a group of 150 volunteers. It requires £480 to extend the “reclaim the lanes” street events from the back lane to a front street 150 meters away. It plans to close off the streets for four events across the summer and organise live music and kids play activities such as hula hooping, street chalk and cleaning/ growing in the street planters. The money would be used to cover the time of two youth workers per session (2x £60).
It says these activities “are beginning to rebuild community in a part of the city that has, in the past, had a reputation for high burglary rates and empty properties.
“By concentrating on fun and positive activities we aim is to build relationships and encourage neighbourliness. This can begin to be seen in the front yards of terraced properties in our area where residents, through our ‘vertical veg’ street growing activities, have started to grow food and take ownership of outdoor spaces.
“An effect of this has been that residents talk to each other and get to know each other in what is a very transient area. Some residents are informally adopting street planters and beginning to challenge negative behaviours such as littering and anti-social behaviour.”
Now in its sixth year, the Skipton Building Society scheme has supported over 800 community groups with grants of £500. This year the building society has received a total of 743 applications.
The winners will be decided by public vote, with 165 pots of cash to giveaway. Voting is open until 12 October with the winners due to be announced in November.