School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape

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Fenham Pocket Park inspires community change and progress

The group "Friends of Fenham Pocket Park" continue to lead community action among residents, local groups and organisations.

The Fenham Pocket Park was developed and officially opened in May 2016, following the research project DIY Streets (Fenham) led by Newcastle University researchers Armelle Tardiveau and Daniel Mallo. This project focused on engaging residents and stakeholders within the community to “help them redesign their neighbourhoods putting people back at their heart” – making their local area safer, more attractive and conducive to walking and cycling. This process led the group, along with the support of Newcastle University and the transport charity Sustrans, to seek additional funding -and after being granted £15,000 from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) - the permanent pocket park was constructed.

The community group take full responsibility for the maintenance of the pocket park; using guidance from their “plant guru” they continue to nourish the beauty of the park, they secure funding to finance necessary repairs, and organise an engaging events calendar to integrate local residents.

Since the opening of the park, the levels of community engagement have continued to thrive with Friends of Fenham Pocket Park pushing for future developments within the area, specifically the “hub” on Fenham Hall Drive, in between the swimming pool and library. The group takes an active interest in the up and coming changes to the area and hope to take part in the new health network which has formed around the Pocket Park itself. The project wants to see the expansion of green spaces in the area, as well as the formation of the new Service Recovery centre at the library.

This progress and growth within the community would not be possible if it were not for the teamwork and sense of community within this group. Their dedication is testament to the benefits that can be achieved through cooperation and coproduction.

Photographer: Damien Wootten

published on: 30 October 2018