In 2019, neighbours from Beaconsfield and Knowsley Roads got together one sunny Sunday afternoon to clean up their much neglected alley way. About twenty people of all ages worked together to pick up litter, report fly-tipping and cut back weeks. We even fixed some dog poo bag dispenses to lampposts. We set up a WhatsApp group and started planning how to make our alley into a beautiful shared, communal green space. We went on to organise further clean-ups, a Halloween party (with a guest appearance from Kett’s horse) and a rather chilly Christmas get together.
During Covid, we were grateful to have the WhatsApp group so we could connect with our neighbours but the plans for the alley slowly ground to a halt. For a while a few of us kept things going: we painted fences bright colours, put out pots of herbs and geraniums and Knapple paid us a visit to cover a disused utility box with her signature pineapples. Many of our neighbours had drifted away from the project, it had been a hard few years and people were focused on other things. With only a few of us left, all we could do was keep the alley from getting too messy and we shelved any more ambitious plans.
That was until a recent conversation with our local councillor Gary about biodiversity corridors reignited our enthusiasm! The alley ways of NR3 are perfect for this; there’s space for planters and we already knew we could grow herbs and flowers in pots, plus plants like borage and mint often spring up naturally. By joining the Pockthorpe Community Group we can look at getting larger planters to grow vegetables and bee-friendly flowers. We hope that our alley will inspire other roads to do the same so we can have a network of green spaces, where neighbours can meet and children can play safely.
If you would like to get involved in our alley project then pop along to our next alley day of action on February 26th, details to follow on Facebook.
Alley Way Project blog post by Amelia.
We found this inspiring news article on what other areas have done with their unloved alleyways. This street in Manchester has done an awesome job! It’s now friendly and inviting. It can’t help, but make you smile- The Inspiring Residents Transforming Gorse Hill’s Forgotten Alleyways into Stunning Green Spaces