Idea: Network of ‘rewilding’ pocket parks
Local growing and green groups work with schools to adopt underutilised spaces in the Town Centre for growing projects. Creating green spaces, softening the public realm and effects of traffic, with a ‘rewilding’ approach reflecting the area’s rural heritage and surrounding green space’s identity, such as Hadley Green. Opportunity to include the copse area outside High Barnet tube station, and involve the community as part of the TfL redevelopment of the station.
Why it is useful:
- Improve pedestrian experience and town centre appearance
- Opportunity to extend existing education programmes around Urban Wilding, and psychical and mental health growing projects onto the high street, for example, Barnet Environment Centre and The Totteridge Academy city farm
Who needs to be involved:
- Local growing groups: Lead
- Council: Support – promoting, assisting with access to plots and funding/site owner
- Town Team: Champion through promotion and local engagement
- Other site owners: TfL, churches, schools, hospital, police station etc
How to get started:
- Test local support and interest in volunteering
- Work with the council to identify opportunity sites that could be adopted through council ‘Adopt a place’ scheme
- Work with other potential partners/site owners, e.g. TfL
- Prototype on a prominent site to catalyse local interest/involvement
- Funding potential: Relatively small amount needed for equipment and plants etc. could be cross-funded from other projects, e.g. through a Town Centre Community Fund. Also, the Barnet ‘Adopt a place’ scheme offers support, materials and tools from the council. Presume TfL would fund improvements to their site.
- Site Ownership: Where council-owned, use the ‘Adopt a place’ scheme
- Location: Multiple around the town centre, identified by the local community / green groups
- Resource: Requires volunteer time and gardening / horticultural skills. Similar projects meet monthly and have an individual or small group responsible for leading the projects. Use Volunteer Barnet as a resource to advertise roles.
Example: The Norwood Bzz Garage
Residents, with the help of the depot managers, converted the forecourt of a bus depot into a flourishing community garden with bee-friendly flowers and edible plants. Initially, the idea was to improve a 10m2 patch of weeds beside the pavement, and in the end, the community was given 250m2 to work with. The project is a locally loved success story, having brought local people together to improve the streetscape.