Flower power – How ‘greening’ their road is bringing a Bournemouth community together – Livability

Type and press "enter" to search

Flower power – How ‘greening’ their road is bringing a Bournemouth community together

Social isolation and loneliness are big challenges that Livability is determined to tackle – and sometimes it’s the small things that get people out of the house, working together and building their community. In Dorset, Livability is part of a network of community-focused agencies called the Poole Conversation, who are actively living out community cooperation. Social isolation is a key focus for the Conversation members, and at a recent gathering, local mum Kate shared her story.

Kate lives on a busy road in Bournemouth, postcode BH12, which is used as a cut-through by drivers. The road’s traffic islands feature 20 concrete planters – but sadly, without any plants. ‘Since having my daughter, I’d be walking up and down the road a lot more,’ says Kate. ‘It was just very sad and dreary. There are no front gardens or street trees and I thought it was a big missed opportunity. There were lots of complaints about the planters but no resource to do anything.’

Changing the planters – year by year

Year one, Kate and a friend started small, by sprinkling wildflower seed in some of the planters. They also planted two trees ‘and immediately it looked nicer,’ Kate remembers. The BH12 Planters project was launched.

Next, in 2017, she launched a Facebook group and asked for people to donate plants and join in a planting day. ‘People joined in – mainly families with children, and a retired lady came along on her own, and did tons. One man invited us to raid his garden for plants when he was moving.’ The result? – ‘It was looking a lot nicer’.

In 2018, Kate applied for a snappily-titled Community Infrastructure Levy Fund: ‘I work for the council so I understand how this works. We’ve applied for a £1,000 grant to spend on plants and tools, and I’m really hoping we’ll be successful.’

Growing connections – the difference BH12 Planters makes to the community

When they put flyers through local doors for their first litter pick, three new people turned up to help. Monthly gardening sessions are posted on Facebook for the coming year, and BH12 Planters is encouraging local people to adopt a planter – ‘help to plant it up, water it and do a bit of weeding’.

‘The most valuable thing has been making connections,’ says Kate. ‘Other than my immediate neighbours, I didn’t know anyone in the road before the project. Now I know quite a few. It’s a little bit of community cohesion. The road is quite busy so there aren’t many places to linger other than by one big planter. We’d like to make that more of a focal point going forward – maybe join in with some Big Lunch type events.’

Kate’s hope is that all 20 planters in her road will be planted up, and the scheme will be replicated by people in neighbouring roads. Her advice to anyone interested in trying something similar? ‘Contact your council and speak to the customer service or advice desk. They should be able to point you in the right direction for guidance and help on a scheme like this.’

Example title

‘The most valuable thing has been making connections,’ says Kate. ‘Other than my immediate neighbours, I didn’t know anyone in the road before the project. Now I know quite a few. It’s a little bit of community cohesion. The road is quite busy so there aren’t many places to linger other than by one big planter. We’d like to make that more of a focal point going forward – maybe join in with some Big Lunch type events.’

Support

‘The most valuable thing has been making connections,’ says Kate. ‘Other than my immediate neighbours, I didn’t know anyone in the road before the project. Now I know quite a few. It’s a little bit of community cohesion. The road is quite busy so there aren’t many places to linger other than by one big planter. We’d like to make that more of a focal point going forward – maybe join in with some Big Lunch type events.’

Isolation

Leave a Comment:

Send this to a friend