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We Love MCR & Groundwork GM announce winners of #EcoStreets project

Groundwork Greater Manchester launched the exciting Eco-Streets competition earlier this year. The competition provided opportunities to two Greater Manchester communities to each win £6,000 of funding, and dedicated support from Groundwork, to transform un-used, un-loved areas into vibrant, green community spaces.

When we heard about this innovative community-driven project that would align perfectly with one of our Stronger Communities Fund’s aims of “protecting and improving our open spaces”, we fell in love with the idea immediately! We pledged to double the funding available for City of Manchester projects, meaning two more communities will receive this transformational opportunity.

Our Marie, Groundwork’s Amy, & the Pioneer Quay team at their site in Castlefield.

A panel of judges reviewed nearly 50 applications from across Greater Manchester, scrutinising community need, group creativity and inclusion of nature-based-solutions tackling climate change. The 2 Manchester winners that we funded we can announce are:

  • Pioneer Quay – Deansgate-Castlefield

  • Pigeon Park – Longsight

With the two other Greater Manchester winners being:

  • Blooming Amazing Community Alley, Gorse Hill – Trafford

  • The Ginnel Garden, Edgeley – Stockport

Groundwork’s immensely experienced Landscape Architects and Community Coordinators will be supporting the 4 projects throughout the summer to design and install their new community spaces.

Marie O’Neill-Steinegger, our brilliant Grants Officer, was on the judging panel and commented:

“The last 14 months have really shown us how important green spaces are to communities. Having spaces which are outside in nature is so vital for everyone’s mental health, for general physical health and allowing communities to come together.” “It’s been fantastic reading all of the applicants’ stories and hearing about the great work happening across the city. It was great to meet some of the competition winners and see the inspiring plans they had for the spaces – we can’t wait to follow their progress and see how they develop!”

Amy Wright, who leads the project on Groundwork’s behalf commented,

“Funding for installing and maintaining green spaces can be hard to come by, and we’re so thrilled we’ve been able to support these 4 groups with the means to make their visions a reality. I can’t wait to work with the groups over the next few months and see these climate resilient and nature-friendly Eco Streets come to life.”

The Eco-Streets competition was made possible thanks to funding from ourselves, alongside our aims to improve lives and communities in Manchester, and the IGNITION project, an EU project which is looking for ways of funding more nature-based-solutions to climate change.

Details of the 2 winners we’re funding are as follows:

  1. Pioneer Quay, Deansgate-Castlefield, Manchester

Location: 371 Deansgate, Manchester M15 4UP (across the road from Deansgate-Castlefield Tramstop and Atlas Bar)

Lead Applicants: Sam Williams, Gary Rumens, Simon Lord

“We’re hoping for this space to become a community garden, a bit of a wildlife haven and hopefully a bit of a nature centre for local communities around the city centre.”

The Pioneer Quay project was founded by Samuel Williams, who noticed the lack of green spaces in Manchester City Centre, and wanted to create a community garden in the local area for people to safely come together and form a new sense of community following the Covid-19 pandemic. Pioneer Quay is a canal-side site based in Castlefield, which has been disused and neglected for a number of years. This funding aims to transform it into a real hub of community activity and a vital green lung in the heart of the city centre.

Funding Used for:

  • Raingarden and/or pond to help tackle flooding and increase biodiversity

  • Creation of a community growing hub – enhancing raised beds currently in place and growing herbs, vegetables

  • Green wall along the viaduct

  • Bird feeders and bug hotels

  • Composters and water butts to capture rainwater

  1. Pigeon Park, Longsight, Manchester

Location: ‘Pigeon Park’ Junction between Slade Road and Stockport Road, M13 0RZ

Groups: BeLongsight and Let’s Keep Growing

Lead Applicants: Jack Richards, Alex Macdougall, Juliet Davis-Dufayard, Mo Blue

“The two roads here are extremely busy with car traffic so, having a space that’s a bit more attractive to spend more time in will hopefully mean that people are wanting to travel by foot and maybe stop here to use the space for whatever they fancy, reading a book or just enjoying a bit more of what nature has to offer.”

BeLongsight are a group of residents who have been tackling flytipping in their community since 2016. Let’s Keep Growing is a community-led gardening project who have been

working on turning Longsight alleyways and other spaces into friendly, green havens for people and wildlife since March 2019. Together they have collaborated to transform ‘Pigeon Park’ into a vibrant community greenspace trialling nature based solutions to climate change.

Pigeon Park is the informal name for a prominent triangle of grass in the centre of Longsight, at the junction of Stockport Road and Slade Lane. It has gained its nickname on account of the flock of pigeons that congregate to eat the piles of discarded food that are left by residents and shoppers.

Funding Used for:

  • planting, rain gardens and hedges on the grass lawns to improve the biodiversity, support pollinators, and help mitigate air pollution

  • air cleaning plants like lavender as the park is on a busy junction

  • information panels and murals explaining the benefits of each intervention and natural play so that children take ownership of the space

We’ll be in touch throughout the Summer with updates on the Manchester projects!


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