Grassroots Giving 2017: Voting now open
Skipton Building Society’s Grassroots Giving community funding scheme is now in the final stages before we announce our winners on 7 November 2017. Voting closes on 13 October and this year we have a total fund of £82,000 to help small groups and organisations make a difference in their neighbourhood.
Whalley Range, Manchester
Whalley Rangers “Love Where We Live”. We do this by helping to take care of the leafy suburb of Whalley Range in Manchester.
Whalley Rangers started life in April 2014 with the Whalley Range Spring Clean. 150 local people got together to clean up litter from every single street in Whalley Range. Later that year we established a community garden and garden tool library (£8,000 value) with support from Manchester City Council’s Clean City programme. The following year we were successful with a Locality First Steps application to develop community ideas to improve our run down local shopping area, Withington Road. This consultation led to an action plan for “a more attractive, safer and vibrant local high street.”
We raised £4,750 for community led improvements including planters, a market, graffiti cleaning, a community/business crime reduction partnership and a successful campaign to get a bus service. The Withington Road Action Plan has been incorporated into the City Council’s Ward Action Plan, who have made improvements and increased street cleaning of the area. Planters and planted areas are maintained by our community gardeners.
This year we began our Fly Tipping Campaign in part of the ward plagued by the issue. In partnership with the City Council, but led by local residents, we cleaned up the back alleys of 19 streets know as “The Dukeries.” 65 Tonnes of rubbish were cleared up in 8 clean ups and there has been a dramatic reduction in fly tipping. We are now raising awareness to improve household waste management and introducing ginnel gardens. Our fly tipping campaign has resulted in Whalley Rangers being nominated for a Spirit of Manchester Award, one of three groups shortlisted in the collaboration category.
The Whalley Rangers has, until very recently, been organised by a single organiser/activist using a lively Facebook group. Funded projects have been organised and managed by informal action groups of interested local residents. The Whalley Range Community Forum have acted as fund holder for our grants with much help from their Chair and Treasurer. Our local City Councillors, Neighbourhood Officer and Police Community Support Officers are hugely supportive and the Facebook group has proven a very useful source for local issues and opinions.
This year has brought forward other local residents, who want to get more involved in looking after where we live. As a result, we adopted a constitution on 5th July 2017 as a community action group and are setting up a bank account so we can manage our own funds.
How would this funding have an impact on your community?
We are starting a new community garden in the grounds of a community social club in the heart of Whalley Range. This is an exciting venture for us as it is a beautiful and safe setting that is ideal for families. The social club committee are keen to develop their property as a community asset, for the use and enjoyment of local residents. For Whalley Rangers the garden will provide a central location for our garden tool library and base for our urban gardening initiatives.
Our aim is to create a garden that people can enjoy, contribute to and relax in. A garden that becomes a valued community asset for it’s social value. There will be some veg and fruit growing, but also plants for wildlife, for beauty and to enhance the grounds of the social club. We want to provide for young people too, and use the garden for social events and social projects. Local people will benefit from volunteering and enjoying the garden. The Carlton Club will have improved grounds and greater community involvement in the club.
Whalley Range, though a leafy suburb, is an inner city area with a diverse community, neighbourhoods with high deprivation and a high proportion of flats. Community gardening will provide opportunities for neighbours to socialise and to gain gardening skills and knowledge. It will contribute to community pride in the area and enable neighbours to get to know each other.
Our tool library will support neighbourhood gardening projects across the ward, such as the ginnel gardens we are introducing in the Dukeries, and the planters in our local shopping area. We’ll use our poly tunnel greenhouse to grow new plants for the garden and these projects.
We will use the grant to help establish the garden. We will need to buy timber for planters, soil, fruit trees and shrubs, seeds and items of hardware.
“The Whalley Rangers are neighbours and residents who get things done, clean their streets and transform where they live.
There is very little money, but lots of joy.” – Helene Gautier, Whalley Range Resident and Committee Member of the newly formed constituted group.”
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