Eco Streets was developed by Groundwork Greater Manchester as part of the IGNITION project. The aim was to support communities to transform unused outdoor areas into exciting green spaces, which featured nature-based-solutions that help alleviate climate change.

Since the project launched, we’ve helped to transform 4 areas around Greater Manchester, with the help of some amazing community groups who are dedicated to making a difference.

We asked some of our Eco Streets community leaders for some advice about creating your own Eco Streets project, and here’s what they said…!

Start small

“Setting up a few pots or planters at home or in your alleyway is a great way to start testing how your project can work and encouraging others to get involved. One of the key things you need to consider is maintaining your space, so you want to ensure it is manageable and you can build up a team of neighbours who are all able to help each other”

Get landowner support early

“Sourcing landowner permission can be the trickiest part. Use the land registry, local councillors, council neighbourhood officers and housing organisations to help get you started, and make sure you do this as early as possible”

Team work makes the dream work

“Everyone can bring different skills to a project so make sure you grow a team around you and delegate tasks which suit different people’s skills and talents. It can be really fun and exciting at the start of a community project, but you can easily burn out If you feel like you are the main person leading or there are only a few of you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – posting on community pages to get extra helpers involved, and contacting people with specialist skills to get advice. Sharing out tasks with others helps them feel invested and part of the project”

Keep up momentum

“The first ‘tidy up’ day usually brings the most people, who are intrigued to see what’s happening and get involved. It’s important to build on that initial enthusiasm, setting up follow up action days to keep people interested and engaged, and to ensure the newly spruced up space doesn’t end up getting neglected. A WhatsApp group for people who have come along is key to keeping everyone in touch and rallying support”

Make time for self care and celebrating

“Importantly, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’.” It can be easy to get wrapped up in a project and some days might feel a bit overwhelming. Make sure to congratulate yourself on how far you’ve come and make time for celebrating what you’ve achieved!”