Basing Hill Park is a small public park in Childs Hill, Barnet. The area was previously overgrown with thick brambles, stinging nettles, old tree stubs and was often water logged during the rainy season. The park’s rundown state attracted high levels of anti-social activities, which meant residents could not enjoy the area of the park.
The Hope of Childs Hill (THOCH) received funding from the Our Space Award to reimagine a section of the park and transform it into a relaxing area for public users. In order to create a high level of community ownership, the group were very active in spreading the word about the project. In doing so THOCH engaged 45 volunteers to take part in the development of the project.
When asking Anthony Dawodu, Project Lead, what the most rewarding moment within the project was, he said:
Seeing very isolated and lonely senior citizens getting involved was refreshing, but one of the most rewarding moments was when a handful of youths (16-18) unknown to us, stopped to assist us lay out and pin the weed suppression membrane. They mentioned they had watched us clear the area over the last couple of weeks and were impressed with the transformation.
Anthony went on to say that if he were to offer advice to any future Our Space Award applicants, he would say: “Ensure you go back over your initial plan. If you find that change is needed, ensure you have support and all hands on deck to assist in implementing them.”
Although the project was a great success, THOCH found that they had to overcome a few challenges along the way. For instance, the long summer heat wave and encountering 6ft+ stinging nettles and deep root stubs meant that the project was significantly delayed. THOCH adapted by liaising with Barnet Greenspaces Team, Groundwork, and the volunteers to revisit their ideas and change them according to general consensus. Despite the challenges, the group managed to clear an area 50 meter by 12 meters and transform it into a usable space for all to enjoy.