Residents from Pitt Street, Glodwick celebrated the opening of the Pitt Street community park in the glorious sunshine on Saturday 26th March. Two years ago, such an event would not have been possible due to the volume of litter on the site and reoccurrences of minor anti-social behaviour such as small fires. However, thanks to the work of The Ghazali Trust, Groundwork Greater Manchester, and Oldham Council the space has now been transformed to a green and vibrant community space.
The transformation began in early 2018, when charity organisation the Ghazali Trust undertook a consultation to understand what residents wanted from the unused space. The consultation highlighted that there were no places where people could socialise and that residents wanted a community space which could be used for recreation and pleasure.
In February 2021, Groundwork Greater Manchester secured funding from the Green Recovery Challenge Fund, which aimed to improve green spaces for the benefit of the environment and people.
Aware of residents’ aspirations, they promptly spoke to Oldham Council and the Ghazali Trust about being involved with activity at Pitt Street. By this stage, the ideas from the community consultation had been drawn up by Oldham Council and included cultural symbols, seating areas and raised beds for food growing.
In the summer of 2021, Groundwork started work on building raised beds for communal food growing. Working alongside Northern Lily and Get Oldham Growing, residents joined in a series of growing sessions, learning what would thrive, and when, in the raised beds. In the summer the planted herbs, potatoes, fennel, chard, and spinach.
In the winter months, when tree planting is recommended, the community planted a small orchard of 14 different fruiting trees, including apple, cherry, and pear.
In September 2021 Groundwork’s Landscaping Team began work on the main physical improvements, which included a large paved area, seating and new steps up to the seating area.
Taking part in the physical works were several Trainee Urban Rangers from Groundwork, who were starting their green careers thanks to funding from the Green Recovery Challenge Fund.
The physical works finished in February 2022 and following a short recovery time for the grass and greenery to bed in, the park opened to the public on March 2022, with the official launch event taking place on Saturday 26th March.
Over 40 residents attended the launch event, meeting up with neighbours and sharing games and craft activities. Groundwork, Northern Lily and Get Oldham Growing hosted a celebratory planting event, filling the raised beds in the seating area with soft fruits such as raspberries and blackcurrants, and planting sweet peas and lavender which attract pollinators to the area.
Local resident Amreen added,
“It’s been a brilliant project, there was a lot of mess before and everyone’s making a conscious effort to pick up now. Everyone’s getting together and they really want to know what’s going on. They want to keep the space clean. We’re really looking forward to using it.”
Francesca Sullivan, Community Project Lead at Groundwork commented,
“It’s been amazing to see the space transform so much! It felt like a non-space a year or so ago but now it’s almost a community farm! Everyone is really excited about growing their own food and meeting up more with neighbours. I’ve noticed there’s much more wildlife there now too. When I first started working on the site, I never saw any forms of life but now I notice bees and insects buzzing around. It’s great that the community have created a valuable stepping stone for nature.”