Byker Community Planting was started by local residents during the pandemic. We now have the opportunity to take on a derelict plot of land on Byker Bank. We want to make it a safe space for residents of all ages, abilities and from different cultural backgrounds to grow healthy food for self-consumption. Any surplus food will be distributed through Byker Mutual Aid.
Plans for 2022 include:
Planting and growing activities for residents.
Free fruit, vegetables and herbs for participants, plus cooking tips.
Building planters from recycled materials.
Activity space for children's holiday activities.
Informal nutrition advice.
Signposting to training opportunities.
Distribution of surplus food through Byker Mutual Aid.
In the longer term we also want to offer:
Informal cooking classes.
A local market to sell some of the produce, cut flowers and handmade planters.
Small teams to help neighbours with garden maintenance.
Activity space for other local groups.
What we'll deliver:
- Transformation of 13.3m x 6m land into community growing space
- Transformation of former pigeon loft into space for woodworking and storage
- Outdoor cooking area with firepit and utensils
- Manual woodworking and gardening tools
- Selection of seeds and plants to start growing
- Planting and growing workshops
- Woodworking workshops (raised beds, planters)
- Wheelchair accessible path and handrails
Why it's a great idea:
As Byker residents we know that many of our neighbours have to deal with complex life challenges. Poverty rates are high (42% relative poverty amongst children in 2021). We know from experience that there is always substantial demand for free food.
This project will build on our existing knowledge and experience to
• involve residents of all ages and from different ethnic communities in outdoor activities;
• reduce isolation and further community cohesion;
• give them choice and agency;
• enable them to learn new skills;
• improve their physical and mental wellbeing;
• offer paid sessional work to residents;
• reduce food poverty.
Once up and running, the space will be available to use for other groups and different activities including holiday provision.
Steps to get it done:
- Repair and secure site - including installing new fence and building maintenance
- Recruit sessional workers and volunteers
- Ground work for removing rubble and dead growth from site
- Building and installation of raised beds
- Installation of pathways and hand rail
- Recruitment of participants
- Line beds and add soil
- Building of cooking area
- Planting starts
Our projects are designed to provide informal engagement and sessional employment opportunities to members of our community who are faced with multiple barriers.