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Reclaim the Lanes

For anyone familiar with the West End of Newcastle the back lanes of the terraces are known to be an ongoing issue as regards rubbish. Working with our partners Greening Wingrove Community Interest Company we have been looking at ways to engage our local community in improving our environment; particularly in the back lanes.

Our vision is to see the lanes transformed into community spaces that not only look good but are used for community activities not just for rubbish.

To further this aim we worked together to pilot a series of six community events to see what would happen if we used the lanes as a community space. We offered a range of activities from photography, live music, food, art, circus, planting up pots, street games, parachute games - involving local people in the planning and running of the sessions. Our method was to advertise the sessions using our young people as a gateway into their families. Our target for the events was thirty which we exceeded from the very first session as fifty people participated and by the last one hundred plus attended.

A video was made, highlighting all the work that we did over the 2015 summer, painting the big picture showing what is possible. We featured quite heavily in Newcastle City Council's GAIA Project video Newcastle Stomp.

Plans for 2016 included further street sessions. In addition, Dr David Webb started a secondment from Newcastle University, focusing on developing engagement strategies for working with the different ethnic and cultural groups in our area, with particular emphasis on engaging with the different Roma communities using digital media.  www.ncl.ac.uk/apl/news/item/fundingsuccessforreclaimthelanes.html

In January 2017, a Reclaim The Lanes report was published by Newcastle University, which gives an account of the project and some of its key findings about alternative forms of practice, and co-operative and user-led forms of direct environmental action. The University also hosted an event for local authority and community enterprise workers, investigating how communities can be activated in service delivery, and debating how digital technology can help in collaborative working. The work of the Reclaim The Lanes project was one of the highlight presentations. 

Links to further information about the project are available on the Newcastle University website.


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