Upper Horfield Regeneration

Bristol Community Housing Foundation

Bristol Community Housing Foundation (BCHF) took a proactive approach to considering how open spaces in an area of high density housing could provide opportunities for children to play and families to interact. The idea behind creating a home-zone was to allow children to be able to play safely on the street outside their homes. It was however still felt to be important that young people needed a place to play.

Project Description

A play space was created at the heart of the estate which caters for children of all ages; there is sand and diggers for very young children and climbing apparatus and a small basketball court for older children. BCHF has developed a Young Rangers project to encourage young people to keep an eye on the park and develop projects to improve local community safety, including setting up a new weekly youth club.

At the top of the estate, a green space behind the communal facility has been turned into a community garden and many residents have taken part in growing fruit, vegetables and other plants in raised beds. The project has also engaged with local schools and community groups. It now provides over 30 large raised beds, a polytunnel and supports a small garden shop within the centre which we aim to help turn into a social enterprise.

The future

BCHF have now focused their attention on a larger open space on the western side of the estate, Poet’s Park. The park has been a focus for anti-social behaviour and many local people have felt affected. The park is owned and managed by the city council and a number of other social housing providers have property around it. BCHF acts as an enabler and has been working with Groundwork to match fund the Section 106 money that has already been earmarked for the park. This project has been some years in the planning and the consultation stage, including work with the Young Rangers group to ensure young people had a chance to have their say. Work will start in the park on April 1st 2011 as part of a major overhaul and update of the space and equipment.

All resident involvement work around the wider neighbourhood is part of a project instigated by BCHF called Pride of Place which aims to support and enable residents to have a greater say over the way their area is managed and developed. This project was started in 2008 and progressed to a national award from Keep Britain Tidy in 2010 for work done to improve Cleaner, Safer and Greener outcomes with local people – the first neighbourhood in the south west region to receive this. The group meets with partners each month to monitor and report issues and priorities and to organise local action.

Impact

The quality of the local environment is also much improved being more attractive for people, providing spaces for children to play safely and slower traffic on the streets.

BCHF housing in the North Bristol area is amongst the most popular in the city.

Budget

Various projects from £10,000 - £180,000.

Funding was secured from the Section 106 contribution from developers, Groundwork and BCHF. The open spaces were owned by the local authority and BCHF acted as an enabler to facilitate funding and community action.

Lessons Learnt

Start work early on the smaller schemes and take a bottom up approach involving the community. This helped to grow local confidence and trust to take on bigger projects which have taken much longer to come to fruition.