Living with Nature is a three year programme, funded by the Big Lottery, focussing on improvements to sites on Sheffield Homes land, which are all currently identified as Play Areas (although many have had old equipment removed in recent years).
The Trust is hosting two full time posts (one as a job share) as part of a partnership with the City Council, the University of Sheffield, and Sheffield Homes. The aims of the programme are to improve the play value of the sites, and to increase their biodiversity and value to wildlife.
This will be done through an intensive process of community engagement with local tenants and residents as well as existing community groups, to create a sense of local ownership of the completed facilities; increase social cohesion in the areas concerned; and to encourage people to be more involved in terms of the ongoing upkeep and positive use of their local community greenspace.
The design of the sites will be carried out in conjunction with local people and will create multi-functional green-space rather than “play areas” in the traditional sense of the term. These spaces will include a mixture of traditional equipment and elements of Natural Play, set amongst other features which encourage healthy use of the wider site by a range of people and groups.
The programme aims to introduce changes to the current maintenance regimes on these sites, to encourage better environmental practices and to improve biodiversity. It is hoped that by encouraging interaction with more ‘natural’ surroundings, people's awareness of the importance of nature to their physical and emotional well-being will be increased.
In all, 24 sites will be re-designed and have management plans produced for them over the three year period. Eight of these will be completed on site during that period, with an element of the capital costs coming from the Big Lottery Grant and from the North Sea Region ERDF Interreg IVb SEEDS programme; other funding for capital works will be sought by the team and local community groups over the course of the project, up until July 2014.
The eight sites to be completed are:
- Burnaby Crescent
- Dyke Vale Road
- Edward Street
- Grammar Street
- Jericho Street
- Philadelphia Gardens
- Randall Place
- Tannery Park