People driving change in Braunstone Gate

07 July 2015

Residents in and around Braunstone Gate in Leicester are getting the chance to transform their neighbourhood as part of the Braunstone Gate Local People  Project, with the support of charity Sustrans, Leicester City Council and People's Health Trust, using money raised by HealthBelief through The Health Lottery.

One weekend in June, local volunteers transformed a road space into a garden with games and interactive displays at Leicester's Riverside Festival. The idea was to explore what local people love about Braunstone Gate and the kind of things that the community could change. Festival goers of all ages stopped to enjoy the garden and came up with all sorts of ideas to improve the area, from changes in road layout to tree planting and water fountains, to more activities for toddlers and teenagers.

Over the last three months over 150 residents, street users and business owners have been involved through on-street events and meetings. Local people are now invited to join a new Community Forum which, over the next 18 months, will shape the plan for change. Examples of change could be to create community groups and events or to redesign their street and run trial street improvements to inform permanent changes in the future.

Local resident, Susan Ripper said: "I welcome any chance for us to be involved in the decision making in the area, as we are the ones that use it every day."

Charlotte Jones, Sustrans project co-ordinator commented: “Streets make up 80% of our public spaces in cities, yet we rarely feel that they are ours to use. We want to support the community in reclaiming that space, coming together to shape how it is used.

“The principle behind the Braunstone Gate project is to empower the community in transforming their neighbourhood into a place for everyone, whether that be for elderly people to sit and chat, for businesses to thrive or for families to play, as well as a place for all to travel through easily.
“A street is a community’s shared living room, and it should reflect the people that live and work there, I’m looking forward to working with the community as more and more get involved.”

Sustrans is working with communities throughout the UK to support them to rejuvenate their streets and neighbourhood, to create more space for the community to come together and for businesses to thrive.

John Hume, Chief Executive of People’s Health Trust commented: “The Local People programme is a unique opportunity to ensure that local people are genuinely in control of their local initiatives. It relies on the wisdom, experiences and skills of local people and supports them to make the changes they want for their community. ”

Leicester Council commented: “We want to gather people’s views on how Braunstone Gate might be improved and the demonstration at the Riverside Festival was a perfect chance for us to explore with the local community the sorts of things we could consider. It’s really important that we get lots of views on this so that proposals are generated by the Braunstone Gate neighbourhood and the local community takes a lead, so I hope lots of people will get involved.”


To find out more about the Braunstone Gate Community Forum, or to get involved, contact Charlotte Jones at Sustrans, by email or by calling 07833 057 595.

To see more pictures from the project, click here.

For more details about Sustrans work visit the Sustrans website.

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