Posted on: 31/10/2023
A collaborative community project has seen an unloved area of Peterborough transformed into a beautiful urban garden - with help from dozens of students.
After a supercharged effort from local volunteers, the public space, which was overgrown with brambles and weeds, was turned into a pop-up pollinator park, designed to encourage and enhance inner city wildlife in just one day.
The project, which saw an install of five upcycled bathtub planters decorated by Peterborough students, was funded by Orton Longueville Parish Council who are keen to see run down areas regenerated and beautified.
This latest success for the team at Up The Garden Bath follows an incredible three years, which has seen the team upcycle and install over 60 of their unique, bathtub planters into educational facilities, residential care homes and community areas throughout Peterborough and Cambridgeshire while delivering their fun, interactive workshops to more than 15,000 people.
Co-founder of Up The Garden Bath, Dave Poulton, said: "We love these types of community projects. Not only does it give us a chance to collaborate with so many different organisations it also allows us to work 1-1 with the community.
“These projects make a real difference and it shows that through collaborative actions we can encourage social cohesion. These projects encourage neighbours to work together in a shared project that makes a real difference in their area. You can't have COMMUNITY without UNITY and these amazing projects help achieve that. Hopefully it will inspire others to pick up a trowel and ‘give it a grow’.”
One of the five bathtub planters installed on the day was decorated by adults with learning disabilities from Hampton Handy Crafts, part of City College Peterborough.
Sarah Lewis, hub co-ordinator at Hampton Handy Crafts, said: “It’s taken over two weeks to decorate with 50 of us. As soon as we said the planter was going to be in the community all of our supported people wanted to have a go with the paint!
“We hosted a fun day where we charged people 20p to put their handprint on the bathtub and we raised £200 for a new laser cutter.”
The other bathtub planters were created by students from schools around Peterborough, including Thomas Deacon Academy, Queen Katharine Academy, City of Peterborough Academy, St John Fisher and Marshfield School.
Selected students from these schools attended classes held by the Inspire Education Group, which teaches basic construction skills, and learned how to build the planters.
Mo Dhanji, head of technical construction and apprenticeships at Inspire Education, said: “To try and get the upcycled baths out to the wider communities we’ve been engaging school students - aged between 14 and 16 - at the Inspire Education Group. We’ve been building the planters together and so many of the students see these baths going into their own communities.
“We give the students the tools to build their confidence and autonomy to show them they can do it for themselves. But this project has opened up other aspirations where students can look at setting up their own businesses, getting involved in community projects and taking care of areas.
“We are really proud that we can facilitate this and work with the fantastic Up The Garden Bath who regularly pop in and show students what happens to their projects after installation and the importance of sustainability.”
Kez Palmer-Hayes, co-founder of Up The Garden Bath, added: “It’s so great to be working collaboratively to brighten up areas in our community. Residents love it when they head out of their front doors and they can take pride in their area. Once they’ve seen a space that’s been beautified, they want to take care of it.”
Volunteer, Mo Remond, helped to create the community gardens at Tower Street.
She was on hand to volunteer on 23 October with Up The Garden Bath’s award winning team.
She said: “Up The Garden Bath does amazing things around the whole of Peterborough.
“I love doing things for the community, when I retired from work we started our own street project in Tower Street, Woodston. It’s helped my health and sitting around doing nothing is not good for me. I need to get exercise and get fresh air.
“Up The Garden Bath has helped us out with the street project so when they said they needed a few volunteers for the day, we said, ‘sure, we’ll come along’!”
“I think if you keep these areas tidy and you let the community plant what they want to plant, then they see how lovely it is. There’s nothing nicer than looking out your window and not looking at big brambles and ivy bushes, you’re seeing nature, butterflies and bees.”