Thanks to funding through Better Start Bradford’s Better Place programme, the Neighbourhood Resource Centre in Ventnor Street now has a new beautiful outdoor play and garden space for the whole community to enjoy.
After extensive consultation and planning between Better Start Bradford’s Better Place team, the Centre and the local community, plans were put in place to improve the outdoor area at the Neighbourhood Resource Centre, but those plans had to be put on hold due to the COVID-19 restrictions and the impact the pandemic had on the construction industry. However, work finally began in May 2021 on an unused concrete area at the centre, where the bins were stored, to create a beautiful outdoor oasis for the whole community to enjoy.
The new area boasts an open play area with chalk boards, drawing boards and play mirrors on the wall, artificial grass, and an allotment space with raised planting beds and seating areas. The whole area is surrounded by metal fretwork panels, where the Islamic inspired pattern has been designed by mums from the local community. The walls have mosaics featuring the national flower of Bangladesh, the Shapla Lily, which was designed by the mums of a Bangladeshi Mums and Tots group who use the centre.
Humayun Islam, Project Director, Neighbourhood Resource Centre, said: “Our community are ‘blown away’ by this new outdoor area at our centre. Our new outdoor play and garden area will make a massive difference to our community. It will provide a safe space and probably the only garden space for many of our service users. This is the biggest thing ever to happen to our centre and will provide lots of opportunities to improve people’s mental health and well-being.”
Shazuna Ali, Project Worker, BEAP and creator of the Bangladeshi Mums and Tots Group said: “This outdoor space means that mums and tots have a safe place where they can not only come and enjoy the sensory play area, but get to be social with other mums and small children.”
Gill Thornton, Head of Programme, Better Start Bradford said: “Working with the Neighbourhood Resource Centre and the community has been such a positive experience for our Better Place project. Because we had that community involvement right from the beginning, it really helps us to design and implement schemes that suit specific community groups and means that each project is totally bespoke.
“No one else will have these specific features that this site has and this approach makes all of our Better Place projects extra special for the groups who use them. Together we have created a safe, beautiful space to encourage families with little ones and the wider community to gather together, play and enjoy the outdoors.”
Thanks to the renovation of the outdoors area, the Neighbourhood Resource Centre will be growing their own produce and cooking with it in Cook and Eat sessions. They will also be delivering outside arts and craft sessions and they will be running lots of fun outdoor activities for babies, toddlers and many other groups will also be able to enjoy the space.
During the building works, the centre recorded the progress on site at each stage and this has culminated in a 10-minute video which will be showcased at the Media Museum on Wednesday 29 September 2021.