Making an empty space a great place

Lorna Aherne
Lorna Aherne

Lorna Aherne joined Space Saviours because was so passionate about bringing back an old orchard to help make her estate better. Here she explains why she got involved with the project which was funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.

“The estate where I live, Court Farm, Cwmbran, was built 60 years ago but prior to this there was a massive orchard. When the houses were built in the 1960s the orchards were lost to provide a play park, including one in the middle of the estate. Over time the play equipment was removed and not replaced.

I joined Space Saviours in 2015 and went to all the workshops and met a lot of people and organisations who do so much great work. With help from Space Saviours I formed a small group solely for the estate. We were given a lot of support from Space Saviours and Keep Wales Tidy, who helped apply for a grant to plant 17 local varieties of fruit trees. Everything ran very smoothly with no hiccups. Bron Afon’s Youth team came along to help with planting, as well as local neighbours.

This project has been a great achievement. It has enhanced the estate and residents are delighted with the orchard. We are receiving support from local councilors to install benches. I would certainly recommend Space Saviours for projects as their experience and knowledge is invaluable. Without them, it would not have run so smoothly.

“This was a great achievement of which we are all proud”

I recently went along with the Space Saviours team to an awards ceremony in Cardiff where we picked up 3rd prize for tenant participation This was a great achievement of which we are all proud.”

Space Saviours is helping communities transform an empty space into a great place. Supported by Bron Afon Community Housing, United Welsh, Valleys to Coast and Tai Calon Community Housing, the project supports tenants and communities across four areas plan to change open spaces where they live.

In 2014 and 2015 it held workshops with partners including Sustrans, Keep Wales Tidy, Natural Resources Wales, The Urbanists, Play Wales and Tyfu Pobl and encouraged people with ideas to come along and discover how to plan their open space idea.

Following the workshops, Space Saviours matched Lorna with Keep Wales Tidy who supported her in creating a community orchard.

And Space Saviours’ natural play project in Wildmill, Bridgend, managed by Valleys 2 Coast was recently showcased at the Senedd as an excellent example of a social landlord supporting and developing their tenants’ ideas.

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