Gradus and Groundwork partner to dispel urban myths
WHEN contract interior company, Gradus, launched a design-led, contemporary carpet range called ‘Urban Myth’, it took the opportunity to take on some ‘urban myths’ in its own community in nearby West Gorton, Manchester.
Working in partnership with communities charity, Groundwork; Manchester City Council and The Guinness Partnership, Gradus provided an opportunity for the local community to have hands-on involvement in the creation of a pollinator garden; large containers filled with a diverse collection of pollinating flowers.
The purpose of the mobile biodiversity initiative is to increase the biodiversity of the residents’ local environment and to dispel the myth people don’t value green spaces.
Anthony Roberts, group marketing communications manager, at Gradus explains: ‘There’s a misconception that urban communities such as those here in West Gorton, don’t value the green space or green initiatives. However, as we’ve witnessed, that’s far removed from reality.
‘A project like this helps transform all-too-rare green spaces and by ensuring a variety of plants are chosen, we can breathe new life in to these areas. We’re also able to create multi-functional, multi-purpose green spaces that appeal to all members of the local community.
‘As a manufacturer that works closely with architects, we understand the role of the architect and architecture is changing. Riba’s update to its 10 mandatory CPD core curriculum topics highlights social purpose as integral to the role and responsibility of architects.
‘Architecture for social purpose is about understanding the social value and economic and environmental benefits that architecture brings for individuals and communities. The project at West Gorton is an exemplar of that, this resonates on a much deeper level, enhancing social spirit and fostering cohesion within the community.’
Gradus worked closely with Groundwork, a charity active in the West Gorton community, to make the mobile biodiversity initiative a reality and as Julie Hyslop, senior project officer, adds: ‘Through our work and projects like this, we’re able to maximise the space available and engage the local community at the same time.
‘Here in West Gorton, we’ve seen school children of every age passionate about the garden’s creation and its ongoing upkeep, whilst older residents have been enthused at the chance to get to know their neighbours better and spend more time with them.’
Local residents were actively involved in the creation of the containers in which the plants have been arranged. They’re wrapped with various educational messages to reinforce the value of the garden’s creation and its ongoing contribution to the local community.
Anthony concludes: ‘We’re looking forward to seeing how the project we’ve created here is cared for and enjoyed, as well as the contribution it makes to strengthening the local community. It’s certainly dispelled the myth such initiatives aren’t valued, and we very much hope to work in other areas of the UK to similarly make a difference.’
More information can be found about Groundwork’s community work in Greater Manchester at http://groundwork.org.uk/Sites/msstt/.