When you hear the words ‘climate change’, what comes to mind? As more and more of us are waking up to the urgency of climate breakdown and ecological collapse, we perhaps find ourselves feeling powerless and unsure of where we, as communities, fit into the solutions. For others it may not yet be on their radar, but what is for sure is that we need to be able to have these conversations and more importantly, work together towards the solutions in our local area.
North Halifax Partnership have been working with the new Climate College in Todmorden and All 1 Collective and Lab to think about ways we can involve local people and communities in climate conversations and action.
Following the success of Waste Not, Want Not event in Lee Mount for Halloween 2021, we were keen to host a similar event in Mixenden. Working in collaboration with local partners in Mixenden, together we held the Re:Mixy event on the site of Mixenden Urban Park on Saturday 18th June 2022.
Local public green spaces are key to our communities meeting the challenges of climate change – whether that’s through connecting with nature or having space to grow food – we were keen to hold the event in Mixenden Urban Park to promote it as a place where activity can happen and get people thinking about how this space could be used better to suit people’s needs. Mixenden Urban Park, a large green space tucked away in the Mixenden Valley, may be remembered by local people as a multiuse sports site, with its own bowling pavilion and green, tennis courts and basketball court, but latterly has been a little neglected. Although the bowling pavilion has long since gone, the site can still be enjoyed for its beautiful walks, natural environment and nature and the Hebble Brook flowing through. Although in need of some repair, the tennis and basketball courts are still in useable condition, and being fairly unusual facilities in North Halifax, are crying out to be used once again.
With huge thanks to the team and volunteers at Newground’s Greener Together Programme, who carried out a clean-up and groundworks to the park in preparation for the event, this is now possible. We were also incredibly grateful to Jodie from Community Support Services for helping plan the event but also in allowing use of the Addy kitchen and facilities.
The event was a great success with around 250 people attending throughout the day. It was also lovely to see people travelling to Mixenden for the event and hints at the possibilities of making MUP a destination to visit in Calderdale.
People were able to enjoy a free meal made from food that was otherwise destined for landfill, give their views on what they’d like to see happening at the park, take part in arts and crafts activities, meet local organisation, go on a bug hunt or a story telling adventure, try their hands at different sports and have their faces painted before leaving with a sunflower growing kit and a choice of plastic free products such as wooden toothbrushes, cellulose sponges or solid shampoo to see if this was a change they could make in their households. The feedback showed that everyone enjoyed the day and would like to see more events like this happening in Mixenden, with some ideas for how we could make it better next time. It was fantastic to hear people’s ideas – a community growing and cooking project coming out strongly – but also local organisations committing to make better use of this brilliant space for sports and recreation.
Here’s what our partners had to say about the event, their activity and the future of MUP:
All 1 Collective and Lab talked to the local community about what they would like to see in MUP and what would help them to use the space more often. Families were very keen to see more activities for kids held there ranging from football, arts and crafts, outdoor gym sessions and nature walks. Many would also like to see a play area for smaller kids and for the existing zip line to be fixed. There was also an agreement from many that the paths into the space aren’t currently accessible for wheelchairs and buggies and that building paths for wheels would enable lots more people to enjoy the park. Some local residents would like to see MUP as a focus of community action and think that this would really help with local people feeling more ownership of the park. Ideas for community action ranged from litter picks, wildflower planting, building paths and picnic benches. It was brilliant to hear so many ideas and enthusiasm for returning MUP to a space which people from Mixenden can make use of and enjoy.
Laura, a previous student from the Climate Challenge Course at Tod College and Paula, teaching assistant and outreach talked to people about the exciting free, yearlong course at the College which is focused on developing practical skills for the green economy. The course has 4 modules: sustainable building, food and land, understanding the climate challenge and Energy. If you would like to find out about this course starting in September 2022, please contact: email@example.com or call 01706 318 133.
“It was great to see so many people enjoying the outdoors and using the Mixenden Urban Park. This is a special spot in the heart of a fantastic community and it would be great to see this used more often. We will definitely consider how we can use the space for the young people who attend our Mixenden Youth Club” – Sam Harrison – Youth Work Coordinator, Newground
If you would like to get involved to influence the future of MUP, have an idea that you’d like to share or an activity you’d like to start, please get in touch with Natalie at Natalie.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07881952542 for advice, support and funding.