As part of David Orr’s ‘2017 Housing to-do list’ he singled out effective partnership working. This was music to our ears here at RHP as we’ve been making the most of building corporate partnership relationships for years. This is particularly the case with our outdoor communal space regeneration projects. The results of which have supported our aim to help develop stronger communities with customers enjoying time in these spaces together. There have also been additional benefits including lower levels of anti-social behaviour (ASB) and fly-tipping. Here are a couple of highlights.
The Marlow Crescent ‘Pocket Park’ project had been in the works since 2010. The communal park in Twickenham was so overgrown that the brook that runs through the site couldn’t be seen. Due to the condition of the park ASB, dog waste and fly-tipping were all issues. We knew we wanted to turn the space into something our customers and the wider community would love. It was when Groundwork, a well-established environmental organisation working extensively on regeneration, got on board in 2014 that the status of the project was elevated and we could get the regeneration project completed. On top of the £8,500 we donated to the project Groundwork helped us secure an additional £45k from the Heathrow Fund and the GLA. Groundwork also helped us secure the right landscape architects and contractors for the project.
Fast forward two years and the new park has been in use for just over a year. Not only is it a space that our customers take real pride in but it has also helped build community links, with regular communal plantings and get-togethers taking place. Additionally reports of ASB and fly-tipping have all markedly lowered. More effective partnership working is in the pipeline, this time with Richmond Council who’re looking at building a bridge cross the brook to improve access links.
Another outdoor transformation success has been our Addison Road playground regeneration based in Teddington. Similarly to the past Marlow Crescent park situation the Addison Road playground area was run down and disused. Once again working with Groundwork as well as the Tesco Community Fund the project was able to gain traction. With a shared investment of £170k from RHP, the London Marathon Trust and Tesco we were able to redevelop a dilapidated sports cage, build a new play area and fully landscape the surrounding gardens.
Additionally we put together the Addison Road Community Group of residents who met to talk about what they wanted to see in the new area. We then collated this feedback and implemented it in our final plans. As a result this has helped bring the community together. It’s also been great to see that customers who are friends of the residents of Addison Road have been regularly travelling to the playground from all across the borough. Community events are often held at the sports ground with children’s sports clubs proving to be especially popular.
Liz Cronin, a Landscape Architect at Groundwork London talks about her thoughts on partnership working stating: “Through effective partnership working we create environments where communities can prosper. Partnership working is at the heart of all of our work and through which we achieve excellence in service delivery. Our landscape design ethos is based on involving end-users in all elements of the design process to help create more cohesive, integrated communities that feel ownership over their neighbourhoods. We forged a strong partnership with RHP to develop and implement plans for open spaces improvements. Residents are delighted with the results and are enthusiastic users of the upgraded facilities.”
In a moment that demonstrably ties up effective partnership working, Tesco Community Fund met a young customer at an Addison Road playground event. The customer’s mother told of how her daughter, who has severe autism, had been coming to the playground regularly and that she’s seen a dramatic improvement in both her daughter’s behaviour and social skills. This young customer met members of the Tesco Community Fund at the event as is being supported by them in her dream to becoming a professional footballer. To use a relevant analogy, yes, effective partnership working might be a game of two halves but get it right and it can be an instantaneous back of the net.