Somerset Art Works successfully gained a Pocket Park grant to work with the communities of North Taunton and Taunton Deane Borough Council to improve and refresh a run-down play area known locally as ‘The Cage’. Through wildlife-friendly planting and community engagement activities we hope to transform an ugly, underused public space into somewhere that can be enjoyed and appreciated by all ages.

The ‘Cage’ came down, groundworks were completed and during the summer of 2016 a programme of creative community engagement activities took place.

Geography and Science students from Taunton Academy worked on planting with Sarah Langley, with added wildlife expertise from Somerset Wildlife Trust. Artist Simon Ripley worked with art students, designing and painting the tarmac at the park.

A family friendly community event took place in August with craft activities and refreshments.  The official opening on 14 September 2016 was a celebration to thank everyone involved in the transformation from ‘Cage’ to Pocket Park. Award winning landscape and garden designer Sam Ovens was Guest of Honour alongside residents, councillors, partners, students, volunteers and friends.

Local residents wanting to find out more, or volunteer to help with planting and gardening, please contact info@somersetartworks.org.uk

Update for 2017 – Blackthorn Gardens Pocket Park

Somerset Art Works is delighted to gain further funding from the Postcode Local Trust to enable more community improvements at the Blackthorn Gardens Pocket Park.  Taunton Academy students will be involved in planting workshops and creating attractive designs to brighten the place up.
On Saturday 12 August 2017 we will be holding a Community Open Day at the park between 11am and 4pm, free refreshments and activities, come and see what we have been up to, join in a bit of gardening (optional) and meet your neighbours!
Blackthorn Gardens Pocket Park (formerly ‘The Cage’) TA2 7RF. Check Priorswood Community Centre notices for updates.

A short video documenting the transformation from ‘Cage’ to Pocket Park.

Summer community events in 2016Blackthorn A5email

Quotes from students:

“ I’ve never been here before, I’m going to bring my Mum up to show her how nice we’re making it”

“I’m going to walk home this way after school some days and see how everything is getting on”

The project was funded through a SAW bid to the Department for Communities and Local Government, with additional funding support from the Postcode Local Trust and the Avon and Somerset Police Community Trust.  With thanks to Somerset Wildlife Trust for planting support.

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Cllr Terry Beale, Executive Councillor for housing services, said: “It’s such good news that the North Taunton bid has been successful. It’s the result of a great deal of hard work by everyone involved and I am delighted we will be working with our residents and Somerset Art Works to create a space for all to enjoy.”

Pocket Parks

More than 80 unloved and neglected urban spaces across the country will be transformed into green oases for everyone to use, thanks to a share of a £1.5 million dedicated fund. Increasing the availability of green space draws more people outside, giving residents, particularly in urban areas without gardens of their own, more space to relax, get together with their neighbours, grow food and provide a safe space for their children to play.

Communities Secretary, Greg Clark, said:

“Parks and green spaces breathe life into our bustling towns and cities providing communities with precious spaces to get together, exercise and play.

Our funding will benefit urban areas with few green spaces, delivering on the government’s manifesto commitment to deliver pocket parks across our country.

These winning bids all have a strong community focus at the core of their plans and their designers have thought up highly creative ideas to turn unloved urban spaces into the green lungs of their communities that will be enjoyed for years to come.”

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/green-light-given-to-over-80-pocket-parks

Funding 2017

Somerset Art Works is delighted to gain further funding from the Postcode Local Trust to enable more community improvements at the Blackthorn Gardens Pocket Park in 2017. Postcode Local Trust is a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.  www.postcodelocaltrust.org.uk

Funding 2016

A successful SAW bid to the Department for Communities and Local Government resulted in an award of £14,850 for Pocket Park groundworks, planting and community engagement activities.

Postcode Local Trust is a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. SAW’s application resulted in an award of £1,900 from the Trust to provide metal seating and contribute towards the costs of plants and planting activities www.postcodelocaltrust.org.uk

A SAW bid to the Avon and Somerset Police Community Trust resulted in a £1000 grant towards the new Pocket Park. The Commissioner’s Community Action Fund is funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset in order to enable communities to come together and tackle issues in their local area.

With thanks to Somerset Wildlife Trust Routes to the River Tone project for advice and financial contribution towards wildlife-friendly plants for the Pocket Park.

Thanks to the North Taunton One Team for sponsoring refreshments for community events.