The residents of a Salford neighbourhood have banded together to bring a new lease of life to the alleyway behind their houses.
They have used it to host community events and a charity fundraiser – and they’ve even turned it into a floral wonderland.
It’s a far cry from what the alley was like before it was gated, when the getaway vehicle from a robbery at the local Co-op was abandoned there and burst into flames.
“Once the gates were erected and secured, ourselves and other neighbours started to take much more of an interest in keeping the alley clear as it was used on a weekly basis to put out the refuse bins,” says David, one of the residents.
“As time went by more and more people joined in our small little alley revolution, it was difficult as we have a cobbled alleyway and all the joints needed scraping out one by one and it took a great deal of hard work from everyone.”
The hard work was worth it. The residents recently used the area to host a fundraiser for the Macmillan Cancer Support Summer Lights campaign, decorating the space with hundreds of tealights, attracting people from all across the area and raising £500.
Now the alleyway is becoming an arboretum of sorts.
“We were lucky enough to acquire some free timbers and soil from Gumtree to make a couple of raised beds which were planted up bringing some colour to the alley for the first time. Once the raised beds were planted and were in full bloom, lots of people commented how nice it looked and started to bring out their own planters and pots.
“All of the neighbours now know each other by name and help each other out with plants tools and knowledge. We have even had one of the HMO owners provide us with a bench for the alley after his garden and back alley section was cleared.”
They’ve also been using Nextdoor – an app that allows people to connect with others living in the community.
“It has become a fantastic social space,” says David. “It is not uncommon to see several neighbours out the back chatting away. It is also a safe place for the children to play. We even had a children’s birthday party out the back with a slide and paddling pool recently.”