THE GATE, Newcastle’s premier leisure destination, is launching an urban garden project with the aim of engaging and upskilling young people from across the city. The Gatekeepers initiative is being created through a partnership with Streetwise, the local charity supporting the physical, emotional and mental health of young people living in Newcastle upon Tyne, the Northumberland Wildlife Trust, EcoNorth and the National Trust.

Starting on Monday 23 October, Gatekeepers will bring together young people from Newcastle to design and build a living art wall on Jacobins Chare at The Gate. The project aims to create the first-ever biodiversity graffiti wall.

Over four days, young volunteers will create the graffiti art design and translate it into a new urban garden for the city centre. Young people will be supported by Streetwise and Artecology, the ecological public art specialists, who help bring the graffiti design to life using plants.

Once the urban garden is created, the ongoing management of the project and the planted wall will be led by the National Trust’s Gibside in Tyne & Wear and Streetwise volunteers.

The Gatekeepers project aims to support young people in accessing new skills, and create opportunities for them to learn about biodiversity and local ecology. The Crown Estate, owners of The Gate, has made a commitment to protect and enhance biodiversity, particularly in urban areas. The Crown Estate aims to create brilliant places that are sustainable over the long term.

Inge Johnson Mitchell, centre manager of The Gate, said: “We are excited to be giving an area of the centre over to the creative talents of young people from the city. There are lots of wonderful ideas already being discussed by volunteers, so I can’t wait to see what the final designs look like and see them in place on our new garden wall.”

Mandy Coppin CEO at Streetwise, comments: “This is a wonderful opportunity for the young people of Newcastle, they will be part of developing a city centre community ‘wellbeing’ garden, where they will learn new skills, meet other young people, develop their confidence and environmental awareness.”

Katherine Armstead, senior asset manager at The Crown Estate, adds: “By working with local young people and partners we’re hoping to enhance the greenery of this urban space, as well as enriching the experience of people visiting or walking through Jacobins Chare. We hope the Gatekeepers initiative will enable young people to collaborate in creating a place to nurture and take pride in.”

David Carver, Local Partnerships Co-ordinator for the Green Academies Project at Gibside, said: “To be able to offer young volunteers real long-term and hands-on experiences like this one, and work alongside a range of organisations within the city centre, is great. As a conservation charity the National Trust is always looking for ways to engage young people with special places as well as preserving them for the future.”