This week, Fenham Pocket Park in the heart of Newcastle’s West End was alive with Christmas activities, as nearly 150 people from the local community assembled in the park to sing traditional Carols and watch the Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Cllr Hazel Stephenson switching on the Christmas Tree lights.
The crowd was made up of mums and dads, residents, councillors, teachers and young people aged between five and eleven years old from Sacred Heart RC Primary School and English Martyrs’ RC Primary School.
Fenham Pocket Park is located on Fenham Hall Drive and can be found between the public library, swimming pool and allotments.
The Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Cllr Stephenson said: “It was a great honour in the run up to Christmas to switch on the community lights; and being able to listen to the children’s beautiful voices from Sacred Heart and English Martyrs’ Primary Schools as they sang their hearts out in the Pocket Park.
“It’s testament to all of the volunteers, local councillors, groups and other partners who’ve helped to create and care for this community space that has become a popular part of the area with residents and their families.”
Fenham Pocket Park was born out of a partnership project with Fenham Association of Residents, Sustrans, Newcastle University and Newcastle City Council.
The pocket park received funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government to help provide opportunities for people to connect with nature in their urban environment. Trees were planted to provide homes for wildlife; and volunteers from the local schools and allotment association have been supporting the project to create wider educational activities. The end result has seen a space which encourages young people to play outside, and for residents to sit, chat and watch the world go by, in all seasons.
Mrs Barbara Brown, Head Teacher of Sacred Heart RC Primary School, said: “The children were thrilled to play their part in the pocket park lights switch-on, as they’ve been heavily involved in the project since the beginning. It was a great opportunity for the young people to revisit the foliage they planted earlier in the year. The pocket park also gives the children a chance to use their community to best effect and to know what’s on their doorstep. The park is ideally placed as many people walk past it on the way to and from school. It’s positioned near the zebra crossing and forms part of the cycling route so there’s also an element of road and community safety that can be learnt.”
Joanne Dowling of English Martyrs’ RC Primary School, said: “Our school Eco group were actively involved in the planting of the pocket park. It is important to get the children involved in projects such as this where they are investing their time supporting a facility that will benefit the community. The children also develop a greater respect and pride in the area and want to continue their involvement knowing they have contributed.
“It was so nice to be asked along to help support these events. It was lovely to see our choir encouraging passing parents and community members to join us in song, while the Lord Mayor turned on the tree lights.”
Fenham Pocket Park has its own social media pages for people to learn more about the community space and to get involved.
For more details about the work of Newcastle City Council please visit www.newcastle.gov.uk