Full of flowers, trees and shrubs, Mundella Park is an oasis of green enjoyed by local residents, young and old alike. A few years ago, however, this small patch of land was covered with broken glass and litter. The transformation has been brought about by the Friends of Mundella Park, an It's Your Neighbourhood group set up in 2008 by local resident, Leah Sareen.
'I was sick of seeing the site being used as a rubbish dump,' says Leah. 'Not only was it unsightly, it was also dangerous; we had play equipment for toddlers surrounded by broken glass. I have young children and I wanted to do something for them, so I got out my dustpan and brush and started to clean it up.'
Today Leah works alongside other local residents to look after the space. 'We’ve created flowerbeds with locally felled logs and old tyres and put in several new trees and shrubs. We’ve also been working with local children and the Greenfields Community School to plant flowers, bulbs and a "secret" strawberry patch.'
Support from a local businessman
Local business owner Glynn Godfrey has shown tremendous support from the start, supplying access to irrigation and helping to co-ordinate planting days with his wife, Judith. Inspired by the improvements, Judith now runs a regular play session in the park: 'It only takes one person to show interest and then it spreads,' she says.
Open all year round, today the park is treasured by the local community. One five-year-old calls it her secret garden, while the local teenagers think Leah’s an 'angel' for giving them a new space to meet. Beatrice, 93, who lives on the square, considers it her front garden, and families enjoy spending time there with their children. 'I remember gardening with my mum and that’s how I learnt which were the weeds,' says local mum, Satia. 'This gives our children a place to learn.'
'It’s been great for bringing people together,' says Leah. 'Sometimes a crowd of teenagers can seem a bit intimidating, but this has helped everyone to get to know one other. It’s really transformed the area and become a place that we all want to look after together.'
There have been several more improvements since the campaign started, including a mural on the adjacent factory wall designed and painted by local schoolchildren and their parents. With such dedication from the community, the future looks rosy for Mundella Park.