Widcombe wonders

(Now we know what’s happening to this neglected patch!)

Great news today for the residents of Widcombe’s Dolemeads estate. They’ve won a National Lottery Community Fund grant, so they can transform a neglected playpark into a well-being garden for the neighbourhood. 

You’ll recognise the estate’s “Coronation Street-style” red-brick terraces if you’re a regular train user, or have been a parent or pupil at Widcombe’s schools.   Built in 1901 as homes for Bath’s “artisan classes” they were among Bath’s earliest social housing. They even starred in a recent National Rail advert! 

Now a mix of private and social housing, The Dolemeads has always been a vibrant community. Residents came together last year when Curo removed its outdated toddlers’ play equipment just before the first lockdown.

Residents Phill Allen – who is a retired horticulturalist – and Rachel Meyrick who is a filmmaker.

Working with Curo, local councillor Alison Born, Helen Peter and Beverley Wallace from Widcombe Association, resident Rachel Meyrick consulted the community on what they’d like to see. “It was great to hear what people really wanted,” said Rachel. “A place to rest, sit, play with children, and to grow food we can eat, somewhere that the community can come together”.

Dr Punit Shah, one of the local residents who is also Associate Professor and Director of Public Engagement at the University of Bath’s Department of Psychology, said: “There is overwhelmingly strong evidence that green spaces can help boost mental health, so it is great that this community project has been supported, for the benefit of local residents and pupils at the nearby school.

Imam and James are residents and pop up restauranteurs of Jikoni

“It has been wonderful to play a part in this project, both from a personal, resident’s perspective, but also use professional knowledge, resources, and links from the University of Bath to contribute.

Local businesses, Simon Ridley from Vibe Fitness, James Sale from Lux:Ply, Newmans Joinery have contributed time and equipment to the project.

Cllr Born (Widcombe and Lyncombe) said, “I’m delighted to hear that local residents and the Widcombe Association have been able to secure lottery funding to provide a new community-designed garden in the Dolemeads. We need more green spaces and this is a welcome addition. Thanks also to Curo who have made the site available.”   

Planters by Rhys Meyrick – using boards donated by SN Scaffolds

Now the NLCF have awarded the funds, the residents can afford the materials they need to complete the job. But labour isn’t included, so every dry Saturday, they hope to complete the garden before the spring. 

If you would like to get involved you can follow their progress and plans for upcoming events on their Instagram account: @Dolemeads_Triangle or email dolemeadstriangle@gmail.com.