Govanhill Voice spoke to Tobias Wieland about the ‘Our Lane’ project and how he would like to see it emulated throughout Glasgow….
OUR LANE Project is a new community association in Battlefield.. We are recreating OUR LANE by developing a community space. We are raisingawareness that the lanes are the property of the residents, not the city. We want a place where we can meet our neighbours for a BBQ, to sit on a bench, to plant something , and where ourkids can play. This is the place where community relations can flourish. It depends on all of us!Together it is just simple steps.
So Tobias what inspired you to start this project and where is it based?
My wife, daughter, and I moved here r two years ago from Germany ..
One year ago the lane opposite our flat on Ledard road next to Battlefield Primary School was refurbished.
When I took my daughter from school on a sunny day shortly after they finished the project, there were 15 kids playing in this lane and my daughter asked me: Why can´t I play there?
It was the initial spark that lit my fire to start the project. I knew our lane is about three times as big, and so were our opportunities and potential benefits.
The idea ripened for three months, and then I started to talk with my neighbour David, a busy pensioner from the next close.
After a few chats over the fence, we decided to take action and told the neighbours of our plans and the first meeting date, which was in January
We had nine people at this meeing,, with two from the Dunvale project sharing their experiences with us.
Everybody appreciated the idea to make use of the back lane and were willing to put some effort into the project.
We consulted similar projects in the area, and partnered with other community projects.
From the beginning Langside Parish Church, Finn´s Place, the Square Yard, Battlefield Primary School, and Battlefield Community Project have supported us generously.
Also, the local shops have supported the cause very generously by donating cakes, food, and beverages for the clean ups and meetings.
Our first clean-up was scheduled for 27th February. We had a flying start with more than 25 people attending, and did a great job filling up a linked tip with waste.
We had tea, coffee, home-baked goodies and cakes donated by 1901 and Blether coffee shop. (I was in Germany, but organised everything beforehand with David, he ran the day)
So we made a difference, and developed first bonds with neighbours.
We have held clean ups about every three months since,
(Above)David & Julie Kennedy, Eileen Sheerin(Community Safety Glasgow), me Tobias Wieland, promoting our first clean up in February 2016.
(Below) Images from the first clean up in February 2016.
We have a Facebook group with 65 members and will use a new neighbourhood network called nextdoor.co.uk to increase our community relations and develop a plan based on the community needs.
The lane is more than 500 square metres, it is a massive space. We not only want to develop a communal space in OUR LANE, we also want to encourage others, to take care of their neighbourhooda. So we are developing a plan based on our experience, best practice examples, consultation and information we gathered.
You had a BBQ event recently and a community lane clean up how did that go?
On the 10th September we hosted the first BBQ & Fun Day in OUR LANE. The response was overwhelming., with nearly 100 people. And we had good luck with the weather!. Starting at 12pm we went on celebrating and chatting with the neighbours until 6pm.. Everybody felt so comfortable, the kids and adults made new friends and the community grew stronger roots in OUR LANE.
Everybody contributed something: home-baking, food for the BBQ, even a big box full of organic produce from the Queens Park allotments among other contributions for the raffle, and we raised £123 in donations.
Equipment was provided by Langside Parish Church, Finn´s Place, the Square Yard, Battlefield Primary School, and Battlefield Community Project. Various goodies were donated by Tantrum Doughnuts, Dear Green Coffee Roasters, Young’s Dairy, Tesco, Co-Op, the Real Junk Food Project and Wholefoods.
Nextdoor.co.uk also made a generous cash donation, which helped us a lot..
The community got a clear picture that together we can achieve pretty much anything.
We did giant bubbles(we have a magician living in the lane, he mixed some magic potion at midnight for us)
Do you think this is a project that could be emulated in other lanes of the south-side or Glasgow in general? If so how easy do you think it would be for residents to catch the community bug and get the ball rolling in their own patch? What are the rewards of getting involved in this kind of project?
The project is designed to be emulated, and all information will be shared,. Our focus is the local lane opposite Battlefield Primary School at this point, but in providing advice and with the manual we are developing we are also happy to inspire other people no matter where they live.
Our approach developed by standing on the wrong side of the gate of a refurbished lane,. but also inspired us to take care of our lane. The lane as a community space has a great attraction to me as father: I want my daughter to make friends with the neighbour kids, and it was a good occasion for her last weekend at the BBQ. Three days later, she´s playing with her new friends in the garden again.
We made this happen, and not by surprise. It was difficult before, as they had no place to play and no where to meet, and difficult for me to understand as I grew up in a village where we could play for hours unsupervised. We will start a monthly activity , to keep the momentum and develop our lane as diverse as our community.
We will launch an activity where the kids will paint a world map and every neighbour is invited to pin a needle to their origin. We are a diverse community with neighbours from France, India, Germay, and the United States, as well as Scotland and England.
Especially after tBrexit, it is important to demonstrate the diverse nature of our community, Aand we are all human beings with the same origin.
Everyone can make a big difference on a local level.
If people want to get in touch to get involved with your project or ask for some advice on their own how best should they get in touch?
We have a Facebook page: www.tinyurl.com/ourlane
email us at: OURLANEProject@gmail.com
This is also our PayPal account, so if you would like to contribute to our project, please send us a Pound or a Penny. You can also make a difference!
OUR LANE Project
78 Ledard road 2/2
G42 9SX Glasgow
Do you have any more events in 2016 planned so far?’
Go create @OURLANE is the next event this Sunday at 2pm in OUR LANE between Ledard & Cartvale road and Sinclair Drive & Carmichael Place.
painting, wood work, building, …
We will develop the project further, host a regular monthly activity and regular clean ups every three-to-four months.
We will plan the space with our neighbours, and partners such as Battlefield Primary School, taking into account everyones needs.
We will apply for funding and grants and also find creative ways for the neighbours to contribute. Really, it’s about taking back the ownership of this space and building a community.