Green space given a second chance in Kirkholt
Date published: 20 February 2021
Rhodes Ravine, Kirkholt
A green space in Kirkholt, Rochdale has been given a new lease of life, thanks to a collaboration between the Kirkholt Millions Partnership and Big Local Trust.
In December 2019, three Kirkholt residents – Phil Cocker, Coriena Jones and Michael McLean – were employed as the Kirkholt Ranger Team by Groundwork Greater Manchester, a new posting designed to bring the Rhodes Ravine green space back into use.
Fifteen months later and community feedback on the Kirkholt Millions Facebook page speaks volumes for the newly transformed green space, something local residents had spent years calling out for.
One of the first considerations for the Kirkholt Rangers was to ensure every person within the community, ability aside, had access to the ravine.
As a result, the ranger team has created new crushed stone paths which connect open spaces to the existing park and provides an expanded circuit for walkers.
Alongside this, the rangers carefully cleared and expanded the ravine itself, which had been unsafe and inaccessible for a number of years. In celebration of this great achievement, a stone bridge was built as a focal point for the community to use as a shared space.
As well as the physical regeneration of Rhodes Ravine, the three Kirkholt Rangers have undertaken additional training in horticulture, construction operations and countryside skills, leading to accredited qualifications which will support a career in landscaping.
For Phil, becoming a Kirkholt Ranger was the opportunity he had been waiting for. He said: “Before gaining this opportunity I was stressed, tired, and basically a fed up delivery driver. Then the chance to gain my new role on the housing estate where I live gave me the opportunity to do something I enjoy and could be proud of; reviving a disused woodland.”
Phil continued: “Before the project started, I don’t recall many people walking through the woodland due to it being more or less inaccessible. But one year later, we have many people from different backgrounds travelling through – some just for a walk, others to revive old memories from their childhood.”
Kirkholt Millions Partnership Chair, Linda Mills added: “The Ravine had become an eyesore and a tip which 40 years ago, the community used to enjoy. In 2014 the Partnership began planning to remedy that.
“Moving forward to today, as you can see in the photographs, Kirkholt Million have, through employing local people and working alongside Groundwork Greater Manchester, transformed it into a place the whole community can use and be proud of.”
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