A new public space for Forest Gate
Despite once being the Gateway to the Forest, Forest Gate’s green space has all but disappeared, with few public benches, little opportunity for community gatherings and an urban landscape completely absent of trees and plants. For this reason we want to create a green oasis in the very heart of the high street.
Emmanuel Church, one of the high streets oldest places of worship is enviably positioned at a busy junction between Forest Gate’s Woodgrange Road (the high street), The Romford Road and at the beginning of Upton Lane and is one of Newham’s most colorful and culturally diverse neighborhoods.
Despite it’s position, there is little opportunity to host public gatherings or encourage people to use the garden as the area is littered with old graves and overgrown trees. Our community group led by Rev. Chigor Chike would like to not only improve this green space but also make it more inviting for members of the public to come in and use – regardless of faith or community.
What we’ll do:
- Trim back trees, remove old fencing and gravestones and install new benches and plants.
Why it’s a great idea:
We believe that by trimming back the trees, adjusting the old fence and removing the remaining gravestones that this space could provide a much needed green space for the local community, -a place to visit, relax, play and gather.
By undertaking such work, it is also hoped that it will become much more visible, as currently the space is not welcoming nor is it particularly noticeable when walking past, -despite being moments from the high street and Upton Lane.
It will also compliment the longer term ambition to completely regenerate the church’s outdoor areas by making them far more attractive, accessible and suitable for community gatherings and projects.
Once completed, we would like to formally celebrate by hosting a community planting day, led by our local community gardening group with the wider community, as well as with an inter-faith summer fete open to all.
How we’ll get it done:
- Raise the funds
- Appoint relevant contractor and designer
- Work and consult with community to realise vision
- Clear existing site of overgrown branches, gravestones, hedge and fencing
- Lay new turf and paving
- Install new community benches
- Work with designer, local gardening group and community to plant new shrubs
- Celebrate with ‘planting day’ and summer fete
- Work with the community neighbourhood team to create an awareness and volunteer campaign.
It is intended that this new green space will compliment the wider scope of works which the church would like to complete. The church has already commissioned architectural drawings of how the rest of the landscaping will look as well as discussed with local designers on how the garden will look. However, funding is the only thing blocking this initiative and the High Street fund will be instrumental in allowing us to kick start this programme with the most visual and functional element.
Emmanuel Church is also the epicentre of the Faithful Friends group, which is a well established networking forum of local faith groups. The community space established will be used as a celebratory space for all of the faith and non faith communities in Forest Gate, to celebrate our diversity and to continue to develop the cohesion between our wonderful communities.