Creating green spaces to help improve the health of Southend’s Victoria Ward residents
A new innovative project called Greening Southend Queensway has been launched to improve the outdoor green spaces on the Queensway estate and support the improvement of the communities’ health and care.
Targeted support for our communities
The project, delivered by mental health and wellbeing charity Trust Links and funded by the SEE Alliance Health Inequalities grant funding from 2022/23, will give people living in the Victoria Ward access to green spaces and get them involved in physical activities outside to improve their own communities, while improving residents’ mental and physical health, as well as decreasing social isolation.
This is particularly important as the population health data about the residents highlights that they often have multi health conditions including, severe mental illness and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It’s also been highlighted as a coastal community with pockets of deprivation hidden amongst relative affluence. in addition, it’s in the top 10% most disadvantaged areas in England according to the Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) 2019 and is therefore a target area for the NHS under the Core20PLUS5 inequalities framework.
Creating green spaces
As part of the project, two community days were held with the support of the local food bank, which operates out of the estate. The first involved working with residents and local children to design artwork for the planters as well as planting seeds. There were also outdoor activities provided for the kids to take part in such as hula hoops, swing ball, hopscotch.
The second consisted of a community BBQ for residents of the estate with representatives from local authority, Southend Association of volunteer Service (SAVS), South Essex Homes and other community services signposting to COPD and other services, as well as support with any house needs or concerns. Adults were also able to access information from Greening Southend about local greening projects as well as mental health services through Trust Links and NHS services.
Hearing residents’ visions and voices
As a result of resident’s feedback at both of these events, Greening Southend, South Essex Homes, and SAVS have moved forward with planning further improvements the outdoor space on the estate. Both children and adults on the estate are excited to be a part of the planting process, as well as taking part in the maintaining of the space once it is planted.
One resident has also been supported by the partners to build their confidence and take ownership of the project activities. They are also looking to develop a residents association, to ensure that residents’ visions and voices are heard, as well as set up a youth group and have started looking for funding to make it happen.