Putting ideas into action


In June, we asked local people:

Do you have an idea for a small project which responds to air pollution and helps promote healthier streets in St Denys?

Would you like some funding to try this out?

Breathing Spaces could fund 6-10 bursary ideas at £400 each, with the opportunity to spend a total of £4,000. This money comes courtesy of our funder Nesta. We asked for feedback at our Clean Air Ideas drop-in and also via our residents’ panel. If you have any comments please do let us know: breathe@socollective.org.uk

What has been submitted so far? How much is requested/needed? What feedback has been received so far?
Front Gardens Plus
A project to encourage planting and greening of gardens and other open, unloved spaces.
– Absorb pollution
– Improve the environment
– Community spirit, pride and engagement
– Health benefits Proposed by a team of seven local residents.
£400 for leaflets and distribution, basic supplies, saplings etc. Lots of positive feedback, the community seems to like the idea of a greenery project. Quite a few people have said they would like to get actively involved in this. Members of the community have said that Front Garden Plus and Rebel Gardeners should work together, and those who submitted seem to keen to do this too.   People say they value real action and also the focus on human health and wellbeing.

Rebel Gardeners
Engage the local community to re-green and replant urban areas of the community.
– Address urban disengagement with nature and environment
– Improve awareness in children around good sources of healthy eating
Proposed by local voluntary organisation Rebel Gardeners Southampton  
£200 to start on planters with veg, £800 gets us nearer a green wall.

[Sept update: work is planned on a green wall at St Denys Primary school]

All Aboard River Festival A waterborne, water-edge music/theatre production on 31 August, located on the St Denys stretch of the River Itchen. There will be clean air themed storytelling & a clean air banner to be ‘paraded afloat’ during the event.
Hosted by St Denys Boat Club, Chris Townsend and Deb Wilkes.
£260 for clean air storytelling, a clean air banner, clean air troll and promotional materials. This was a great event! Photographs available here:
 Projects which are under discussion How much?
Photography: people in masks
With a focus on empathy and how we can all change the system, not an ‘us and them’ approach to clean air challenges.  
By local residents.
Sept update: application received – £400 budget  
Clean Air Mural
Located on local wall e.g. by the train station. Suggested by local residents, would be undertaken by a local artist
To be commissioned – presume a £400 budget.

Oct update: Helen Trimarco-Ransome has offered to look into this.
Clean Air Film
To showcase the work of the community, Clean Air Cafés and Breathing Spaces. Demonstrate the health improvements from community engagement.  
By a Southampton filmmaker, co-produced with members of the local community.
To be commissioned – we need to explore whether a £400 would be adequate.

Sept update:
we are looking to involve young people in producing a film
Thermal imaging surveys
This would make the connection between energy efficiency and local air pollution, as thermal images of homes can show where energy efficiency improvements can be made & therefore reducing heating requirements.
Sept update: Discussions ongoing – presume £400 budget  
Engaging with St Denys Primary School Commission an artist to do some air quality engagement; or create a leaflet for parents on air pollution & healthProposed allocation of £400.

Nov update: A member of the Parent group at the school has offered to look into this & explore the idea of asking children how they would re-design their neighbourhood for cleaner air & healthy streets. This would then be submitted as a response to the council’s ‘Connecting St Denys’ survey.
Creative clean air signage/slogans/mosaics Commission local artists to undertake some public art or signage to ‘make St Denys more visible’ and raise awareness of air quality issues. One idea is a “Mr Gasp” mosaic by Will Rosie, to add to his Mr Men mosaics across the city. There has also been suggestions of making the national cycle route through St Denys more visible.   Possible to achieve something within £400 budget, but this has not yet been fully explored/costed. This could be subject to more conversation through the project.

Oct update: Helen Trimarco-Ransome has offered to look into this.

Ideas which will be funded under Breathing Spaces engagement:

Street Closures
Fund further support for Play Streets/Street Party road closures (following closure of parts of Priory Road on 20 July) e.g. flyers, decorations, equipment, food.

There will be a Winter Open Streets event on 7th December, 5-7pm, Priory Road (North).

Clean air survey
Following the first three Clean Air Cafes, which have been well attended, the survey would work to explore more residents’ views about clean air. The idea would be to engage as many of the 1,200 households in St Denys as possible with ideas around cleaner air & potential interventions, such as temporary or permanent road closures, but also signage, murals & greenery.

Other key ideas not for a bursary due to their scope:

  • Blocking off the top of Kent Road to stop rat running
  • Policy development proposals
  • Improving public transport, in particular bus travel

Header photo by Daniel Funes Fuentes on Unsplash

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