M£2 Underpass Regeneration Project cont…

M£2 Underpass In Eastville BS5. Bristol. England.

What made me interested in the spot under the M32 initially, is the neglect in so many forms which is taking place there. You have a massive highway which cuts through and divide communities; a massive social divide between big commercial giants – Ikea and Tesco, and a deprived and isolated community in lower Eastville; The Frome river also enters the city into a concrete drain pipe, polluted by fly-tipped Tesco shopping trolleys and litter blown in there from the roads.

This community of lower Eastville has its fair share of social issues. Prostitution, isolation, drug pushing, and the place is a dump. There is litter and fly-tipping everywhere. it has doubled in the last year. The M32 also is a cause of pollution to local residents air, as well as noise pollution. The controversial Metrobus which has cut through the growing allotments at Grow Bristol in Stapleton, has also neglected to include serving this community in its route.

This area also provides a temporary home for rough sleepers, and it makes an obvious shelter option in a city where homelessness has risen sharply over the last years.

Contrasts and extremes are also known to be a source of inspiration and creativity and that is what is captivating about this space. The sheer potential it holds, its history, its demise, its lack of planning, its brutal force to tame nature; to control people and communities in favour of progress and commerce.

Over the last 4 years a grassroot creative skatepark was built by the local self build skating community from scratch. Waste collected from the area have become the building blocks literally of this popular space. It is the only free undercover skatepark in Bristol and known worldwide in the self build skating communities. Since they have become the guardians of this space – prostitution and drug pushing have gone down and the general appearance of the space is less frightening and more welcoming to local residents.

LitterARTI has been awarded £10,000 through the Tesco bags of Help fund. This money comes from the 5p plastic bag charge which was imposed on all large Retailers in the UK since October last year. This scheme has already reduced the use of single use plastic bags exponentially across the country. Retailers are expected to donate the proceeds of this funds to good causes, and they can decide how to do this. Many projects across the country has benefited from this – and the same way with our M£2 Underpass Regeneration Project. Dependent on permissions from Highways. 

Just like the area itself, this money is controversial as anything else. It is politically charged also to accept money from certain retailers and commercial giants in that it could be seen as a soft way to hide perhaps other dodgy practices. It is ultimately these organisations which need to change in order to bring more relief to everyday people as well as the environmental tipping point we have started to experience over the last generation and which is now becoming real in public consciousness and our direct experiences. 

How do you take on such a diverse project? How do you ensure everyone is included? How do ensure you stay true to your own principles? How do you somehow redeem this money from its controversial source?

I think by sticking to your principles. By being honest, open and humble. Non-attached to any ideas and talking to a lot of people. Listening. Learning. Sharing. I can already feel how this project is shaping me, the people I meet the stories I hear. The 3 pillars to this project are: People. Creativity. Nature. We can’t tackle the issues we are facing alone. We can’t rely on old systems and thinking to move us into a new era. And before Nature we cannot lie. She forces us to stay humble. She helps us to remember and she keeps us true to ourselves.

Thank you very much to Chris and Benoit for inspirational dialogue this afternoon @ People’s Republic of Stoke’s Croft. Credit for all images: Chris Chalkley.

M£2 Underpass. Stapleton Road. BS5.Eastville. Bristol. England.

M£2 Underpass. Stapleton Road. BS5.Eastville. Bristol. England.

M£2 Underpass. Eastville. Bristol. BS5.  England.

M£2 Underpass. Eastville. Bristol. BS5. England.

M32 Underpass Regeneration Project with Tesco Bags of Help

Litterarti M32 Regeneration Project supported by Tesco's Bags of Help fund from the 5p Plastic bag charge

LitterARTI’s new adventure: M32 Underpass Regeneration Project has been shortlisted for an award from the Tesco Bags of Help Fund – PLEASE VOTE FOR US THIS WEEK IN-STORE!

WHEN: 27 February 2016 – 6 March 2016 (Mothersday)

We propose to work alongside the Council to tackle fly-tipping in the area of Eastville – BS5, clear up the litter on the concrete river-banks polluting the River Frome, and exploring structural interceptors – to prevent it from blowing in there in the first place. We want to bring importance to the river entering the City here as well and incentivise the local Skating community to become guardians of the space.

Since the Skatepark has been developed 4 years ago, it has been used by young and old, novices and pro’s use it as well as scooters, scateboarders, rollerscaters, bmx riders. It is the only free undercover Skatepark in Bristol and as a result this spontaneous creative grassroot development has become a curb to prostitution in the area, drug pushing has disappeared and the community also regularly do litter picks. We would like to provide them with bins, better lighting, and further exposure and support to help this place to develop on their own terms.

If you want to be involved please get in touch! We are looking to put a team together of local residents, urban designers, biologists, waste experts, growing and plant experts, volunteers and artists, film makers, designers and more! Join our Facebook page for more updates on whats coming up, also check out: The Turn the M32 into a Skatepark group on Facebook.

90% of this funding will go towards Capital Costs. which is great. However we do still need to raise more money to make it happen. If you want to donate, that would be awesome! Please pay via Paypal.

Tesco has teamed up with Groundwork to launch its Bags of Help initiative across England and Wales. The scheme will see three community groups and projects awarded grants of £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 – all raised from the 5p bag charge.

Bags of Help offers community groups and projects in each of Tesco’s 390 regions across the UK a share of revenue generated from the five pence charge levied on single-use carrier bags.

The public will now vote in store from 27 February until 6 March on who should receive the £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 awards.