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Derelict to Delightful: Toxteth teen transforms flytipping hotspot with Mayor’s grassroots environment fund

  • New Urbanscape community garden created for local community in Toxteth
  • £30,000 support from Mayor Rotheram’s Community Environment Fund
  • Opened by Mayor Steve Rotheram

A piece of derelict land blighted by flytipping has been transformed into an urban community garden, thanks to funding from Mayor Steve Rotheram and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

The Mulgrave Street Action Group, founded by 15-year-old Khan Odita successfully applied for a £30,000 grant from Mayor Rotheram’s Community Environment Fund after becoming fed up with people dumping rubbish on a patch of land on Mulgrave Street near to his home.

The garden, which has been called Urbanscape, was officially opened by Mayor Rotheram at a ceremony for the local community.

Mayor Rotheram said:

“Last year when I met Khan for the first time, he shared with me his vision to transform a neglected part of the areainto an urban oasis that the local community could be proud of – and I’m delighted we’ve been able to help make it a reality. The creativity, imagination and commitment of our residents never fails to amaze me.

“Protecting our natural environment for future generations will be one of the biggest challenges ahead. At a city region level, we are working non-stop to accelerate our transition to be net zero by 2040 – at least a decade before national government.

“But I believe that every single one of us has a part to play too. Taken together, lots of small actions from ordinary people working together with a common purpose can make a massive difference – and that’s what my Community Environment Fund is all about.”

Transformed from a derelict dumping ground and now filled with plants, paving and seating areas, the garden will be used by the group to deliver a range of free activities for the local community.

Khan Odita, Founder of the Mulgrave Street Action Group, said:

“The journey has been challenging but this is the best work experience I will ever have – I’ve learned so much and cannot wait for the community to start making use of the space.

“Once I finish my GCSEs in the summer, I’m hoping to be able to run educational and upskilling programmes and have somewhere for young people and local residents to keep busy.”

Khan founded the Mulgrave Street Action Group with the idea of creating a space for the community to boost pride and create cohesion. He was recognised with the Student Inspiration Award at the 2022 Liverpool City Region Culture and Creativity Awards for his efforts during the pandemic.

Councillor David Baines, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Portfolio Holder for Climate Emergency and Renewable Energy, said:

“The work that Khan Odita and the Mulgrave Street Action Group have done is inspirational and has created a very special place that I’m sure the local community will benefit hugely from for years to come. The Community Environment Fund has been all about providing the financial support to enable communities to take on projects that improve their local environment and collectively contribute to our broader environmental goals, as we work together to tackle the climate emergency.”

The Community Environment Fund aims to improve the Liverpool City Region’s environment, develop opportunities for environmental education and to encourage long-term behavioural change.

In 2022/23, grants were available for smaller projects of up to £5,000, with up to £30,000 available for larger projects.

The fund is also part of Mayor Rotheram’s drive to help the city region reach net zero by 2040 at the latest, reduce air pollution and improve the health and wellbeing of people across the whole city region.

In addition to the Liverpool City Region Community Environment Funding, the Mulgrave Street Action Group received donations from the community and National Lottery Funding.