Space Saviours – transforming open spaces

Space Saviours is a dynamic new project helping tenants transform open spaces in their local community. We’ve asked Rachel Lovell, Open Spaces Project Officer at Space Saviours, to tell us about progress to date:


Space Saviours is a 2 year Big Lottery project between four housing associations – United Welsh, Valleys 2 Coast, Bron Afon and Tai Calon – and is aimed at turning empty spaces into great places. The project offers training, support and guidance to help plan, design and transform open spaces.


Workshop sessions were held from April to July this year on Tuesday evenings at Virginia Park Golf Club in Caerphilly. Attendance was good with over 45 people engaging in a variety of informal training sessions hosted by organisations such as Keep Wales Tidy, Play Wales, Sustrans, Natural Resources Wales, The Urbanists and the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens.


Tenants were able to share and discuss their ideas and explore themes such as natural play, biodiversity, sustainable design, getting around your neighbourhood and community growing.


Targets for the first year of the project are to support and guide 5 Community Projects in each of the four housing association areas and United Welsh tenants and community members had loads of amazing ideas and enthusiasm! 5 Community Projects were selected and matched with appropriate Supporting Organisations to explore landownership, sustainability of the project and to further develop their designs, costings, and plans.

Space Saviours 1

Tenants from New Tredegar have ideas to transform this space into a wildflower meadow that the whole community can enjoy. The space is currently overgrown and very steep, but has lots of potential. This Community Project has been matched with Keep Wales Tidy who will be working closely with the group to develop and finalise their designs and costings.


Newport tenants are enjoying their new housing development, but some are frustrated by the lack of semi-private space outside their block of flats and would also like to develop the outside area to make better use of it.

Space Saviours 2

Some of their ideas have included developing a natural play area for children to enjoy and planting shrubs. They have also been matched with Keep Wales Tidy to fully explore design ideas to provide more private space around the flats and identify the soil to see what can be planted.


Over in Cardiff, a tenant is keen to develop the use of a lovely parcel of land, over looked by many houses and surrounded by beautiful trees into a natural play area for children, parents and grandparents to enjoy.


Currently just used to walk dogs, the area has the potential to be so much more. This project has been matched with an organisation called Play Wales, who specialise in designing natural play areas for all ages.

Space Saviours 3

Two other Community Projects involve a group of residents from Trevelyan Park in Caerphilly who want to design and install better access for pram and wheelchair users around their estate and develop play areas that the community can enjoy. They have so many ideas! They have been matched with Ground Work Caerphilly who will develop designs and costings and Play Wales to fully explore the dynamics of the potential area.


By November of this year, all 5 Community Projects will have a project plan and the Space Saviours Project Officers will support them in identifying and obtaining funding to realise the project.


The next round of workshop training sessions are currently being developed and will take place in Spring 2015. If you would like to find out more about Space Saviours, please feel free to call Rachel Lovell, Open Spaces Project Officer on 07990 835363 anytime.

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