In 2002 the demographics of the Broadway Estate was predominantly young white families. Older residents were the main participants in BRATS and they wanted children and young people to be involved in the consultation process.
The consultation was themed around the culture of the travelling community and in particular their relationship with horses. Several events and art projects were held with local children to engage them with the garden so they could discover the hidden culture of their local area. Sophie Handler from muf says, 'The art project was an investigation into what is valued in the landscape.'The children took part in an event with 30 horses in an afternoon of races, they documented the horses of Tilbury at the local secondary school and, in the summer, a group of children made horse costumes and photographed themselves in the area. These photos were displayed in local bus shelters giving the project presence in the community. Muf also targeted other groups of people on the estate; they ran nail painting sessions, and karaoke events to attract young women from the estate and to get them involved in the project.
Outcomes from the consultation
- Secure the edges of the garden
- Provide separate play areas for children according to age
- Provide space to play football
- Include a special area for horses
- Employ a park warden to look after the park and facilitate events for the community, especially young people.
The garden has three separate sections; one for the use of horses, a large central space for football and another for play equipment that is divided for older and younger children. Paths separate the different areas. The edges of the site are made of rubble and earth filled cages which are planted with grass and wild flowers, these are at different levels, giving views across the site to maximise safety. They also provide a fun landscape for play, as Susan Hastie, the Tenant Participation Manager involved in the project says, “It was about adventurous play providing an undulating landscape rather than a bland flat playground for the children.” For security purposes, gates are located at key points on the access routes to prevent motorbikes and cars entering the garden.
The council employed a park warden for daily maintenance requirements to organise events for local people. The warden acted as a point of contact for the local community to look after the garden and get local people engaged. For the first two years the warden was involved with the community but the role changed to include wider responsibility for the maintenance of the estate. There were no longer the funds available for the warden to facilitate community events and involvement.