Balsall Heath, like many neighbourhoods, appeared uncared for. One third of its housing stock is municipal and one third is owned by housing associations. There are 6 small parks and many “confused”, little, public places. There are a host of avenues and alleyways in which people dump rubbish, and walls on which others scribble graffiti.
The overall effect on the eye is unpleasant. It creates the sense that nobody cares. It encourages crime and rats and more rubbish.
The Green Team’s task is to ‘own’ the neighbourhood and act as if they were its ‘estate gardener’. They tend overgrown gardens, create flower beds in the parks, put planters and hanging baskets on main roads and move all the grime and graffiti which has accumulated.
The Green Team’s base is being turned into a Social Enterprise and a Garden Centre. One of the staff acts as a modern version of a Park Keeper.
Further, the staff visit the 5 local primary schools and persuade children and adults to help them in their task, use the bins provided and recover the sense of pride and purpose.