Lincoln residents map ambitions for community project

  • Photo: James Irvine
  • The Old Bunker Project founders (L to R) James Irvine and Lynsey Collinson. Photo: Emily Norton
  • Photo: Emily Norton
  • Photo: Emily Norton
  • Photo: Emily Norton
  • Abbey Monks Primary School students made their own I Want to see in my Neighbourhood wall. Photo: Emily Norton
  • Photo: James Irvine
  • The Old Bunker Project founders (L to R) James Irvine and Lynsey Collinson. Photo: Emily Norton
  • Photo: Emily Norton
  • Photo: Emily Norton
  • Photo: Emily Norton
  • Abbey Monks Primary School students made their own I Want to see in my Neighbourhood wall. Photo: Emily Norton

Residents of Abbey Ward in Lincoln have been getting involved with a new community development that maps their ambitions and vision for the area.

Alongside a scheme dubbed The Old Bunker Project, residents have been taking part in a series of group consultations with a twist, to demonstrate their hopes for the community.

One project that proved popular is a “Before I die” wall, inspired by artist Candy Chang, who lost a loved one during Hurricane Katrina.

The wall was produced and erected by students from Lincoln College and can be found on the side of Ian’s News on Winn Street, along with a box of chalk.

Students from Lincoln College painted the boards before putting them in place. Photo: James Irvine

Students from Lincoln College painted the boards before putting them in place. Photo: James Irvine

Despite being partially ripped down after the first day, the wall has sparked many positive suggestions from residents.

Behind the project is development worker Lynsey Collinson from Developmentplus and James Irvine, an Architecture student at the University of Lincoln.

The duo set up The Bunker Project with the vision of reinvesting in a disused space at The Old Vicarage on Croft Street.

The project is currently in its first phase with the aim of gathering as many suggestions and ideas from the local community, businesses and residents.

James Irvine said: “By listening to the community we also aim to identify synergies and opportunities and initiate other partnerships and initiatives.

“It’s amazing how many people have got positive things to say. And even when negative things are written on there people would come up there and change the words to turn them into a positive.

“For example, one person wrote ‘No more Polish’ so someone else came along and changes the first word to ‘know’.

“It is very aspirational. By asking people to complete the sentence ‘before I die I want to…’ it makes people thank a little bit and step outside the box. It’s not often someone asks you to think about it. It also gives a presence to the Bunker Project.”

Lynsey Collinson added: “The wall generated quite a bit of interest in the initial stages. It’s been really great to see people standing by and talking about what’s on the board.

“It also generates a great community spirit too, by stopping at the wall people are talking to neighbours that they may never have met before.”

Area improvements

On Tuesday, March 25, school students from Abbey Monks Primary presented their own “I Want to See in my Neighbourhood” wall to the team.

Monks Abbey Primary school student suggestions.

Monks Abbey Primary school student suggestions.

As part of the project, James and Lynsey set the children the task of suggesting improvements for their area, which will be added to the library of community responses and available to use by councils and partnerships.

Responses from the students included suggestions for more activities in the Abbey Ward area, swimming pools, litter picking and more shops.

Monks Abbey Primary school student suggestions.

Monks Abbey Primary school student suggestions.

Christopher (11) said: “We wrote what we wanted to see in the area and what we wanted to improve. I said I would like more cameras in the area like Neighbourhood Watch.

“Lots of my friends suggested swimming pools. I would also like to ban spitting.

Mya (8) said: “I said that we could put flowers around the area to make it a little bit more decorative. How about a chocolate fountain?”