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First ‘Make Space for Girls’ outdoor space in Bradford opens

The first outdoor green space in Bradford designed specifically for teenage girls and designed with the help of local girls is now open.
Coming together: representatives from JU:MP, Incommunities and Bradford Council come together for the opening of the first First 'Make Space for Girls' outdoor space in Bradford (pictured far left Rachael Dennis, Chief Executive of Incommunities, and pictured second from right in red jacket, Caroline Swain, Community Engagement Manager for JU:MP)

The £45K project has seen a small local green space in Fagley, located in the north east of the city, transformed with parkour equipment, different areas of seating, and wildflower planting – all designed in a way to make the area more attractive and feel safer for teenage girls.

Following guidelines from charity Make Space for Girls which campaigns for safer public spaces for teenage girls, the play space was designed after consultation and feedback from girls in the local community.

The project is a partnership between the JU:MP (Join Us: Move Play) programme (funded by Sport England and delivered by Born in Bradford (Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust); housing association Incommunities and Bradford Council.

The opening of the Fagley play space comes just weeks after research from a recent study was published, which found that more than 100 women and girls in West Yorkshire believed their local parks to be unsafe.

The research was commissioned by the mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin and carried out by Leeds University. Recommendations from researchers included involving women and girls in the design of parks and green spaces.

In Bradford, the JU:MP programme has been working on making parks more attractive to teenage girls. Born in Bradford, a research programme hosted by Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, is leading on the JU:MP project.

They worked with teenage girls who live in Fagley and involved them in the design process for the green space. The girls created mood boards and models to map out and visualise what they wanted to see from their local green space.

Caroline Swain, Community Engagement Manager for JU:MP at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It’s been great to work on this – it is such an important first for Bradford and it’s just the beginning of the work we’re doing to create more spaces like this.

“As part of our research into parks and greenspaces, we found that adolescent girls in Yorkshire are less likely to use parks than boys. We wanted to find out why, and see what we could do to help.

“We joined forces with the incredible Make Space For Girls and our brilliant local partners for this project in Fagley to develop a green space that could be used to create more opportunities for older girls to hang out and be active.

“We couldn’t possibly design and develop a green space without the help of the experts so we involved the girls aged 11 to 15 who lived nearby, and professionals with experience of designing parks. We held a series of workshops, so that we could work together to co-create a green space that would have elements chosen by the girls, but would be inclusive to all.”

The new play space is situated within existing public open space in Fagley which is owned by Incommunities. The play park will be managed by the housing association and is located next to a multi-use games area, and a play area for younger children.

Rachael Dennis, Chief Executive of Incommunities, said: “We are proud to be a part of this important project, and to have helped with the creation of the first Make Space for Girls play park in our city.

“It’s great that the local community have been so instrumental in creating this space. Providing safe and inclusive spaces that help girls feel safer is essential and this project aligns perfectly with our commitment to building inclusive communities.”

Bradford Council’s landscape design team worked closely with the community to create the final design.

Cllr Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “This new area will provide a wonderful space for teenage girls to come together, socialise, and engage in physical activities.

“The inclusion of seating areas, parkour items, and wildflower planting demonstrates our commitment to creating an enriched environment that fosters biodiversity and community well-being. We have actively involved local schools and residents throughout the design process, ensuring that their needs are met. I look forward to witnessing the local communities enjoying this fantastic space.”

The opening of the first green space specifically designed for girls in Bradford has been welcomed by Make Space for Girls.

Imogen Clark, a trustee at Make Space for Girls, said: “When people think of spaces for teenagers, they almost always think of skateparks, fenced pitches and bike tracks. But these tend to be dominated by a minority of boys; and lots of girls just don’t get a look in. Listening to what girls say about what would make them feel more welcome in parks is a key part of solving this.

“We’re really excited to have worked with JU:MP, Incommunities and Bradford Council to support a group of amazing young women who live in Fagley to co-design this fantastic area.”

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