Breathing Spaces pilot draws to a close

We’ve had an amazing year with our Breathing Spaces project in St Denys, including: hosting five Clean Air Cafes; ten particulate matter air quality sensors installed across St Denys; and a whole load of community action. Hundreds of local people have been involved. We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of enthusiasm and action for healthier streets from the community.

There have been road closures (or open streets as we prefer to call them), a river-based festival, the launching of a new gardening group and much more. Take a look at our Breathing Spaces website for more information about how action has flourished. People can now find out what the data is saying about air pollution in the locality. Southampton City Council has also been looking at gathering evidence from the community about how St Denys could be improved. Check out their Connecting St Denys website.

So what will the future hold? As well as gathering information from our conversation-based events such as our Clean Air Cafes, we have been asking people to complete a survey so we can assess the impact of the project. This will close on Tuesday 10th December, so if you are reading this in time, please do click here and spend 5 mins to help us evaluate our project. We are working with an independent evaluator Naomi Jones to make sure the assessment is fair and evidence-based.

To date, people have been saying they want air quality conversation and action within the St Denys community to continue. They want to explore more of the air quality data and science and want to understand the most effective measures to reduce pollution. They have a whole range of ideas for reducing traffic and sources of pollution. They love the community action that has been happening and want more chances to get involve in positive ways such as through gardening and creative ways to share pollution and community messages. They want to work together towards healthier, less polluted streets.

There will be a chance for local residents to join a study tour to a low traffic neighbourhood – Mini Holland in Waltham Forest, London – in early 2020. Get in touch if you want to join us.

Once our full evaluation is complete, we will decide next steps with the community. We have also been talking to other potential partners about future work around air quality in Southampton. The impact of the Breathing Spaces project will continue, as more ideas and actions from our air quality bursary programme are still being developed. So watch this space.

We’re very grateful to our funders and partners – Nesta, DCMS, University of Southampton, Southampton Solent University – for helping us get this project off the ground.

If you want to keep up-to-date with the work of the Southampton Collective and Breathing Spaces, drop us a line to hello@socollective.org.uk and we can add you to our mailing lists, or give us a call on 07968 777261. You can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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