The Gate launches urban garden project for Newcastle to bring new skills to the city’s young people

The Gate, Newcastle’s premier leisure destination, has launched an urban garden project with the aim of bringing new skills to young people from the city.

27 October 2017

The Gatekeepers project, which commenced on Monday 23 October, invited young people from across Newcastle to design and create a new living wall and garden on Jacobins Chare. The project has created what is believed to be the first-ever biodiversity ‘graffiti’ wall.

Since Monday, young volunteers from Streetwise have been working together to create their graffiti art design which has now been brought to life on Jacobins Chare, creating a new living wall in the heart of the city centre. Young volunteers, with the support of partner organisations, will now focus on the creation of an urban garden in the same area.

Gatekeepers has been created in partnership with the Northumberland Wildlife Trust. Additional support is being provided by Streetwise, the local charity supporting the physical, emotional and mental health of young people living in Newcastle upon Tyne, the National Trust and EcoNorth. Helping the young people transform their graffiti design into a living masterpiece is Artecology, the ecological public art specialists.

The Gate instigated the project to give young people access to new skills and create opportunities to learn about biodiversity and the local ecology. The urban garden and living wall will be maintained by volunteers from the National Trust’s Gibside in Tyne & Wear and Streetwise’s young supporters.

Zara Batey, a 16-year old student from Newcastle who has been taking part in the project, said: “I found this an inspiring experience that helped me understand that the little things we do to help the environment we live in are the most important.”

Peter Dorans, Corporate Relations Manager, The Wildlife Trusts, said: “We’re delighted to be working with The Crown Estate and teams from The Gate and Streetwise to create vital space for people and wildlife in the heart of the city”.

Inge Johnson Mitchell, centre manager of The Gate, said: “I am pleased that we’ve been able to provide this area of our centre as a place for Newcastle’s young people to express their creativity. The living wall, and the urban garden that we’re still working on, will transform Jacobins Chare. This will be a hidden green oasis in the heart of our city.”

Mandy Coppin CEO at Streetwise said: “This project is all about getting young people involved in looking after the city centre and I am delighted with how the garden has developed. Getting involved with this project has allowed the young people to learn new skills and develop their confidence and environmental consciousness. It’s a positive space right in the heart of Newcastle and when they have got ownership of a project, they are more likely to look after it. This is a wonderful opportunity for the young people of Newcastle, they will be part of developing a city centre community ‘wellbeing’ garden, where they will learn new skills, meet other young people, develop their confidence and environmental awareness.”