Sovereign Housing Association and Ground Control have completed an ambitious green space enhancement programme of works at Abingdon, Oxfordshire, steered by Abingdon residents and funded by a share of over £33.4k from Sovereign’s Your Community Your Choice (YCYC) programme. 

Brookeside Community Garden TurfThe green space enhancement programme – developed in response to Sovereign resident’s desire to improve the quality of outside spaces within their local area - aimed to involve the local community in tackling the challenge of underutilised communal areas, as well as increasing natural beauty and biodiversity in the district.

Abingdon’s green space programme, completed spring 2022 by Ground Control’s grounds maintenance and landscaping team, included four individual projects submitted and voted for by residents living in Sovereign’s Brookside, Collingwood Close, Gainsborough Green and Nicholson House.   


Residents from more than 55 homes will now benefit from the improved green spaces.  At Nicholson House residents voted for a new, permanent gazebo, which helps protect them from the sun and rain; at Collingwood Close residents requested a new outside seating area, so people can get outside to socialise, rest or meditate; at Gainsborough Green dying trees have been removed and new ones planted, to encourage nature to thrive; and Brookside’s community garden outside space has been completely transformed with welcoming new seating, a pagoda, raised beds, an area for children to play and more accessible washing lines.

Brookside resident Reanna said:

This garden will bring our little community together and give us more outside space to enjoy with neighbours.  It provides a safe and clean environment for everyone to play in and we’re looking forward to using it.

Jenny Bowley, Community Development Officer at Sovereign, and manager of the YCYC project, said:

With the help of Ground Control, residents have been empowered to share their vision for underutilised outside space and how it could be enhanced to make a difference for their community.  The Abingdon green space programme is already making a difference to residents and the communities of Brookside, Collingwood Close, Gainsborough Green and Nicholson House.  The increased biodiversity, additional wellbeing spaces and habitat boxes will provide a place for wildlife to flourish and people to enjoy.

Sophie Childs, Relationship Manager for Housing at Ground Control, said:

We are delighted to collaborate with Sovereign Housing Association and its residents to support the community of Abingdon in this important green space project.  This is another great example of how we are putting our experience of nature-positive grounds maintenance and landscaping to good use, working in partnership with like-minded organisations to care for our environment and deliver positive impacts. It was wonderful to see the residents getting involved and to hear their plans for the use of the garden for years to come. The YCYC project is a great opportunity to empower residents to share their ambitions for their outside spaces, in way that not only provides a safe, enjoyable environment for them, but also positively supports biodiversity.

Scope of grounds maintenance and landscaping works include:   

  • Nicholson House – Installation of permanent wooden gazebo, providing residents with protection from sun and rain and enabling all-year-round enjoyment of the improved community gardens.
  • Collingwood Close - Installation for 4 benches made from 100% recycled plastic waste. Creating a community space for residents to use for socialising, rest, and meditation.  
  • Gainsborough Green – Removal of 2 dead trees, replaced with young Whitebeam trees native to southern England.
  • Brookside – Complete re-design of existing communal garden to include, paving, raised beds, potting bench, new positions for community washing lines, central meeting point complete with pergola, children’s play area laid with multicoloured rubber play bark (made from 100% recycled tyres) children’s bench seating, bird boxes and bee hotels. This transformation also included the lifting of conifers to allow more light into the garden, and the installation of improved security fencing.
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