How a community reclaimed a Norwich park from drug dealers and prostitutes
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018
It was once a hot-spot for drug dealing and prostitution.
But thanks to an army of volunteers, Old Library Wood in Thorpe Hamlet has been reclaimed by the community.
And now, the Old Library Wood Collective has launched an unusual initiative to keep anti-social behaviour at bay - a community bookcase.
'People were once scared to walk through the park,' said Fi Leggo, a member of the volunteer group.
'The women who worked at the local businesses were given rape whistles.
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'But we thought we would start something positive and it has worked, we wanted to attract normal residents and push out anti-social individuals.'
The latest addition to their well-kept public space is a hand-crafted community bookcase, made and painted by Ms Leggo and Crispin Kaye-Morell.
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Mr Kaye-Morell said: 'It took quite a while to find the right wood - something that wasn't made out of chipboard but made of oak. It is important there is something to positive do in the park.'
The collective have been cleaning up the park for one year, now the quaint community space boasts manicured hedges, seating, flower beds and fencing.
Their next mission is to install bright, LED lighting along the pathway through the park.
The Little Library Book Swap is filled with long and short reads - to exchange with one of your own paperbacks.
The Collective go on regular litter picks and host events at the Old Library Mews park.
Community member, Jimmy Mavroudis noticed the stark difference of clean-up in his local park.
The 46-year-old from Norwich said: 'It was brilliant just walking through and seeing everyone reading in the park,
Mr Mavroudis said: 'The right people in here will get the wrong people out.'
Norwich city councillor Ben Price, who represents the Thorpe Hamlet ward, said people used to regularly find evidence of drug dealing and prostitution at the park.
He said: 'You would find condoms, needles and other detritus from both of those processes going on.'
They are now working towards getting brighter lighting in the park, build a children's book exchange and host open-air events.
For more information, visit their website www.oldlibrarywood.org.