Good Neighbourhood Awards Member Stories

Good Neighbour Awards 2019 – Transforming the streets through gardening

Written by Patrick Grier

Earlier this year we launched our search to find the UK’s best neighbours who are going above and beyond to help those in need and their communities as part of our Good Neighbour Awards.

Out of hundreds of nominations, six well-deserved neighbours were crowned the winners of Nextdoor’s Good Neighbour Awards 2019.

Over the next week, we will be sharing with you the individual winners and their inspirational stories. 

The first winner in this year’s series is  Elizabeth Robinson-Ramos from Liverpool. Elizabeth lives on Beaconsfield Street in Toxteth, an inner-city area of Liverpool which is known for having a longstanding and powerful sense of community and identity.

Elizabeth was nominated by her neighbour Rosemary Crossland for transforming her street and the shared alleyway at the back of her home from a space where people dumped rubbish into a beautiful oasis.

Prior to her planting project, Elizabeth worked with asylum-seekers and refugees – although she’s now retired, her need to help those around her hasn’t wavered.

Elizabeth moved to Beaconsfield Street five years ago as part of the famous Granby Four Streets project that saw Liverpool City Council renovate empty homes across four desolate streets into new homes for the community. After moving in, Elizabeth spent hours working tirelessly to turn her back garden into a tranquil space filled with colourful plants. It wasn’t long until her work was done in her own backyard and her focus turned to her local neighbourhood. 

With help from her husband Paul, Elizabeth decided to start work on tackling the alleyway at the back of their house. It was full of litter, broken glass and regularly used for fly-tipping, as well as being a breeding ground for rats. Working together, Elizabeth and Paul transformed it into a secret garden adorned with flowers, plants and home-grown vegetables. It is now a community space for all the neighbours to enjoy, whether it’s for a cuppa and a chat, or to get gardening together.

Elizabeth’s next project was to tackle her street and the roads surrounding it. Before she moved to the street, it was unkempt, drab and often a place where people dumped their rubbish. But now the street is almost unrecognisable from its previous state. It is full of mini-community ecosystems with plants and flowers, re-using unwanted items to create flower beds and hanging baskets.

And it doesn’t stop there. Elizabeth knew in order to maintain the upkeep of what she has created, she needed to encourage and educate the local children on how to garden and care for their area. And she has done just that. Running workshops and community sessions, inspiring the next generation of children to look after their street so they can then pass this to their friends and one day, their own children. 

Nextdoor member Rosemary Crossland, told us why she felt it was so important to nominate Elizabeth “Elizabeth has completely transformed our whole street. She’s planted beautiful plants along the whole road and even in the alley behind the street. Our road doesn’t just look great, it makes you feel proud to be a resident and provides a sense of place. Elizabeth works tirelessly to make our surroundings beautiful and she even teaches the local children to become interested in gardening by helping with the upkeep” 

When we presented Elizabeth with her Good Neighbour Award, we were instantly taken aback by her energy, community spirit and how beautiful the alleyway and surrounding streets looked. Elizabeth has worked to give Beaconsfield Street something extra, something for everyone to enjoy when they walk down the street. 

Elizabeth is the first profile in our Good Neighbour Award series and we hope her story will inspire neighbours across the UK to use Nextdoor in new ways to bring people together and make a difference to people’s lives. Keep an eye on our blog to find out more about our remaining winners.

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