Back alley set to be transformed into 'beautiful place' on Doncaster estate

A back alley is set to be transformed into ‘one of the nicest places’ on a Doncaster estate.

Sunday, 20th September 2020, 12:30 pm

A support organisation for people who have suffered mental health problems has set up a project that will transform the alleyway which runs behind the shops on Montrose Avenue, Intake, into a place where the community can go to relax.

Businesses have backed the scheme, which was started by the People Focussed Group, based at the Wellness Centre on Montrose Avenue, which has remained in operation throughout lockdown with mutual support ‘peer pods’ for its clients – groups of five people who have kept in touch to support one another through activities online and later by going for picnics or cycle rides.

Lockdown has also sparked plans for a new project at the centre.

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Wendy Robinson, Connor Cambridge, both Peer Supporters, Kelly Hicks, PFG Director, Darren Graham, Peer Supporter, Stuart Marshall Safe Space Project Worker, Scott Copeland, Club Doncaster Foundation Health and Wellbeing Officer, Vinny Cowling, Peer Supporter, Mark Burley, Keepmoat Homes Corporate and Social Responsibility Manager, Jenny Aimson and Michael Mulligan, both DMBC Stronger Communities Officers, pictured in the area that is due to be improved as part of the Back Alley Project. NDFP-15-09-20-WellnessCentre 3-NMSY

Its members are running what has been called the Back Alleys project, which will see the alleys behind the shops upgraded to a place where people can meet safely and comfortably outdoors.

"It is about coming together and making something positive happen out of all this,” said Kelly Hicks, who set up the People Focused Group. “We want to make it beautiful and peaceful. It will have thornless raspberry bushes, and local artists decorating the walls. It will be the whole length of the alley, and it has gates that can be locked. We will have space for people to come and sit, and it will be there for all local people to use.

"We hope it will be one of the nicest places to be in Intake."

Local businesses including Keepmoat and Doncaster Rovers are involved with the scheme, with Keepmoat providing labour and materials for the project.

A view of the area which is due to be improved as part of the Back Alley Project. NDFP-15-09-20-WellnessCentre 5-NMSY

The Wellness Centre building was used as a food bank base, distributing food locally, during lockdown.

However it suffered a blow when thieves stole its supply of bicycles, which had been chained to railings.

The community rallied, and replaced them with donations of bikes, which they are also loaning to the general public. Kelly said it was the first time the centre had been a victim of crime as members of the criminal community usually realised it was providing a valuable local service.

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