Set up in 2017, CA Spaces is a volunteer run group who bring colour, greenery and playful art projects to Chapel Allerton.
Projects have included working with street artists on murals and media boxes around the area, planting trees and wildflowers and creating a mud kitchen for children to play and families to meet in a small, unused green space.
The group have worked hard to find ways for people to continue to connect even through lockdown with Chapel Allerton’s first ‘Living Advent Calendar’ in December 2020. 48 local businesses and households took part, decorating a window with a number with 2 lit up each day in the run up to Christmas. Early evening walks to see the windows lit up were a great festive treat, particularly during a time when restrictions on socialising were still stringent.
Intergenerational elements are at the heart of many of CA Spaces projects.
The mud kitchen, set up at the corner of Town Street and King George Avenue in Chapel Allerton provides a new play space for children and picnic benches have made it a great social space for people to meet.
Members of the group have set up ‘Playstreets’ in the area where once a month, a street is closed to traffic to allow neighbours to meet and children to play.
They are also working with many fellow Chapel Allerton community groups, including ChapelAPlay (working to improve the playground in Chapel Allerton Park) on activities for the National Day of Play in August.
Part of the group’s passion is making sure that the most is made of the green spaces in the area. Since 2017, they have planted over 700 trees, created wildlife habitats including hedgehog homes, birdhouses and bug hotels, planted wildflowers in 20 locations and created 5 community orchard spaces.
One of their most recent projects has seen a Little Veg Library set up alongside community veg beds in Chapel Allerton Park. This library is a space for residents to donate plants, seeds and gardening tools. “Veg Club” growing sessions are also held here on a Saturday afternoon for anyone who wants to come along for a chat or learn about growing vegetables. The group is looking for volunteers to help run this project which runs for around 2 hours. The space acts as a living food bank where anyone can take fresh fruit and vegetables grown by the community, for the community.
It is perhaps the street art which has been the most obvious impact of CA Spaces work so far.
All around Chapel Allerton, previously dull and plain electricity and media boxes have been transformed into colourful works of art, many sponsored for by local independent businesses who are happy to support the improvement it makes to the streets.
Local residents and other community groups have also been clubbing together to get murals and boxes on their roads painted giving little bursts of surprise and colour around the area.
In January, CA Spaces put out a call for LS7 Superstars and created 50 portraits which were placed around the area celebrating amazing local people – a trail followed by many people during the lockdown earlier this year.
Most recently, CA Spaces organised a huge mural to be painted in the entrance to the Co-op in the heart of Chapel Allerton. A bright, hopeful image with the words “Hello Neighbour” it’s a beautiful encapsulation of what the group are trying to achieve.