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Teenager who turned a fly tipping site in L8 into an urban garden is up for a national award

1 month ago

Teenager who turned a fly tipping site in L8 into an urban garden is up for a national award

A teenager who transformed a derelict site used for fly tipping into an urban garden in L8 has been nominated for a national award.

When he was just 14, Khan Odita was determined to turn the former fly tipping dumping ground into a beautiful useful green space.

With a clear vision of what it could become, and supported by his mum Natasha, he set up a Community Interest Company and formed the Mulgrave Street Action Group in 2021 to tackle the challenge.

By organising litter picks, skip days and helping to promote responsible waste disposal, he brought together a team of local residents who gave up their time to help make the UrbanScape garden project happen.

The Mulgrave Street Action Group also successfully applied for a £30,000 grant from Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram’s Community Environment Fund.

The UrbanScape community garden in L8

What was once an ugly fly tipping site became a garden filled with plants, paving and seating areas that’s a hub for a range of free community activities.

Completed in April last year, the garden has gone on to attract national media attention – earlier this month a crew from a new ITV Alan Titchmarsh gardening programme filmed there.

Khan was also recognised for his efforts with the Student Inspiration Award at the 2022 Liverpool City Region Culture and Creativity Awards.

Now he’s been named as a finalist at the 2024 National Crimebeat Awards, which highlights the most innovative and successful crime prevention projects across the UK, carried out by young people aged between five and 25 years old.

The 16-year-old, who’s studying for A levels at Liverpool College, was nominated by High Sheriff of Merseyside Ruth Hussey and Merseyside Police’s Sgt Rachael Moorcroft who have both been big supporters of the Action Group’s work.

Fly tipping - Mulgrave Street Action Group - The Guide Liverpool

The winners of the 2024 National Crimebeat Awards will be announced at a ceremony in London on Tuesday March 19.

Khan says being a finalist at such a prestigious event is an achievement for everyone who’s been involved in transforming the community garden.

“I was elated to find out because it’s recognition not just for me, but for all our dedicated volunteers and the community,” he says. “It shows our humble area is being recognised on a national scale for the work we do. 

“Some of the other finalists are from Greater London, and there a few from the West Midlands, but they are more related to youth crime prevention which is quite different from what we do.

“My work doesn’t specifically target youth, it’s more for the whole community, and I think it’s also more tangible because you can walk around UrbanScape and see the direct results.

“What used to be a hotspot for flytipping and anti-social behaviour, which had mattresses and TVs and all kinds strewn all over it, is now a permanent garden.

“In the local area as well there’s been a noticeable decrease in rubbish dumping, and the streets just look a lot clearer. Now we’ve built UrbanScape it’s had such a positive wave of impact throughout the whole area.”

Visit the Mulgrave Street Action Group website HERE.

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