Barrowcliff Green Oasis: Sanctuary Housing

Sanctuary Housing

Sanctuary Housing, in partnership with Groundwork North Yorkshire, set out to transform a disused area of land on the Barrowcliff Estate in Scarborough into a community woodland and park. The aim was to create an attractive community green space which provided opportunities for people of all ages on the 1950s suburban estate to enjoy.

Background and Information 

With a focus on the Decent Homes Need Decent Space Action Plan, £140,000 was invested in an improvement project which took a large and previously underused expanse of open space on the Barrowcliff Estate and, developed a green oasis which enabled the local community to better value and utilise the space. 

Resident Involvement 

Resident involvement played a crucial role in the project. With Groundwork North Yorkshire providing organisational expertise, over 500 local residents of all ages played an active role in the redesign of the estate's open spaces. This led not only to a better designed and managed open space but one which was supported by over 700 hours of resident volunteering worth nearly £6,000 in labour costs. The local community pulled on wellies and picked up spades to plant nearly 9,000 trees and turn the green space into a picturesque biodiversity enhancing woodland area. 


First and foremost, a previously underused space was transformed into a distinctive, visually arresting area which is accessible to all the community. In addition, over 40 fruit trees were planted to create an orchard area in the park. Moreover, to support and encourage local wildlife all of the other trees planted were British native species to such as oak, hazel, birch, cherry, rowan and hawthorn. The emphasis on resident involvement not only ensured the physical delivery of the improvement work but helped to bring together the community. 

Lessons Learnt 

Good organisation, good quality publicity, and a bit of luck with the weather was key to ensuring the tree planting was completed in the short space of time available. Involvement from local people and groups was critical as without their help the project would not have been completed on time.

It is wonderful to see so many local volunteers coming together for this project, and their efforts have helped create an area that will benefit the environment and Barrowcliff community for years to come.

John Hanson, Head of Housing Operations North, Sanctuary Housing

It was a fantastic turn out and it is great to see how many local people are interested in making their environment an even better place to live, work and socialise. We had volunteers from all walks of life – from school pupils and the Girl Guides to local employees and housing associations. We can’t thank our partners enough; the organisations involved donated not only their money but also their time to make sure this project was a success.

Tom Mutton, Groundwork North Yorkshire