Newington needed green space for the community. In 2014, its residents came together to reclaim The Copse, a 1.2 acre area of woodland at the heart of the estate. Volunteer residents worked with Kent County Council, Thanet District Council to clear the Copse and secure the space, using a ‘Tenancy at Will’ agreement, as a community asset for the people of Newington.

Activity in the Copse has exceeded all expectation. Simon Crouchman, our woodsman, has imaginatively transformed this former wilderness into a beautiful and inspiring outdoor space used by Newington residents and groups, such as the local school and mental health support group. It is used for community events such as Halloween, the Easter Egg Hunt and art installations – as well as a place to grow local food.

Thousands of people have visited the Copse over the past year and the woodland now acts as an information hub for the Estate, with information boards around the site, meanwhile efforts to provide a wildlife survey with Kent Wildlife Trust are ongoing. Young people are also involved in planting, clearing and creating wildlife areas.

The area is now maintained by a part-time Community Gardener, who is working with the neighbourhood committee to develop and carry out projects designed to engage local people in their green spaces across the Estate.

Alongside the revitalization of The Copse, Newington is also home to the Green Roof Shelter. Located in the grounds of St Christopher's Church and made from a wildlife friendly converted shipping container it serves as an office for Newington’s Big Local team and also Newington Community Savers, a new credit union. The container has been clad with recycled wood and has a sedum planted roof with meadow plants to encourage bees and ladybirds also several bug hotels.

ProjectCara Thorpe