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Poet's Grove Renovation Project | Image: Benny Edwards

A collaboration which aims to give back to the community by creating an inviting outdoor space for locals to come together.

Breathing new life into Poet’s Corner

Poet’s Corner was a tired community space in Redfern used by locals mainly as a thoroughfare than a pleasant place to gather with fellow residents. Surrounded by high rises, Poet’s Corner had the potential to add value to the community but was sitting neglected until Weave Youth & Community Services showed interest in revamping the space.

Collaborating with Cadence & Co who specialise in residential design and construction, and garden design team Sticks & Stones Landscapes, Weave was able to breathe life into Poet’s Corner and give back to the local residents.

Take a look at a video of the renovation project by Benny Edwards from BC Films.

Cadence & Co director Darren Mills takes the time to share his experience getting involved in this community project:

What drew you to get involved in the Poet’s Corner project?

Our employee Jordy does a lot of community work and his close friend Lincoln worked for Weave. Lincoln asked Jordy if he thought we would be interested in helping him with a community project in Redfern.

We visited the site with Jordy, Fiona and Julia of Sticks & Stones to meet with Weave representatives including Lincoln. Linc’s enthusiasm and the quality of people at Weave were very apparent. The space has a very institutional feeling and was run down. It was not a comfortable space to be in for the first time. After we arrived we soon found residents coming up and asking us what we were doing. In no time they were joking with us and were friendly and warm towards us. We went from feeling uncomfortable to welcome in no time.

There was a child playing in the space that was essentially brickwork, concrete and dirt where the grass had died. It was obvious from that first visit, this project would make a huge difference to the community.

Poets Grove Renovation Project | Image: Benny Edwards
Poet’s Grove Renovation Project | Image: Benny Edwards

You’ve teamed up with Sticks & Stones for this project. How did that come about?

Fi and Jules of Sticks & Stones feel like they are part of our Cadence family. Although they have their own thriving business working for other clients, we see them most days at one of our projects. They are both talented designers but above all, they are both great people. Julia put more time and energy into this project than anyone would ever know. Cadence probably gets the recognition but she went way above and beyond here.

As usual, their vision in the design and their pervasiveness with suppliers helping out really were huge factors in the success of this project.

Can you share some insights into the design and how you’ve improved the space to become a destination?

I think creating the Rhino grate deck are where there was a slope has made it much more usable under the trees. The Endicott crazy paving looks and feels so much better than the plain concrete and the addition of the trees, BBQ’s and colour stencils on the ground for the kids to play all combine to create a place to sit, meet, talk and play. The arrangement of the seats and tables makes for a huge improvement to the institutional arrangement they were in before too.

What are the wins and challenges of the project?

Poets Grove Renovation Project | Image: Benny Edwards
Poet’s Grove Renovation Project | Image: Benny Edwards

It was a difficult project to get off the ground as there are many government bodies involved. This was a huge logistical challenge for Weave. The police were involved in the design consultation early as they wanted to ensure that the area was clearly visible to the residents in the surrounding buildings to prevent crime etc. This meant no roof over the table and chairs, non-flammable materials etc.

I think the biggest win is it really softens and greens up the area. It is inviting and attractive and seems to have changed how the space is used. There is a mural on the wall that has a large white background and there is no graffiti on it at all. Greg Benson, the CEO of Weave, felt that was due to the extensive consultation with the community, the community taking ownership of the space. It appears many more residents are using the space which is fantastic to see. 

 

We’re pleased to have contributed to the Poet’s Grove, Redfern project along with many other suppliers and sponsors including: Hardware & General, Greendale Timbers, Australian Native Landscapes ANL & Sherringhams Nursery, The Brick Pit, Exotic Nurseries & Landscaping, Garden Life, Rhino Grating QLD, Adept Installations, Resene and Dial & Dump Industries.

Videography and Images by Benny Edwards from BC Films.