Zero Carbon Streets: RedCross Areas Residents’ Association (RARA) and Children’s Committee

This article was published in 2022, in Magazine 155.

RedCross Areas Residents Association & Neighbourhood was set up in 2020 in response to long-embedded and ongoing suspicious and anti-social issues. It brought agencies together to work together positively to address these just as the pandemic hit.

Hope’s Friendship Garden on Red Cross Lane

Over the past two years we have concentrated on greening up and cleaning up the area. This in turn led to shopping, baking, prescription drop-offs and checking in on shielding, isolating and elderly neighbours. The children and young people living in the community got involved in litter picking and taking crafts and gifts to both families and NHS/key workers. The area not only improved physically but the community started to get involved in the activities and as the area became more of an active travel route it was used by locals, people from neighbouring areas and workers for the school run, cycling and jogging, making it a more vibrant area.

Hope from the RARA Children's CommitteeLast year, a new children’s committee was formed with Hope (left) as its Chair and Penelope as her Honorary Executive Officer. Members MacKayla, Kayla, Otis, Jasper, Isla, Mikael and Talia always welcome new residents’ children to join them. They have helped keep the area and roads clean and watered the new trees. With the help of the city council’s Streets and Open Spaces team, they created Hope’s Friendship Garden with raised beds, developed their own notice board and were involved in the creation of a video piece for a Cambridge Biomedical Campus Arts project. Next they supported a neighbourhood afternoon on 5 June (the first in 40 years) with lots of free food, crafts, music, dance and sports funded by a Cambridge Council Platinum Jubilee grant. To promote the event some of the children created silhouettes on Red Cross Lane and collected together fabric hand prints from those who live here to form bunting all around the community notice boards.

Hope says: “I’m so happy to be the Chair of the RARA children’s committee, I am proud that Anna Garrett-Quinton’s tree is in our lane and we water it every day. It is a peaceful quiet place where her family, colleagues and friends can remember her, we have planted bright flowers around it because Anna loved wild flowers. I hope that for many years people in our committee and local community will join their voices to the campaign to make the roundabout by Addenbrooke’s Hospital safer. There’s a ghost bike there to remember Anna and to remind people to drive more safely and to feel for others and not just for themselves. I write this with the memory of Anna in my heart’.

Imogene Blackburn-Horgan