In the past, Pete worked on a local food project in Bradford and as a volunteer at Oblong, a Leeds based community development charity. This experience helped him realise that he wanted to do community development with an environmental focus.
Pete joined Hyde Park Source 3 years ago as Green Space Project Co-ordinator.
Hyde Park Source has been running since 1998. It started off as local residents’ initiative to transform disused bin yards into gardens, but has developed into a community benefit society with 6 employees and 30 volunteers. They work with local communities to improve their surroundings, designing and creating attractive, exciting, safe and useful places for people to live, work and play, “improving health and wellbeing through improving the environment.”
Funding from various sources, including the Lottery Fund and Tudor Trust, has enabled numerous initiatives. They have worked with School, Housing Associations and Local Council on green space improvements, construction of gardens and after school clubs. Recent Reaching Communities England funding has enabled a new project ‘Outdoors Active and Well’, working in partnership with TCV and Leeds Mind. Hyde Park Source is also a Permaculture Learning and Network Demonstration (LAND) Centre.
Pete emphasises the importance of communication skills and connections with other people in the area (a sense of place). Through his involvement with the Leeds Permaculture Network and being surrounded by like minded people, he feels embedded in the permaculture community.
Pete suggests starting with small and slow solutions. It is useful to have something to build on, “Something that’s not perfect first and then improve it rather than trying to get something from nothing and make it perfect.” Developing and implementing your permaculture business ideas it is important to respond to real needs and have “a critical mass of people who agree that it’s a good idea.”
Pete says: “You really should try and reflect the personalities of the people who are working for your organisation… You shouldn’t try and pretend to be something you’re not.” Pete finds the co-operative model is the most suitable for Hyde Park Source, making it an open, inclusive organisation which can also run volunteering schemes.