Local communities often voiced their fear of using the Liverpool Loopline. Known locally as "the Ralla", it is a cycle path created by Sustrans on a disused railway line. Being underused with some isolated areas, it suffered high instances of anti-social behaviour.
We worked with the local community to dream of a more positive space, spinning reflections and ideas into a practical plan to animate the Ralla.
For maximum impact, we focused on encouraging families to use the Ralla for leisure. Several days of activities were arranged with craft activities, knitting graffiti, smoothie-making, samba music, bike clinics and rickshaw rides.
The spark we lit with the animation of the Ralla led to our next step – for the community to powerfully reclaim the space. With a negative media profile in the area at that time, Cobalt Housing and the Neighbourhood Management Service encouraged us to dream on a bigger scale.
Over 50 organisations came together on a cold night in March to reclaim the Ralla in an event called Chrysalis. It was transformed into an enchanted, magical space with a light parade created by over 300 people processing along the winding track to an outdoor performance, with giant lantern puppets, created with Liverpool Lantern Company.
Practical action to support on-going community use of the Ralla involved Sustrans and Liverpool Primary Care Trust (PCT). Resilient, weather-proof artwork was installed, created by Barlows Primary School, Archbishop Beck Catholic Secondary School and a cycling group from Fazakerley with artist Sketchy Beast. A family-friendly map of the artwork was printed and distributed across the neighbourhood. Distance markers were designed to encourage running and cycling on the Ralla.