Review: Chorlton Great Get Together
On the morning of Sunday 23 June, all seemed normal on Wilbraham Road, a busy thoroughfare going through the heart of Chorlton. Traffic was busy, as usual, and a handful of pedestrians were getting breakfast in the cafes and restaurants close to the Four Banks junction.
At 11am that changed. Members of Walk Ride Chorlton and Chorlton Clean Air Network stepped onto the road and closed it to traffic. Within an hour, the street usually clogged with cars was instead clogged with people: local residents visiting community stalls, pedestrians moving without danger of speeding cars, and children playing football and drawing with chalk on the asphalt.
On 20 June, it was Clean Air Day, a chance to find out more about air pollution and help make the air cleaner and healthier for everyone. This was followed by the Great Get Together, a weekend-long event where communities up and down the country were getting together to celebrate kindness, respect and all we have in common.
Walk Ride Chorlton and Chorlton Clean Air Network saw this as a great opportunity for people to experience what it could be like in a Chorlton focused on people rather than through traffic, and how this could benefit community cohesion and economic sustainability.
In order to celebrate these two events, we organised the temporary closure of Wilbraham Road. Businesses were encouraged to expand onto the street and local groups and charities were invited to put up stands.
It was a delight to see the large number of people that turned out. Some came especially for the event and some just happened to walk by and stopped to enjoy the experience.
We are currently collecting feedback from the business on Wilbraham Road to see how their experience was. Numerous people have already commented that it would be great to make this a recurring event.
Words by Edgar Haener (coordinator at Walk Ride Chorlton)
Photographs by Jonathan Keenan (coordinator at Walk Ride Chorlton)