Laying out our vision for Foxy Island’s future

Foxy Island is an unused wilderness that for most us, represents a familiarity if not the site of many memories. Be it a place of adventure in our youth, or the dreaded site of Farringdon school cross country runs, this moorland has been a part of our community for generations even, if it is not the most pleasant of places. But the time has come to finally bring it into a new era, not least before it gets too late and is carved up by developers.

Sunderland is at a crossroads concerning its own future. Despite economic struggles that have dampened our city centre, the reality is things are optimistic on Wearside as we are currently enjoying the biggest span of development we have ever seen in decades. The Riverside Sunderland and Vaux project is firmly underway, the Keel Square development over the past 10 years has been a resounding success and most importantly, funding was secured for a game changing new film studio on the banks of the Wear.

But there are other things to be done too, Farringdon and the southwest of the city has always been a subject of interest for this author because it is literally where I grew up. It’s all very personal, which is why Farnton.org came into being in the first place. Now, we’ve been quiet for a long time as the focus has been placed largely on the citywide SGM, but we aren’t without our success stories. Two blue heritage plaques were established on Anthony Road as we fought to push Farringdon’s history into the public domain, but now it is time to handle the big question: Foxy Island.

We’ve been proposing to redevelop Foxy Island since 2021 but that hasn’t been possible because obviously these things require a lot of money. So we decided to take this into our own hands as a community project and started our own fundraiser for it. Sure, it won’t raise the millions needed to transform this place into a fully fledged country park, rather, the objective is to initiate a slow process of change and development over time.

Plant more Trees

Although there are many trees on the periphery of the area, which is known sometimes as “Foxhole Wood” and some bushes in the centre. We want to transform the space into a comprehensive new forest, and make it the largest in Sunderland, covering many of the open grass embankments. We aim to work with local charities such as Foundation of Earth in order to do this.

Flower Beds

We aim to raise funds for new flowerbeds, making the area colourful and beautiful. We aim to place these around the Hendon Burn stream and around the peripheral pathways.

Gravel paths

Rather than making this a dirty and muddy place to walk through at certain times of year we aim to fundraise, purchase and lay down gravel stones over the impromptu pathways to make it more accessible. According to research, 1000kg of pebbles is about £183.

Cleaning and Tidying up

Part of the fundraising effort will involve investing in litter picking and cleaning efforts. If more money is unlocked, we would really like to invest in bins and security too, but realistically we can’t afford that.

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