Green scheme bridges divide and brings west London community together
Youngsters are joining forces with older people for a ‘regreening’ and public art project aimed at bringing together a west London community.
Urban Oasis will feature environmental projects, food growing, harvesting and cooking, arts and craft activities and the development of two new murals.
It is aimed at strengthening community bonds in Acton, an area in the process of transformation which has unsettled communities and seen many residents moved while regeneration work takes place.
The scheme kicked off with a major tree planting exercise in which children from West Acton Primary School and Berrymede Junior School bedded in 800 saplings during National Tree Week to connect them with the natural environment.
The project is being delivered by the Acton-based charity ARTification, with £30,000 funding from City Bridge Trust – the City of London Corporation’s charity funder.
Dhruv Patel, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee, said:
“This is a project which will play a really important role in bridging the generational divide, bringing the community together and enabling young people in particular to experience the benefits of getting in touch with nature and being creative.”
The three-year scheme will see the creation of new raised beds and planters for growing food at North Acton Pavilion, with young people learning from their older peers to sow, harvest, grow, cook and share their own food.
Meanwhile, young people will work with professional artists to design and deliver two new murals at the pavilion and at Bollo Brook Park, in South Acton.
Rachel Pepper, ARTification director, said:
“We are working with people who are feeling isolated and disconnected as they face socio-economic and health challenges, exacerbated by the pandemic and we feel it’s really important to help people connect and find a sense of community.
“There’s something primeval about getting your hands in the soil and something like planting trees or growing your own food helps you to understand the importance of having a relationship with nature and to feel a sense of control over your life and environment.
“This is a project which is open to the whole community but which will put young people in the lead, helping them to develop new skills and build their confidence, to learn from older people and teach them something in return.”
More information about ARTification is online at www.artification.org.uk
The City of London Corporation’s charity funder, City Bridge Trust, is London’s biggest independent grant giver, making grants of over £25 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital – www.citybridgetrust.org.uk
Case study: “I’m not really a fan of trees but we actually do need them”
Berrymede Junior School pupils Julia Kanaan and Cordell Amponsah, both 10, took part in the Urban Oasis tree planting – the third year that both have helped with ARTification community growing projects.
Julia said: “We’ve done a lot of digging with shovels and we got to plant trees and some vegetables. It was really fun and it helped me a lot because I’ve always wanted to plant. My mum asked me what types of seeds I want and now we’ve got our own little garden at home.
“I even got my sister involved – she wasn’t that involved before but tried it and fell in love with it. She doesn’t really like wiggly worms and slugs but planting has made her more confident with animals and insects.”
Cordell said: “I’m not really a fan of trees and plants but we actually do need them. They give us oxygen for our lungs. Some plants or trees, some animals live in them, so if we keep cutting those trees down then that means animals won’t be able to have their homes and will keep on dying. So the population of trees is very important.”
Video / picture captions
A video of tree planting is available at:
(1) – Berrymede Junior School pupils Cordell Amponsah and Julia Kanaan, both aged 10, with Rachel Pepper, ARTification Director
(2) – Alessio Perkola and Beatriz Gonzalez
(3) – Saafi Ismail, Shahd Alkarjieh and Zuzia Melka-Pancewicz
(4) – Tree planting at Berrymede Junior School
Notes to editors
The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK – www.cityoflondon.gov.uk
The City Corporation’s charity funder, City Bridge Trust, has allocated £11.25 million to the London Community Response, set up to help charities deal with the impact of coronavirus, and has also given over £1.7 million in one-off grants to 202 organisations it already supports to help them offset lost income resulting from the pandemic.
The London Community Response Fund is administered by City Bridge Trust, the funding arm of Bridge House Estates. The City of London Corporation is the sole trustee of Bridge House Estates and Members of its Court of Common Council form the City Bridge Trust Committee, responsible for taking grant and funding decisions for the charity.
ARTification: Celebrating Art, Culture & Community
ARTification is a community rooted organisation, our vision is to create opportunities and connect people and places. Developing our arts and cultural venues and experiences to bring communities together, innovate, empower and catalyse change.
ARTification is all about connection and working in partnership. We are grateful to the input and expertise brought by the Ealing Park Rangers and Cultivate London. Thanks also to West Acton Primary and Berrymede Junior School who have embraced Urban Oasis with such enthusiasm.
Tim Fletcher | Media officer – public services
City of London Corporation
07738 862229 | firstname.lastname@example.org