Green scheme bridges divide and brings west London community together

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Youngsters will join 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 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.”

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 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.”

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