Making Change in How We Live, Where We Live, in Light of Climate Change (FOR TEN YEARS!)

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Carbon Conversations Week 3

'Travel and Transport' was the theme of the evening's discussion this third week of Carbon Conversations.  Stories of favourite and nightmare journeys were shared - from wonderful night time cycling through Hyde Park to the extreme frustration of delays, queues and missed connections while under pressure to meet a deadline elsewhere.  We talked about what travel represents to each of us , especially within a culture where it has become so accessible and so enjoyed.  Aspirations to travel the world are encouraged almost as a rite of passage and, subsequently, many thousands of conversations coalesce around those experiences.  We looked at our reasons for making journeys and there was a recognition of the challenge that would be felt were the visiting of family and friends abroad to be restricted.

We talked about the advantages and deficiencies of cycling and the current public transport system - who it works for, or not, - and some of the steps that could be taken to make it more accessible for all and why the obstacles to this happening are so significant.  There was a recognition that solutions in potentially wonderful technologies may be still in their infancy! This theme of taking difficult carbon-reducing decisions was continued in the group game we played: we experienced how lifestyle changing decisions could be made at the individual family level (good, though sometimes not to our liking, inconvenient and expensive) alongside having the opportunity to make strategic policy decisions at a government level (also good, potentially having a great impact but likely to incur huge resistance from many quarters).


We spent some time reflecting on the dilemma of what feels acceptable behaviour and how we can take responsibility for our carbon footprint .  Our final activity was deciding on a manageable action that we want to take and then looking at the driving and restraining forces that we could see coming into play, and then focusing on reducing the effect of the restraining forces.  Plenty to think about during the week!

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Carbon Conversations Blog May 3rd

In the second session of Carbon conversations, we predominantly discussed domestic energy and how we could reduce our carbon footprint from energy usage.

The discussion started with how much temperature rise could happen in the future and within what time and would we able to cope with it? People had thoughts from 2° C rise to 10 °C and some of them felt we are doomed, while a few who are still aware would not want to think of it negatively and see what action they could do.

We did an exercise of what a comfortable home looks like. While most of us did prefer fresh light and air some preferred a garden. We touched upon minimalism, as to how it could contribute to a comfortable home. We discussed energy, EPCs and how we could reduce our carbon footprint as owners or tenants.

The group was divided into two (role as owners and tenants) and played a game of reducing 6 tonnes of carbon footprint through energy savings. It included a combination of changes to the house along with behavioral changes.

We spoke about challenges that we could face in reducing our carbon footprint through energy. The changes being expensive was a dominant factor, while for some being in a position of the tenant could hinder progress. Understanding of the technical aspects could be a challenge, while the efforts and time for research and taking informed decisions could prove to be a big task.

At the end we all spoke about specific actions that we could take to reduce carbon footprint and any challenges that we could face. All in all, it was a fantastic session with a lot of learning on different aspects of energy as a facet of reducing our carbon footprint and how we could start off with even the simplest and free measures to reduce our carbon.




Monday, 30 April 2018

Carbon Conversations - First Session April 26

In our first session we discussed some general issues around climate change such as responsibility for the problem and what a low-carbon future would look like.

On the issue of responsibility we thought about individual vs structural change. We agreed that individuals do hold significant power through their consumer choices. However we also recognised that people can only take actions within certain frameworks of possibility (eg they can only use public transport if these services are provided; they can only use community-generated energy if the political system supports and encourages such endeavours). So of course there are limits to individual action.

We also brainstormed what a low-carbon future might look like. We wondered what legal frameworks might be developed to ensure that our carbon footprints were lowered. In the absence of such frameworks, would people's individual morals be enough to keep all of our footprints down? This is a thorny issue which governments are reluctant to touch, because it would involve imposing carbon quotas upon people, which could be unpopular.

We also thought about whether we would have such a strong sense of seasonal change in the future, given our changing weather and how the availability of produce all-year round makes us more immune to the seasons. We also wondered whether, if people have smaller families, this would lead to more people living communally, in order to find a sense of community which they wouldn't get from having a big family. Finally, we had a mind-bending discussion about self-drive vehicles, which felt like science fiction, but apparently is a fast-creeping reality!

Friday, 27 April 2018

Restart-Sewstart Party Returns on May 13th

Join our fixing and mending workshop with May's Restart and Sewstart! Whether it’s electrical or electronic items that you don’t want to throw away or a sewing machine that is broken or you’re not sure how to use, we can help!

Have a favourite piece of clothing that needs mending or altering and you’d like to learn how? Or simply good at fixing and mending stuff?

Or maybe you fancy a cup of tea, a piece of cake and a chance to find out more about Transition Tooting and what we get up to?

Come along on Sun 13th May - 2.00 - 5.00pm Mushkil Aasaan, 220 - 222 Upper Tooting Road, SW17 7EW (next to Nando’s)

(Restart Parties are a community self-repair space where you take responsibility for your own gadgets and data, so please don’t forget to take any back-ups beforehand, if relevant – and if possible arrive during the first two hours to allow time for fixing!

More info about Restart          More about Transition Town Tooting,
email TTT here     TTT on twitter

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Is Capitalism the best system for a sustainable future? Tooting speaks!

On Wednesday 18th April, Tooting Green Drinks played host to our first debate! Why run a debate? This was an experiment to engage more people and look beyond our (albeit wonderful!) usual hard working suspects. And it was to explore some of the more divisive areas of sustainability.

It worked! 40 people (ish) came along to join in our first debate on...

"Capitalism is the best system for a truly social, economic and environmentally sustainable future"

Standing Room only! 
The evening showed there is huge energy for ideas exchange in Tooting. We'll definitely be planning more debates in the future, hoping to engage head, heart and hands by way of an invitation for us all to become active in Tooting.

What would you like debated? Answers in the comments below please!

Did we assemble a room full of raging anarchists, ready to march on Westminster? Or were the challenges of sustainability just another problem to solve by Capitalist innovation, motivated by profit? Read on for the lowdown on how the evening unfolded...


Monday, 23 April 2018

The simple invitations of our 'Signs of Welcome' workshops have brought vivid, compelling and complex results. More to come, please join in!

We're facilitating ten free 'Signs of Welcome' workshops locally, along with our partner CARAS, in diverse local venues that are themselves welcoming and interesting spaces to visit: cafes, shops, local enterprises.

We're half way there - 5 workshops completed since March and 5 more in the first half of June.  
All welcome! See the TTT events calendar for the dates and details. 


We have lots of 'Signs' in many languages - all responding to this open question: "What would you like to say to welcome people who are new to the community?"

They've been fascinating sessions which everyone seems to appreciate. Expressing ourselves, meeting others, making it visual and being creative by 'thinking with our hands' is a very powerful mix.

A brilliant and valuable extra is that young people from the CARAS youth club have been joining in to gain volunteering experience co-facilitating a creative community session. 

There's been inspiring communication across the cakes and mint tea on the cafe tables. Young people who are refugees and asylum-seekers have enjoyed friendly venues they may not have considered visiting, and met many local people they would not otherwise have encountered.  

Throughout there's been interwoven threads of self-expression plus a two-way invitation to ask questions and share experiences.

We have a vivid record of the sessions in the shape of the Signs themselves. They'll be included in a local exhibition during Refugee Week, June 18th-24th: details to come. The materials for the Signs are re-purposed from publicity boards from the wonderful Work and Play Scrapstore. We had one of our workshops there, and met this Japanese architect who joined in (with a translation on the back):


These workshops are part of our partnership with CARAS throughout 2018 - the partnership purpose throughout the year will be to facilitate events which draw refugees and asylum-seekers and the local community closer together. For more about the year's projects, please click here, and there are lots of pictures on our TTT Facebook pages. 

Many thanks to the partnership funder ThriveLDN, an initiative by the Mayor Of London .


Monday, 16 April 2018

Can Capitalism be Sustainable?

On Wednesday evening this week at the Selkirk, Tooting Green Drinks presents a thought-provoking debate on whether:
“Capitalism is the best way to achieve a truly social, environmental and economically sustainable future”

In the UK we all live in a capitalist system,
"An economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state". Source OED

This system may currently provide us with all sorts of lifestyle advantages, but does it do so at the expense of the environment, democracy and human rights?
Dave Darby
Oli Grffiths











Dave Darby founder of of lowimpact.org, will seek to persuade you that there are alternatives to an economy driven by profit. Chartered engineer Oli Griffiths will seek to support capitalism's sustainable credentials.  More on our speakers here.

Please come along!  Weigh up the arguments, ask a question, meet others who are interested in discussing what a sustainable solution for humankind might look like. We look forward to debating with you!

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Future Tooting! Local Air Quality and Energy Efficiency event, Saturday 21st April

Have your say on local air quality and energy efficiency at Future Tooting!

All welcome on Saturday 21st April 2:00 - 5:00 pm
At the United Reformed Church, Rookstone Road, Tooting SW17 9NQ


We have teamed up with local campaign groups to host an event on air quality and energy efficiency in Tooting, with speeches from local politicians and a chance to put your questions to the local representatives. 
Tooting MP Rosena Allin-Khan will speak on the day, and representatives from the major political parties will join a discussion chaired by London Assembly Member Leonie Cooper.

We are creating a space where:
  • local people of all ages can come and have their say
  • you can find out more about how air pollution and dirty energy production are affecting all our lives
  • you can explore what we can do about it
Drop in to find out more about local and city-wide initiatives to measure and limit air pollution, the use of electric buses and local renewable energy.

There will be stalls and activities for all ages from 2:00 pm, speeches start at 3:00 followed by live music from local singer songwriter Sherika Sherard.

For enquiries, please email furzedownlowcarbonzone@gmail.com

Future Tooting is organised by:
  • Furzedown Low Carbon Zone
  • Transition Town Tooting
  • Wandsworth Environment Forum
  • Community Renewable Energy Wandsworth
  • South Thames Colleges Group

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Capitalism Debate April 18th

TTT & Tooting Green Drinks proudly present:
“Capitalism is the best way to achieve a truly social, environmental and economically sustainable future”


Find yourself in an echo chamber tailored specifically for you? Does your Facebook feed reinforce your opinions, back you up every step of the way and leave you dumbfounded when life doesn’t play out the same?

Capitalism is the underpinning formula for much of what we enjoy today, particularly in the so-called “developed” world. Our basic human needs of shelter, food and water are met with a competitive market giving us the best service at the best price, driving industrial creativity to come up with solutions to all our problems at a scale that can soak up all the pressures of population increase, freak weather events and a changing political landscape. Even the challenge of climate change is met square on by industrial innovation in the shape of giant wind turbines, sucking carbon emissions out of the air and non-fossil fuel cars that fire you down the High Street in style. Meanwhile saving for the future in a global capitalist market structure maximises your investments whilst the cost of stuff just keeps on coming down ...

But … hold on ... a truly sustainable future is about more than just economics isn't it?  Who gets left behind in capitalism's raging wake? Top-down hierarchies mean we need “a nation of doers, not thinkers”. Leave it all to the market and will you actually get cheaper and better? Zero-hours contracts and the threat of a privatised health service indicate life could be much worse for many. And what about the environment? Global resources are there to serve the markets, surely? And if economics is the prime driver, does anyone care about the waste that a linear system produces?

On Wednesday 18th April, Transition Town Tooting will be holding a debate on Capitalism. Is it really the best way for us to reduce our impact on the environment and adapt to an already changed global climate? We have 2 wonderful debate Captains in Dave Darby (lowimpact.org) and Oli Griffiths and will be running it like a proper debate with opening statements, rebuttals, an opportunity for you to make your points and challenge Dave and Oli before closing statements., all in the wonderful confines of the upstairs room at The Selkirk in Tooting.

We challenge you to be challenged! Encourage you to speak with opposing points of view! Reinforce your standpoints or have the courage and humility to change!

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Awe and Wonder: TTT after 10 years

Earthrise - and planting a flag on the Moon
50 years ago, Apollo 8 launched out of Earth’s orbit to circle the moon.
Perhaps unexpectedly for us all, the ramifications of this adventure emerged from the moment astronaut William Anders announced ‘now we are going to turn the camera around and show you the Earth’. The historic image Earthrise was the first picture taken of Earth from space, showing our blue planet alive, dynamic and more beautiful than anyone could have imagined.

The awe and wonder of being able to see the Earth from space has inspired generations of humans ever since: we went to the moon but discovered the Earth. Not the intention anyone flying 250,000 miles to the stars had started out with but possibly the most important reason we did. (Its impact on astronauts is captured in this astonishing film - The Overview Effect)


The two events together triggered a new enlightened self awareness for humans: the chance to look back at ourselves and reflect on our relationship with our home planet.

A new movement of environmental global actions followed: Friends of the Earth in 1969, Earth Day in 1970; the Clean Water Act in 1971; the Environment Protection Agency; the banning of leaded petrol in 1973 and every environmental action, campaign and initiative that has followed - leading to the UN COP24 Climate Summit in Poland this December.

Planting a flag in Tooting
During the last 10 of these 50 busy, self aware years, initiators of Transition Town Tooting have been planting their own flag in terra firma here in Tooting - land of Tota the Saxon King. Their 'TTT flag’ proposed a call out to anyone interested in learning how a community can make change in how they live, where they live, to create a more sustainable, just and liveable world. Along with the rapidly growing Transition Network worldwide, they invited others to join in the ongoing experiment to see if communities could find themselves creative and capable beyond their wildest imaginings.

Here in Tooting it seemed to work 
It's been a roller coaster decade doing, making and learning together.  We look back in awe and wonder to marvel at how far we have come.  We have scrolls - soon to be unfurled once more - adding year on year not just the events and initiatives that have happened but the points at which we all joined in. We showed what marked our highs (and sometimes lows) and how these have influenced our own lives and learning.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

'Signs of Welcome' free, creative, hands-on & local workshops from March to June 2018

In March we started our run of 'Signs of Welcome' creative workshops, and between now and June we're offering more public hands-on events with local project partners. 

In the workshops you'll explore your responses 
to this open question: 
“What would you like to say to welcome people who are new to the community?”
You'll imagine what message you would like to say to refugees, asylum-seekers or others new to the community.
You'll design and create signs to express your message.
You can take them home or loan them to us for exhibition during Refugee Week in June.


The next two events are in the Easter holidays:
Date:  Wednesday 11th April  
Venue: Tartine Artinasal
9 Upper Tooting Road, Tooting Bec, SW17 7TS 
Timings: 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm


Date:  Friday 13th April 
Venue: Home Community Cafe
St Andrew's Earlsfield, Garratt Lane SW18 4SR
Timings: 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm
What to expect: 
  • All welcome to join us for a free, facilitated and fun crafts workshop using re-purposed materials – we’ll provide everything you need 
  • Design and create your own messages of welcome to people new to the community
  • Adults and children will all enjoy the workshop 
  • No need to book
  • We’ve included weekends and afternoons after school to allow children and families to take part together 
  • Take the signs home, or leave them with us for exhibition during Refugee Week in June 2018
  • Workshop run by Transition Town Tooting and CARAS (the Tooting charity serving refugees and asylum-seekers)

Thanks to our local partner the Work and Play Scrapstore in Tooting, the signs will always be made using materials saved from going to waste. 









Write your signs in any language!
Design a message using both sides of your sign!


Many thanks to all the local partners hosting free Signs of Welcome workshops, including:
  • Fridays March 10th & 23rd. The Sound Lounge, Wimbledon
  • Wednesday April 11th. Tartine Artinasal, Tooting Bec
  • Friday April 13th. Home Community Cafe, Earlsfield
  • Friday June 1st. Wandsworth Oasis shop, Amen Corner
  • Saturday June 9th. Paradise Co-operative, Earlsfield
  • Friday June 15th. Sprout Community Arts, Furzedown
We'll share the details of each workshop closer to the time. 


This project is a strand of the 2018 Welcoming Signs partnership between TTT and CARAS and local venues and other supporters. The purpose throughout the year will be to facilitate events which draw refugees & asylum-seekers closer together with the local community.

Monday, 12 March 2018

TTT's new series of practical & participative local 'Carbon Conversations' is running in April and May

Carbon Conversations is back! Our new series of six free meetings in April & May in SW16 - organised by TTT's Ben Cuddon. The six facilitated workshops enable individuals to explore how they can reduce their personal carbon footprints. The meetings bring together small groups of local people to discuss the areas of our lives where we can reduce our own carbon emissions: travel, food, domestic energy, consumption and waste.

A quote from a past participant: "The beauty of Carbon Conversations is the optimism, creativity and shared ideas"

During the six weekly sessions you'll discuss in a supportive atmosphere all the practicalities of making your own 'low-carbon lifestyle' changes. Making these changes is never one size fits all. 

Exploring your own situation, start point and preferences is so valuable and makes the series personal and practical. 
The meetings are well structured with a mix of games, activities and exercises.


Click here for the flyer and see below for summary details:
Venue: in SW16 near Streatham Common Station 
Timings: all meetings run from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm 
Dates: six Thursdays from April 19th to May 24th, one a week
Free: there is no fee to take part. The only cost is currently £14 for the workbook and learning materials, which TTT charges at cost. Sessions are led for free by TTT's trained Carbon Conversations facilitators. 

TTT has run over 10 series of Carbon Conversations since 2011. 
On average participants are able to identfy how to reduce their own carbon footprints by a third - by over 4 tonnes of carbon.
Wait a minute! 
What does 'four tonnes of carbon' mean? 
You may already be worried about shorthand & jargon. The way we facilitate the meetings means that you do not need to be an expert
Although it's a complex subject, we guarantee that by the end of the sessions you will learn useful new language and concepts and understand the practical elements of household carbon reduction.

This is a great place to start if you want to reduce your carbon footprint, meet some friendly and like-minded people and explore the topic as it affects you, rather than being lectured at!

As a participant said: 
"At the last session I don't think anybody wanted to leave!"

 Join us to find out how to reduce heat loss from your home! 

Friday, 9 March 2018

Visit to Ecobuild 2018

Ecobuild was on this week at London's ExCel and as usual showcased the latest developments in sustainable approaches to the built environment. As well as the stands for the latest in high performance building materials, renewable energy sources and innovative design, a few more specifically environmental issues were also represented from WWF and the Woodland Trust to Airlite pollution neutralising paint, UN Sustainable Develpoment goals & Population Matters.
Man's impact on the Planet (Population Matters)
Particularly enjoyed this graphic sculpture of human impact and a thought provoking seminar with architect Dr Walter Stahel (see http://www.product-life.org/en/node) on the Circular Economy. Stahel promotes a different way of thinking about resources that incorporates all the costs from cradle to cradle with re-use and recyclability embedded in building and product development from the start. He thinks of human labour as the "ultimate sustainable resource" which can replace mechanised energy consumption to reduce the human resource footprint. "We should design objects that don't end up as plastic waste on a beach in Hawaii". I think we could all agree with that. 
Meanwhile locally Adam David Ge-Saelis creates buildings, furniture, lighting and interiors using a minimum of 95% recycled waste. He helped create Ecobuild's Waste Zone this year and will be showcasing some of his work to the public in Brixton in April.  
Adam has a lot of great ideas and has made some impressive structures with re-used materials. See http://ongean.org/ for more details.

Monday, 5 March 2018

Funding awarded for 2018 'Welcoming Signs' partnership with CARAS. Plus: new creative community workshops running March-May.

We're planning the fourth year of TTT's partnership with CARAS the Tooting charity working with refugee and asylum-seekers. 
 
We're thrilled that the partnership has been awarded funding for 2018 from Team London and Thrive LDN's ‘Young London Inspired’ fund: "improving the lives and mental health of young Londoners by helping them to volunteer".

So, in 2018 one of our main focus areas will be enabling young people from CARAS to volunteer in the community. That means working with young people to imagine and design what they could contribute locally and what benefit that would have, as well as carrying out the voluntary time.

The whole 2018 young people's partnership is called 'Welcoming Signs'. Many elements of our CARAS project involved community benefit and relationships in the past: for example these pallet-benches made with the CARAS Youth Club with welcoming invitations written in many languages had starring roles at TTT's Tooting Twirl in July 2017:

 












We're fortunate and grateful that several local partner organisations in Tootings have been 'reaching in' to CARAS, seeking and offering voluntary projects. 
We'll share more very soon on the range of activities we're exploring. 

Plus we'll continue to work through 2018 with other age groups served by CARAS: families, the women's group, adults.

The first community events with young people from CARAS included as contributors are starting in the next few weeks: on March 16th and 23rd we're facilitating Signs of Welcome workshops across the border in Wimbledon, at The Sound Lounge pop-up venue. 
It's the same event run two times. 
Six other local venues have agreed to offer more Signs of Welcome sessions between March and May as project partners. 
The materials from the 'Signs' will always be re-purposed, saved from going to waste. Thanks to another partner, the Work and Play Scrapstore in Tooting for your support!

 
The details: Signs of Welcome creative workshops this March

“What would you like to say to welcome people who are new to the community?”

Dates: Friday 16th March & Friday 23rd March
Venue: The Sound Lounge, 8 The Broadway, Wimbledon SW19 1RE
Timings: 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm
What to expect: (download the flier here)

o   All welcome to join us for a free, facilitated and fun crafts workshop using re-purposed materials – we’ll provide everything you need

o   Create your own messages of welcome to people new to the community. You can write in any language!

o   Take the signs home, or leave them with us for exhibition during Refugee Week in June 2018

o   Adults and children will all enjoy the workshop

o   We’ve chosen afternoons after school to allow children and families to take part together

Tooting friends are welcome to come over to Wimbledon to enjoy the first workshops and the familiar faces at The Sound Lounge.








Please contact Charles by email here if you have any queries. Up-to-date news on the workshops will be on TTT's facebook page & shared by twitter.



Sunday, 17 December 2017

A party marking the end of our Gardens of Refuge project year with asylum-seekers and refugees. Plus 'Signs of Welcome': to be continued in 2018.

It's the end of the project year for our partnership with the CARAS team and the refugees and asylum-seekers they serve.

Of course we are going to do more all together in 2018, and we're planning that now.

Yesterday was the end-of-year CARAS Saturday Youth Club party, enjoyed by over 50 young people and volunteers. 

It was a high-energy afternoon with continuous home-made food to keep us going.

 Alongside the ping pong and games:
  • we did more carpentry on the big pallet-table we're making for the Tooting Community garden
  • we made lots of Christmas baubles as gifts
  • we made over 20 macramé knotted hanging planters, using offcuts of T shirts as the strings. We were thrilled to have Tooting spider plants and tradescantia from Share Community garden.
  • we finished the party with a gift game of choice and chance from the roll of the dice to select, give, and swap presents
The youth club is always a wonderful few hours when lots is offered and appreciated - all at the same time. 

So we're sharing photos mixed together, like the day itself. Its impact and welcome always feels much more than the sum of all the separate activities spread over 3 or 4 hours.



Signs of Welcome workshop
Late in November we had the opportunity to facilitate a workshop at the Museum Of London. CARAS is included in the fascinating exhibition called The City is Ours. It's on until 2nd January and all ages would enjoy the mix of imagination, facts and ideas about living in complex diverse city like London. It's well worth visiting!

Friday, 24 November 2017

Leo's Garden - a green gem in the heart of Tooting. Plus: valuing our local green spaces in London.

Leo's Garden, the highly-valued and hidden-away balcony garden at South Thames College in Tooting held a celebratory event this week. STC staff and friends marked two years on from its opening (see our 2015 blog report here) and did some autumn planting.

This kind of local oasis is so relevant to a new study published this week by the Mayor of London, the National Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund. It's called Natural capital accounts for public green space in London & is intended to help shape future policy and decision-making. All the info here. In turn the report is relevant to the Tooting Bec & Broadway Neighbourhood Forum's work on developing a local Neighbourhood Plan.  


Back to Leo's Garden:

A sunny November day...
The photo shows, from left to right: 
Peter Mayhew-Smith, Principal of South Thames Colleges (STC) Group,  
Rosemary Scott, (STC Branch UCU member),  
Angie Birtill (STC UCU H&S Convenor),  
Kate Turney (STC UCU Environment Convenor),  
Jamie Stevenson Director of Business Centre STC.

Named in memory of STC Facilities Officer 'Leo' Mumuney Olusanya, the garden is a great example of a green space that's developed because people in the team had the vision and perseverance to create it. 

Angie Birtill said at the opening: 
> "We wanted a place where workers could rest and enjoy our own garden right above Tooting Broadway: an area badly lacking in green spaces.

> We know this garden isn’t going to get rid of our stress all by itself, but it will always be a lovely place for people to recuperate when they can find time to do so.

> We know that Leo’s Garden won’t do away with the toxic air we breathe daily in London. However plants in Leo’s garden help restore clean air while offering us a place to rest. The tests that the University and College Union, Greener Jobs Alliance and Furzedown Low Carbon Zone have carried out directly outside this Tooting site show that the levels of Nitrogen Dioxide are over twice the legal limit. We need to continue campaigning on this."

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

November update on our 'Gardens of Refuge' refugee & asylum project partnership with CARAS

This time last year we were in the middle of the voting period for the Aviva Community Fund, where the Gardens of Refuge joint project with the Tooting charity CARAS won £10,000 - thanks to the votes of many friends near and far. 
This time last year...the voting was hot!
We're nearing the end of 2017's diverse activities with refugee and asylum-seeker beneficiaries. TTT has co-facilitated over 20 workshops in 2017 with the project...there's two more to go before Xmas.

Here's an update of activities since the summer - and a view forwards as we plan for 2018. We've included notes about each of these: 
  1. Family Group
  2. Youth Club for unaccompanied young people
  3. Adults Group
  4. Stay With Love exhibition
  5. 2018 plans
  6. Would you like to contribute?
1 Family Group
With the CARAS team we co-facilitated a Family Activity Day over October half term in the Hall at All Saints, Tooting. 50 people joined in to meet and reconnect, do some fun creative activities for all ages and enjoy lunch cooked by members of the group.

 











The big activity was carving pumpkins - and before that of course you have to get hands-on to scoop out the seeds. Any reluctance to get sticky hands was very quickly lost...in fact this stage became an activity of its own as hollowing-out took over and the children shared their new skills (none had ever done this before). Then: sketching and designing, cutting and admiring, collecting candles to take home: adults and children made short work of 20 pumpkins.

We created more Signs of Welcome:
 
These narrow strips of timber - some of them are the slats from discarded bed frames - are a design challenge where the artist develops what they want to say as a message, works out the fit, and paints directly or uses stencils. 


The arttist can also tidy up an earlier sign...so it's a collective project too.
Thanks Jeni, Nikki, Chuck, Hannah, Isabel and more.
We're going to continue creating 'Signs' in other workshops with adults and children. The Signs evolved as a combination of our Community Garden crop markers and the welcoming words in many languages that decorate the four pallet-benches made by the Youth Club in July.