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

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 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 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.