Village in the City
Back in the days, we are told, people on a street spoke to each other, helped each other and felt far safer than they seem to do now.
Hallywell Crescent in Beckton E6 used to be such a street so said residents who had lived here for some time but no more. UNTIL…
loveLife descended upon the neighbourhood to create our very own village in the city, by involving residents across age groups in activities of interest and fun to get to become a closer community.
Funded by the Youth in Action Programme of the British Council, we worked on Hallywell Crescent from August to November 2011 to help develop Hallywell into a friendlier, brighter and safer street.
We spent two weeks of door knocking with our young volunteers, finding out how residents felt about living on the crescent and explaining what we hoped to through the Hallywell Experience.
Sundays, during September and October, saw Hallywellians enjoy the spectacle of some very dull wheelie bins transformed into works of urban art; street theatre on the green patch; the ‘thud thud’ of teenagers getting into shape with fitness work outs and ‘piggy in the middle’ bringing out the street vibe (no matter what age). The buzz from the street filtered across to the local community centre where children and young people enjoyed arts & crafts, fun and games, dance and drama. The herbal workshops initially designed for adults proved a massive hit with the young as well creating a shared activity across generations.
When summer decided to visit London in October, Hallywell truly came alive with a community picnic – sunshine, munch, music and laughter. New friends were made and old ones reconnected.
Our final Sunday ended with a celebration. Dance and drama performances, herbal give-aways, arts and crafts presentations and the very first ever catwalk of wheelie bins were showcased. Bin number 28 stole the show and was awarded the coveted red ribbon.
The smiles felt throughout the Halllywell Experience are still with us and we hope that the spirit of our small village in the city will continue to warm us heading into the depths of winter.
Young person’s persepctive :
These last few weeks we have been gathering every Sunday with residents of Hallywell Crescent to help bring back the street vibe to the street.
After receiving the Youth In Action fund we embarked on this mission which we started off by knocking on residents doors and asking them questions about the kind of activities they would like to participate in; how safe they felt on their street and how much they trust their neighbours amongst others. Their answers sure did SURPRISE us! Seemed like TRUST leaves as one steps out of the house!
So with the young people we took to the streets again. This time to invite the residents to special Sunday sessions with different activities. This is the fourth week and this is what we have achieved:
Bins are not just for rubbish – Young people have been spray painting their dustbins on the street and creating pieces of art. They first learnt how to spray and with the help of tutors they have transformed smelly bins into smelly ‘attractive’ bins
Herbal Medicine – young people and parents alike have been taking part in these workshops leaning how to create things from cough medicine to moisturising cream – All from natural ingredients that you can find in your garden!! This has sparked a great enterprising idea Watch out for Winter Warmers
Fitness – and a 1 and a 2 – yep Hallywell have been getting sweaty with PT and have boxed; kicked (football) and shot (basketball) into a huff and a puff
Drama: At the end of every session we have been entertained by some spectacular acting. Not only increasing their acting skills it really has been wonderful seeing people shine and really come out of their shells
Dance: breaking, popping and locking all the way…and finally lots of fun games to keep the little ones happy.
All of this every Sunday with loveLife values and activities underlying everything we do!
Sundays will never be the same again!