Witnessing the heart behind the Street Connections Project

Seyi writes….

 

ST C PIX 1

 

Just before the summer break the Forest Gate Community Neighbourhood Team ran the Street Connections Project on Tower Hamlets Road.  This pilot project is being trialled across Newham, with two areas having already been successfully completed in Hartsworth Road (Plaistow) and Browning Road (Manor Park). The purpose of the project is to improve the look and feel of a chosen street and make this sustainable by encouraging residents to interact and join together to take care of their environment. There were three key stages to the project

  • Information
    • Informing residents of the project
    • Connecting residents with their neighbours, Councillors and the Forest Gate Community Neighbourhood team
  • Cleaning and cleaning and working together
    • Coming together to decide common challenges on Tower Hamlets Road and how we can move forward as a team.
  • Adding value to front gardens

As part of the programme residents received:

  • free bulky waste collection dedicated to Tower Hamlets Road;
  • free assistance in helping clear front gardens or yard from any unwanted items, overgrowing vegetation etc;
  • free assistance in landscaping frontage and help to repave and fix walkways and driveways;
  • free assistance in helping residents fix and re-point front fencing and front walls;
  • free hanging baskets, containers and plants;
  • Groundworks provided residents with free advice, guidance and training on basic front garden maintenance;
  • removal of any graffiti.

All resident received an information letter through their letter boxes but to make sure we engaged with all residents on Tower Hamlets Road we decided to knock on the doors of residents we had not yet heard from. There was a particular front garden that was so run down we assumed the house was abandoned but we still knocked. Eventually a frail old man answered the door and was really keen to get involved with the project as best as he and his wife could. To see their neighbours the following week helping to improve his front garden; Groundworks trimming his hedges  and restoring his front wall was really lovely to see.  Those small changes as well as putting up a beautiful hanging basket made such a positive difference to that couple’s life. Another memorable moment the great and productive discussion among residents about their ideas for their street. A funny point that illustrates the heart of Street Connections Project was during the mind mapping discussion residents couldn’t believe they had lived on the same side of the road for 5+ years and have never met each other. The Street Connections Project successfully ended a few weeks ago with a painting afternoon of St James’ Primary School’s railing.

I hope to hear about flourishing relationships on Tower Hamlet Road and the work they have started.

 

 

ST C PIX 2 ST C PIX 3 ST C PIX 4

 

About Seyi Akiwowo

Elected London Councillor & International Facilitator on active citizens, soft skills, social integration and sustainable development.
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