Charities help youngsters construct community space in Homerton
PUBLISHED: 11:11 14 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:43 14 November 2019
Young people have designed and built a new community space at Flanders Way in Homerton.
Youth charities Build Up and Hackney Quest spent six months helping 20 young people learn to use power tools, lift heavy beams to make swings, paint, measure and construct benches. They transformed a bit of neglected, rubbish filled land in Flanders Way into a space for the whole community.
"I enjoyed all of it - it was very fun to experience something new and to work as a team to make the site look very nice," said Serena, 12.
Shenique Bass was one of two local, young people employed to help build the site along with kids from Berger Primary School and Cardinal Pole Secondary School.
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She said: "I have grown up in Hackney all my life and seen all of the changes it's gone through - for the first time I was able to actively take part in it."
The project was set up in response to the Hackney Wick Through Young Eyes report which found local young people did not feel they benefitted from or were involved in changes to the area. 300 local people then backed a crowd funding campaign to transform the site.
"This project was set up to help challenge negative stereotypes about young people. Some were given electric saws and drills. Who would give a child an electric drill? Well Build Up did! We're thankful to them for [helping to] build this amazing community space," said Dr Ronx, presenter of the CBBC show Operation Ouch and a Homerton hospital doctor who helped lay soil for the project.
Everyone who worked on the site got a chance to show it off at the opening ceremony on October 30. Hackney mayor Phil Glanville cut a ribbon to officially open the space to the public.
Proud parent Karen said her daughter Emily worked on the project whenever she could even when it was raining. She told the Gazette: "The kids have done some really hard work. [Emily] loved it every step of the way - from designing it to getting her hands dirty."
Build up runs free construction projects across London for young people.