It is a well-known fact that some people don’t like change. So why should we strive to alter the familiar surroundings of communities and transform the day-to-day life of locals with projects that require time, money, and most of all, hard work? The answer is, because such projects provide countless valuable contributions to society, whether in terms of creating vital opportunities and engagement, regenerating a space which is otherwise neglected, or encouraging the celebration of cultural diversity.

 

It is inspiring for people to work together and take hold of the influence they have to reinvigorate their area. As a result, they can take pride in the fruits of their labour and the positivity which stems from their actions, whilst learning to treat their environment with the respect that it deserves. For these reasons and many more, it is essential that community projects get the support that they need, so they can help the local environment prosper and flourish, and keep its spirit alive.

The Mayor of London recently launched the campaign ‘Crowdfund London’, that grants up to £50,000 to projects with strong community ties that aim to regenerate forgotten parts of the capital. One of the participating projects that recently caught my eye is the colourful and creative proposed transformation of the Globe Town Market Square in Tower Hamlets.

This key central hub went from once being a thriving marketplace buzzing with traders to a sparse, somewhat neglected concrete square where only two original traders remain, and is now predominantly used as littering ground for the hundreds of school kids that pass by each day. The absence of plant life, trees, benches and colour hinders its true potential to bring people and families together, and to celebrate the wealth of cultures and history in this unique place. The square is connected to Morpeth Street, featured in ITV documentary ‘Britain Then and Now’ (2012) as an example of a strong community bond.

Kerry Mounsey, owner of ethical clothing label VerryKerry.com and local resident, as well as the founder of this project, says:

‘This project is about engaging the local kids and community to make a difference in their own area; feel a sense of ownership and pride; improve littering and behaviour; break down barriers between people; and in the process, create an urban garden that improves air quality; learn about upcycling and the environment; build things for everyone to enjoy; and brighten people’s outlook.

Together we can make this area an inspiring, exciting and happy one, that we can all benefit from. An innovative platform for creative, environmental, cultural and social celebration and engagement’. 

The idea is, with the participation and voice of the community, to turn the space into a vibrant and colourful hub of activity that boosts our local economy and social interaction, whilst also creating a more desirable environment for traders and their customers. The proposal aims to inject colour with a canopy of umbrellas, trees, plants and most importantly promote a strong feeling of togetherness. Once the project is completed , it will host many exciting events and workshops to engage everyone; art exhibitions, dance classes and competitions, music and talent shows, mini theatre productions, yoga, support networks and many more.

The organisers believe this rejuvenation will give the community the opportunity to reclaim their public spaces and counteract gentrification, whilst maintaining the heritage that characterised the area for so long. To make it happen, they need to raise £49,800 via their crowdfund on Spacehive and are looking to gain the support of the Mayor and other investors.

It is campaigns such as these that build relationships in communities, improve environmental sustainability, unite people of different cultures and backgrounds, and give the youths the opportunity to be part of something bigger which affects those in the wider community, not just themselves.  It is a chance for people’s voices to be heard and different perspectives to be taken note of and combined. A chance to create an outcome that works for everyone and improves the lives of each and every person involved.

By Claudia Cox

 

About me

Hi, my name is Claudia! I am a Classics student at Edinburgh University, and am about to go into my final year of study. I am passionate about sustainability and protecting the environment, and I also love getting involved in social and environmental projects to encourage positive change where possible.