This summer young people told us they need an on-site space to hang out, relax and socialise, listen to music and play games with one another.
The APG is a wonderful, challenging and playful outdoor environment for children aged 5 to 15, but it isn’t comfy or warm: it’s muddy, cold and artsy; it's about jumping around, scary slides and unleashing children's creativity. Its spirit is beautifully captured by Mark Neville in his London/Pittsburgh photographic exhibition, being held at the Alan Cristea Gallery this winter.
However, having a space to relax and rest makes perfect sense. There is a building on-site but it doesn't belong to us and is often unavailable.
This is where the Living Ark comes in: originally a green classroom, it's made from sustainable wood, sheep’s wool, mud and grass. Salvaged by Adventure Playground Engineers and Haringey Council, we now need the funds to install it in our playground, with the help of staff and users, in February 2015.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
Our young peer mentors, supported by the CAMHS & Wellbeing Services to provide guidance and signposting to at-risk children, feel they need a space to chat to the kids in private.
Teenage users of the APG particularly want to share their music with each other. This goes beyond taste: there are constant issues regarding territorialism and cultural differences for local teenagers. Sharing music and chilling out together helps to break down intercultural boundaries.
A number of our teenagers have stated over the years that they are happiest when listening to music. This isn’t currently possible at the APG – but the Living Ark's advent would make it a reality. For those young people at risk who feel "too old" for the site, the Ark will become a new focal point, a cultural space and an alternative to the mean streets.
Steps to get it done:
We've secured match-funding of £15,000 towards the project from Haringey Council: we need to raise another £16,870 to make the Ark a part of Somerford Grove.
We serve a diverse part of Tottenham marked by pockets of poverty and limited safe outdoor space. We offer a safe place for local young people to come together and play, thus promoting greater social cohesion and community spirit. The Living Ark will help us play this vital social role even more effectively.
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