Today (and yesterday) is the Open Garden Square Weekend in London.
The Guardian has a set of photographs of some of London’s secret gardens. I was surprised, yet pleased, to see this picture of Charlton Manor Primary School.
I only have grey memories of a tarmac expanse when I was a pupil there.
From 1979 to 1985, I was the first full-time co-ordinator of Oasis Children’s Venture, my last job ‘back home’. The local voluntary management committee had raised £5,000 for my initial salary and the running costs. I left when I felt that the organisation was sufficiently viable financially to survive, so I’m extremely pleased to note that the organisation is thriving.
This is a picture of the formerly council run adventure playground, now under Oasis management.
Oasis Adventure Playground, one of the nation’s top ten.
What gives me the greatest delight, however, is the Oasis Nature Garden. Adjacent to a primary school, this was formerly the site of post-war prefabricated houses but had become very overgrown. I had arranged with the Department of Employment’s Manpower Services Commission to recruit a development worker under their Job Creation Programme, by which they paid a year’s salary.
I took interviewees on a tour of the Oasis catchment area, suggested a few projects I had in mind and asked them to return with a ‘plan’. Stan Langley decided that developing the empty site, in partnership with the school, was something he’d be keen on so, given that the local council had no immediate plans for the land, work went ahead rapidly developing ‘allotments’ and a ‘nature reserve’. We also managed to get one of the former ‘prefabs’ placed back on the in situ foundations.
Now look at it …
Jokowi and Prabowo take note: this is how character building is achieved!