Acton Art and Regreening Project Launched

Local youngsters help plant 800 new trees

Tree planting at Berrymede Junior School

Acton schoollchildren are taking the lead in a major ''regreening'' and public art project aimed at helping connect the community.

The Urban Oasis scheme will feature environmental projects, food growing, harvesting and cooking, arts and craft activities and the development of two new murals and is being delivered by W3 based ARTification, with funding from the City of London Corporation’s charity - City Bridge Trust.

Saafi Ismail, Shahd Alkarjieh and Zuzia Melka-Pancewicz

It kicked off with a major tree planting exercise in which children from West Acton Primary School and Berrymede Junior School bedded in 800 saplings during National Tree Week to connect them with the natural environment.

Berrymede pupils Cordell Amponsah and Julia Kanaan,with Rachel Pepper, ARTification Director

Berrymede Junior School pupils Julia Kanaan and Cordell Amponsah, both 10, took part, the third year that both have helped with ARTification community growing projects.

Julia said: “We’ve done a lot of digging with shovels and we got to plant trees and some vegetables. It was really fun and it helped me a lot because I’ve always wanted to plant. My mum asked me what types of seeds I want and now we’ve got our own little garden at home.

“I even got my sister involved – she wasn’t that involved before but tried it and fell in love with it. She doesn’t really like wiggly worms and slugs but planting has made her more confident with animals and insects.”

Cordell said: “I’m not really a fan of trees and plants but we actually do need them.  They give us oxygen for our lungs.  Some plants or trees, some animals live in them, so if we keep cutting those trees down then that means animals won’t be able to have their homes and will keep on dying. So the population of trees is very important.

Rachel Pepper, ARTification director, said: “We are working with people who are feeling isolated and disconnected as they face socio-economic and health challenges, exacerbated by the pandemic and we feel it’s really important to help people connect and find a sense of community.

“There’s something primeval about getting your hands in the soil and something like planting trees or growing your own food helps you to understand the importance of having a relationship with nature and to feel a sense of control over your life and environment.

“This is a project which is open to the whole community but which will put young people in the lead, helping them to develop new skills and build their confidence, to learn from older people and each them something in return.”

The three-year scheme will see the creation of new raised beds and planters for growing food at North Acton Pavilion, with young people learning from their older peers to sow, harvest, grow, cook and share their own food.

Alessio Perkola and Beatriz Gonzalez

Meanwhile, young people will work with professional artists to design and deliver two new murals at the pavilion and at Bollo Brook Park, in South Acton.

Dhruv Patel, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee, said: “This is a project which will play a really important role in bridging the generational divide, bringing the community together and enabling young people in particular to experience the benefits of getting in touch with nature and being creative.”


18th December 2020