In 2013, we celebrated Walworth and all that makes it special.
Using the letters of the alphabet, we asked community members to think of something about Walworth that begins with that letter. It could have been a person (living or dead); a local landmark, building or business; a natural or wildlife subject; a local name, custom or festival; or something just plain quirky.
This is what Walworth created!
Eleanor Shipman’s Play Swap
With a £5,000 grant from Near Neighbours to bring together people of different faiths and ethnicities, and with free accommodation provided by Pembroke House, we commissioned socially-engaged artist Ellie Shipman to work wonders – and she did.
Ellie ran art and gardening workshops and activities, and asked people to record the street games they remembered from their childhood. She tied all this together in a short film made in collaboration with local people on the themes of games and Southwark’s local history.
The project ran from April to September 2012, and its informal sessions brought together local families and helped them to talk openly about their backgrounds, differences, similarities and history. One older English lady from the local community said the local children were ‘not so bad’ after building a tyre swing together.
An older participant of West Indian heritage said: ‘Underneath it all we’re all the same.’ Seeing a local English boy invent games with a Spanish girl who didn’t speak English, one may be inclined to agree.
Jubilee Street Party – 3rd June 2012
Our Jubilee Street Party was one of the highlights of 2012. Bolstered by a £1,000 grant, we approached the local Tenants and Residents’ Association to ask if they would like to work with us on this, and they did. The result was a great coming-together of 200 to 250 locals. We had all the trimmings: bouncy castle, face-painting, potting seedlings, DJs, pinata, and a tug of war. Food varied from pork pies and quarters of white bread with processed ham to fiery rice and fried plantain.
Youth Club Summer Programme – 2012
The five-week summer programme funded by Charterhouse-in-Southwark was designed to be fun and to show local young people something of the world beyond Walworth, and in doing so broaden their horizons, enable them to grow in self confidence, and to make them more comfortable in the way they relate to the world.
Six girls and eleven boys registered for the programme. The young people developed a greater tolerance of other people, became better able to respect boundaries, and appreciated what it means to be part of a team.
For those who did, it was a very significant summer. It’s difficult to put a price on the importance of a fourteen-year-old boy born and brought up in London taking the Underground for the first time, or on seeing the speed with which the assembled company whipped out their mobile phones to photograph that most exotic of creatures, a seagull, or on the newly-acquired knowledge that train carriages have tables. Or indeed the use to which those tables were put: banned from using computer games, the young people grudgingly learnt how to play cards – and developed such a taste for card games that they came to insist on playing! When you’ve walked the hills of Hastings and St Leonard’s, run along the beaches of Brighton and Eastbourne, and kayaked to your heart’s content, it’s hard to see how life will ever be the same again.