Published on: September 28, 2023
Chiquitta Bruce, Milton – Sponsored by Milton Community Partnership
Grassroots Westcliff: Highlighting their love for their locality and the environment, Grassroots Westcliff, a newly established community group founded by local resident Alan Hardiman, has successfully completed its first pocket park project near Westcliff train station. This location, witnessing a substantial footfall of approximately 600 individuals, was in dire need of this revitalisation.
The group’s growth has been nothing short of remarkable, currently boasting an active membership of 140 individuals, with expansion continuing at an exponential rate. Grassroots Westcliff initially took shape through regular gatherings dedicated to litter collection and maintaining the area’s cleanliness. Their efforts extended to addressing fly-tipping and waste concerns through collaborative efforts with Southend City Council and Veolia. Throughout this journey, their primary objective remained steadfast: the creation of pocket parks.
The establishment of these pocket parks serves as a unifying force within the community, fostering new relationships and enhancing the environmental quality of the area. It also provides a platform for like-minded individuals to come together in pursuit of a shared vision. Alan expresses his gratitude, stating, “I extend my heartfelt thanks to all those who contributed to our inaugural pocket park. An incredible amount of behind-the-scenes work was involved, including material collection and storage, contract assessments with Network Rail, plan evaluations, sign painting, physical labour, and much more. It truly takes a community!”
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Eda Deramchia, Shoebury – Sponsored by Shoebury Residents Association
Sewing Bee Project: This initiative is made possible through Small Sparks funding, providing an opportunity for children aged 8 and above to participate alongside a parent or caregiver in acquiring safe sewing skills and the art of using a sewing machine. It serves as a platform for advancing expertise in textiles, fabrics, and design, or simply honing fundamental sewing abilities, a craft that regrettably diminishes in relevance within our contemporary society. These competencies, though seemingly modest, contribute significantly to our collective effort to embrace environmental responsibility and reduce our carbon footprint. Rather than discarding garments with minor imperfections, we can now mend and maintain them, combatting the prevailing “fast-fashion” culture.
One remarkable aspect of this project lies in its capacity to foster meaningful connections between children and their parents or caregivers, who bond over shared interests and values while simultaneously engaging with like-minded individuals. Lea, the driving force behind this project, possesses a profound passion for textiles and environmental consciousness. She is eager to impart the skill of garment and item creation within a relaxed, welcoming, and secure environment.
I had the privilege of attending the first session and conversing with some of the participants. The afternoon had an atmosphere of relaxation, warmth, and hospitality, with tea and biscuits thoughtfully provided. The young participants seemed very excited and had an eagerness to learn. One of the girls expressed her aspiration to pursue a career in fashion design as she grows older. Another participant, despite residing a considerable distance away, eagerly enrolled in all sessions due to her genuine enjoyment of the program. She even convinced her parents to gift her a sewing machine for her birthday to continue practising regularly at home.
It is truly heartening to witness the preservation of a valuable but declining skill, thanks to dedicated individuals like Lea and the wonderful volunteers who generously offer their assistance. They are driven by their lifelong passion and desire to impart their skills to others. Projects of this nature owe their existence to the remarkable contributions of these dedicated volunteers.
The project has garnered highly positive initial feedback, filling Lea with immense satisfaction regarding its promising outset.
Get in touch with Eda: