In partnership with Westminster Children’s University, our subcontractor PVD Contractors Ltd recently installed fencing to go round the perimeter of a new Forest School in Westminster.
Working locally in the area we were introduced to Cllr Stella Wilson, who manages Westminster Children’s University, an aspirational and extracurricular project which provides free inspiring and educational opportunities for the young people of London.
The project seeks to engage young people in activities that will help them transition from primary to secondary school, and then maintain the positive trend in transition to further education while promoting wellbeing and empowerment through activities and training.
One of the ways the organisation aims to do this is through the newly opened Forest School site at the Council Green, telephone exchange, W10 4NB. We spoke to Stella who explained the background to the project and expressed the value of this resource to the local community:
The opening of the site is accumulation of efforts, which have been undertaken over the last three years by the Reverend David Ackerman at St John, the evangelist Church, adjacent to the Kensal Green, telephone exchange site. By working in collaboration with partners, we have been able to enlist the support of stakeholders who have helped us renovate the land and bring it to its present state, making it fit for purpose as a community space and forest school for the children of the local area and wider children’s University network.
This work and kindness from our partners led to the readiness of the land for purpose in September 2022 but the main challenge faced was the absence of perimeter fencing making the site unsafe for younger and SEND students. Due to inability to fence the site, progress had halted, and we were actively seeking a manageable solution for the issue to complete the works. The generosity of Axis in supporting the project and completely supplying and installing the boundary fencing has meant that we have finally been able to conclude this three-year project and the all wooden fencing has provided a sustainable and fitting solution to our biggest challenge as well as allowing the installation on an on-site gallery.
We are ranked among the higher percentile of socio-economic challenge and many of our families do not have ready access to secure and private green spaces. This little oasis, set among the flats and telephone exchange in Westminster, made possible by our kind sponsors, will offer sanctuary security and a chance to enjoy green spaces to both local wild-life and residents.
Since its opening formally in October 2022, two weeks ago, already 120 young people have visited and enjoyed interacting with the space. The three Nurseries of the Queen’s Park Federation will now be visiting daily with students from KS1-2 utilising the space for RSPB and Wellbeing workshops. The students of Queen’s Park School will tend the site making it a great social action resource for students and educators too. Furthermore SEND students can now access the site in small groups safely, creating an additional sensory resource for our primary and Nursery colleagues thanks to the generous support of Axis.
We look forward to sharing our site locally and within wider networks building community cohesion and awareness and connectivity within our area and would like to express our sincerest thanks to our partners and supporters at Axis.