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Green Spaces Project of the Month

July 2003 - Story Garden, East London

Contact: Vick Cave, Creative Director
Tel. 0208 536 5542, General enquiries 020 8536 5555

“Once upon a time, there was a piece of waste land in East London. It was contaminated with chemicals, and was a dump for old bicycles, sofas and fridges. Now it's the Discover Story Garden for 2-7 year old children.”

Discover asked local children what they would like to see in a play garden, and they said they wanted a monster with a tongue you could slide down. They wanted a free play space where they could express themselves and let their imaginations run wild. Their Mums wanted a learning environment where the children could develop ideas and improve their communication skills – important because there are over 100 community languages spoken among the children in Stratford. So sculptor Andy Frost and landscape designer Vanessa Barker worked with local school children and volunteers to design and create a garden to make these dreams come true. The Story Garden is open every day except term-time Mondays, it's free, young children and their families are very welcome, and there are people called Story Builders to help kids explore ideas, act them out and have great fun!

Benjamin Zephaniah, poet, local resident and Patron of Discover, says that “providing time and space for children to use their imagination cannot be overestimated. Discover offers real benefits.” This is the story of how Discover consulted with its ethnically diverse constituency to create the kind of green space young people and their families really want to share.

 

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