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A close and creative community is a cohesive community. That’s why we’ve been working with a group of volunteers in Croydon to launch a brand new community festival in the much loved Ashburton Park. Partnering with the ‘Friends of Ashburton Park’, Croydon Youth Theatre and PlayPlace,the vision is to bring local residents together to celebrate the good in the neighbourhood and to promote connection; we hope to raise awareness of the regular clubs that use the park and to increase sport participation.
This new initiative follows the success of a gardening club run by Oasis at the nearby Academy. Here, students and volunteers had to build proper raised beds and work out what equipment they needed to use so that it was ready for planting. They are also planting blackthorn bushes to protect the garden. Local young people have even taken responsibility for advertising the gardening club to parents and community members many of whom have joined the club which now meets every week. The hope is in the future to use the space for outdoor learning.
“We have a long history in Croydon,” says Dave Parr, CEO of Oasis Community Partnerships, “and we know how strong the sense of community near Ashburton Park is. By giving people another opportunity to come together, express themselves creatively and contribute to the natural beauty of their surroundings we believe that greater and deeper relationships – and not just plants and musical talent – will be nurtured. This depth of relationship and local ownership is at the heart of the Oasis model of transformation.”