Soul in the City Visit 2004

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(Article provided by Linda Massey)

The Friends of Boston Manor were extremely pleased to welcome SOULINTHECITY to Boston Manor Park this summer.

Around 40 young people travelled from Suffolk and Birmingham and one person joined the group from Holland to spend a week assisting the Boston Manor Community.  Linda Massey and Amanda Savage took time away from their own work to run the project on behalf of the Friends.  

The SOULINTHECITY group paid money to travel to London and stay under canvas at the showground near Uxbridge.  The Mayor of London provided them with free travel passes to get them to their various venues.  Boston Manor Residents’ Association kindly provided funding to give the young people one hot meal each day.  CIP and the bowling club provided facilities and catering equipment and the Friends did the cooking.  

“I was honoured to work with such a lovely enthusiastic group.  Each day, in spite of difficulties with their accommodation or travel arrangements, they arrived with a smile ready to face the day’s tasks.  SOULINTHECITY were two groups of people working together in harmony who had never met each other before - firm friendships have certainly been made.   Even when they found some of the work that they had completed the previous day had been wrecked by the purge of the park they just started again”.  LINDA MASSEY

The first two days tasks were to tackle the ever increasing piles of rubbish strewn across the park.  Boston Manor Park, like any London park suffers from litter dropped by park users but it also has an additional problem with litter being thrown from cars using the M4 motorway and of course the inevitable fly tipping.   Hounslow Council Street Care team provided “litter pickers” (the gadgets and not the people!)  to aid the group and CIP provided 3 large skips.  “Even after a week there were still areas to clear but a positive visual impact was certainly made”

Over the next few days various tasks were undertaken.  These included:
o    The weeding and watering of the herbaceous border which had been planted by the Friends of Boston Manor only a few months before.
o    The removal of graffiti from the pavilion building, the shelter and various signs around the park.
o    Painting signs, benches, pavilion main doors and incredibly the lions on the sides of litter bins with a steady hand using gold paint provided by a local Hanwell paint company
o    Clearing overgrown shrubbery to give park users a better feeling of safety.
On two of the days a group of young people attended the front and back garden of a local elderly disabled resident.  In six hours they transformed the derelict garden and left money to purchase a plant as a centrepiece to the front garden.  The Suffolk branch also wished to leave something to remember them by.  It was agreed that a broken park bench would be restored and will be installed in the park to be known as the SOULINTHECITY bench.  CIP are currently organising this refurbishment work.

Soul in the City End of Work Day meeting
SOULINTHECITY in Boston Manor Park. 
At the end of each day the group exchanged their thoughts and achievements of the day.  

Secret Garden Cleared
The Secret Garden with GlaxoSmithKline building in the distance.

Park Shelter Graffiti Free
The shelter – Graffiti clear thanks to SOULINTHECITY – a rare sight.

A litter free park
A litter-free park