charity, create, education, gardening, gardening with kids, key stage 2, kids, life

Q&A with a community gardener

Q&A with a community gardener

Hannah and Kevin

Community gardener and founder of yourspace.sutton Kevin Plicio runs local community garden nursery Seears Park Nursery in Sutton. This nursery runs on pure volunteer manpower and community spirit, running training courses and therapeutic activities in a calming and peaceful environment. He has been running the beautiful non-profit nursery for almost six years, transforming it from a run-down nursery to a social and stunning community hub which has just recently been opened to the public.

As his daughter, Hannah, I’ve grown up around the transformation of the park, seeing it go from overgrown and slightly wild, to open space and inviting. Perfect for family days out and picnics, the nursery offers scenic and photogenic open areas, free for the public to utilise.

13118933_577749772401247_5145497625308435159_n13119073_577749822401242_8007960149422514965_nQ- So, tell us about what made you want to run a community project?
Well, the idea originally stemmed from me working at other projects, but these projects were all tailored to one specific group of people, or had one specific service, and I wanted to do something more socially integrating and open to all users, regardless of their background, age, or ability.

Q- What is there to see?
Honestly, there’s so much! We have this really great pond that’s just teeming with life, frogs, fish, newts, and even in the evening we get the occasional duck family coming to stay – it’s such a sight! We also have vegetable patches, some art display inside the main classroom from a local artist Santiago Plicio, the polytunnels have a great plant selection, including a great cactus area. We’re also in the process of making smaller gardens as part of the garden nursery, where 6 out of the 16 planned are complete. We also have this really stunning willow circle, which is just beautiful.

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thanks to Stephanie Krist for this photo

Q- Tell us about your volunteers, and who helps run the nursery.
We have quite a large group of volunteers here at the nursery, and without them, there would be no way that the place could be running. Some people volunteer for a month, and some have been volunteering for years, and we appreciate every bit of help we get. Their generosity and time is something I’m always going to be so grateful for.

Q- You’ve just opened to the public for the first time in almost six years, how does that feel?
It feels amazing, we’ve been getting this place ready for the public for so long and now it feels as if our work is finally paid off, and we can do what we’ve always set out to do, create a community project that everyone can benefit for. We’ve been running training courses and school placements for years which is so amazing, but now we can finally make it open to everyone, which was always the plan. We now run a plant sale every Saturday from 10:00am until 4:00pm, and the nursery is otherwise open Monday-Thursday from 9:30 until 5:30.

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Q- Got any last words or comments that you want everyone to know?
I’d just love to see you there! Bring your friends, family, dogs, come and experience and enjoy the nursery, see what’s here, and if you want to contribute in any way then we’d love to hear from you too!

 

Seears Park Nursery is open to the public from 9:30am-5:30pm Monday to Thursday, and 10:am-4:00pm on a Saturday for the plant sale and general public use. Follow them on Facebook for events and updates here

Note from Ali – Thank you so much, Hannah, for introducing me to your dad’s amazing community project. Here’s a picture of a pond that my 13-year-old son made, with the addition of the Junctus that he bought from the Nursery!

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Written by Hannah Plicio-Keattch

charity, cooking with kids, kids

Camila Batmanghelidjh and Kids Company Plate Pledge

You may have previously read my Kids Company article for Britmums – and I have been lucky enough to meet Camila Batmanghelidjh on a couple of occasions – She is an amazing and awe-inspiring person. Plate-Pledge

Every week, thousands of children rely on Camila’s charity Kids Company for their main meal of the day. They come to be fed, to learn how to cook, and to find a safe place to be a child. Cooking together and meal-planning, has been a really important time for my children and I, and we often find time to bake the odd cake together even now with all of the homework they seem to have as they get older.
We were reading Jay Raynor’s article in last month’s Observer and the statistics still astound us – that today through Kids Company’s centres in north and south London, Liverpool and Bristol, they now support 36,000 children and provide 3,000 meals a week. Of those children, 85% rely on Kids Company for the main meal of the day. “We find children coming to us with quite severe issues of malnutrition,” says campaigns director Laurence Guinness. “We have toddlers with rickets, 10-year-olds who look like seven-year-olds. When you see adolescents looking skeletal you understand why they join a gang.” “There is no responsible adult caring for these children. There’s a gaping hole in the safety net. There is no allocation of resources to the lone child.”  

My 10 year old son has pledged £2 today to the Plate Pledge – he asked me to type:
“This is from my 10year old son – who today cooked a fish supper for our family and baked and iced a cake. He is giving £2 from his piggy bank towards a healthy tasty meal for another child tonight.”

As well as having the privilege of meeting Camila, I have also been lucky enough to work with some amazing beautifully minded brands, and I was very proud to read this little note from Camila and Kids Company last week:

“We are delighted that 1 Two Kids has decided to continue its support of Kids Company through the Sophie La Girafe Baby skincare range in the UK and Republic of Ireland. It is wonderful to have this support for our 36,000 vulnerable children, young people, adults and their families,” says Camila Batmanghelidjh CBE. 

Kids Company recently launched a challenge to pledge support for a further 580,00 meals for these children – so far, with donations from as little as £2 each, equivalent to a plate of food to help make a hungry and vulnerable child happy – they have reached an amazing 549, 833 – to reach their TARGET: 580,000 visit kidscoplatepledge.org to learn how you can help too.

Ali also blogs over on aGreenerLifeforus.com and FunCraftsKids.com and is a new lover of Instagram too… pop over and say hello!

charity, kids, life, theatre reviews

Moomins Review 2014 – Polka Theatre

We do love Wimbledon’s Polka Theatre, and as the boys get bigger, I fear I may be toddling up there on my own to watch shows without them! We took them to see The Moomins ‘Moominssummer Madness’ at the weekend, and we are all in agreement that it was a most delightful show. We were enchanted by the characterisation of Snorkmaiden and Moomintroll, of Moomimmamma, Snufkin and Little My (the youngest boys’ favourite character by far – see handwritten review below!) of course, Misabelle was absolutely fabulous too. KidsChaos-Polka-Theatre-Moomins-Puppets

The show is based on Tove Jansson’s 1964 book Moominsummer Madness and as the boys and their Dad have read MOST of Tove Jansson’s Moomins Books they were chuckling along and all said that it was a great adaption.

Moomins Review

KidsChaos-Polka-Theatre-Moomins-Snorkmaiden-and-Moomintroll

Moomins Review

Tove Jansson’s much-loved Moomins are brought to life on stage with the ensemble’s fabulous puppetry, songs and and great humour. Moominsummer Madness is part of Tove100, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Tove Jansson.

To book at the Polka Theatre, SW19 click here.
Follow them on twitter here @polkatheatre.

Follow Ali on twitter as @incredibusymum and twitter.com/MoreKidsChaos for more posts like this one… Erm, and funnily enough on Google+Facebook and Pinterest! Pop over to say hello x Like it? Pin it! and come say hello at instagram.com/incredibusy too x
Ali also writes over on AGreenerLifeforus.com

 

charity, education, kids, life

see the childSee the Child: Change the System

I was lucky enough to be at Britmums Live 2014 and attended one of the INSPIRE sessions, “How to be an Agent of Change: Advocacy and charity campaigns” featuring Camila Batmanghelidjh, Kids Company; Lindsay Atkin, Lilies Are Like YouTuber; Hayley Goleniowska, Downs Side Up; and Chris Mosler, Thinly Spread.
Camila Batmanghelidjh
All very inspiring women indeed – and Camila Batmanghelidjh is the founder of Kids Company – the charity behind See the Child. Change the System.
Camila spoke of how vulnerable children in Britain desperately need our help. She movingly talked of how too many children across the country are suffering squalor, abuse and neglect. Most can’t get any help because the system just isn’t coping. Watch this video:WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP? Please help by signing the petition to show you care. This will help support an independent task force to redesign children’s services so that every child who needs help can get it. By voting, you too are helping to show the politicians that we’re no longer going to stand for this. Many of these children, and those who work with them, are being failed by a system in crisis, vote now by clicking here.
Visit the campaign’s website seethechild.org for more information.
Please do follow on Twitter @SeetheChild along with Facebook, G+, and instagram and search for the hashtag #SeetheChild and start sharing by commenting, and retweeting.
#SeetheChild are asking people to text I SEE to 63000 – (a standard network charge as a vote, not a donation). The text will constitute a ‘vote’ for change but you will also be able to sign up on the website.
see the child Ali CliffordFinally, in addition to voting, #SeetheChild would really like you, your friends, followers and family to post a picture of yourself as a child with the campaign messaging something along the lines of something like: “This is me as a child. Some children don’t have such happy childhoods. I’m supporting the #seethechild campaign to change Children’s Services in the UK. Share your childhood photo and sign the petition here bit.ly/1tfykF3.
Follow Ali on twitter as @incredibusymum and twitter.com/MoreKidsChaos for more posts like this one… Erm, and funnily enough on Google+Facebook and Pinterest! Pop over to say hello x Like it? Pin it! and come say hello at instagram.com/incredibusy too x
Ali also writes over on AGreenerLifeforus.com
charity, life

What an amazing thing to be a part of… the #TeamHonkRelay – Team Honk is a collection of bloggers, Tweeters and Facebookers who come together to raise money for Comic Relief and Sport Relief.

Team Honk, set up in 2013 by Tanya Mummy Barrow, Penny from Aresidence and Annie Mammasuarus, have this year designed a blogger team honk relay challenge where a baton is being passed from Lands End to John O Groats. Bloggers up and down the country will be using a range of weird and wonderful modes of transport to pass the baton over.

teamhonkrelay badgeYesterday was London’s turn… Our leg of the team honk relay was an ingenious Monopoly theme – #Honkopoly! We covered every colour of the Monopoly board with a couple of extra iconic points of interest along the way. We walked, skipped, ran, skated, and pushed buggies. Armed with the baton and props including Get Out Of Jail , Chance and Pass Go cards as well as amazingly designed leaflets which we gave out to people with details of what we were doing…and tonight we find that we are on the leaderboard of Sport Relief’s ‘freestyle‘ fundraisers!

Bloggers who took part in the London leg included: Vanessa from HPMcQ, Sophie from Franglaise Mummy , Sarah from Grenglish, Swazi from Chocolate is not the only fruit, Alison from Not Another Mummy Blog, Me (KidsChaos) in my Hi-Tec trainers, Jennifer from Jenography, Gillian from A Baby on Board, Rosie from Mummy and Boo, Gretta from Mums Do Travel, Julia from I Carried a Watermelon, Stephanie from Was This In The Plan?, Jacinta from Jacintaz3, Maria aka @maniasmama3, Sachelle from Holiday Tots, Maggy from RedTedArt, Nell from the Pigeon Pair and Me, Kelly from domesticgoddesque, and Uju from babesabouttown.

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ali clifford maggy woodley honkopolyWe had a great day being a part of the team honk relay.

supporting this worthy charity and raising money for a fantastic cause. So, we’d love it if you could sponsor us all here please. Thanks so much!

I think it’s worth it for Maggy, Red Ted Art‘s eyelashes, and our tutu and tights get-up from Delights UK – we certainly got some *HONKS*.

You can keep track of the journey by following the hashtags #TeamHonkRelay – and let us know when you have sponsored us, so that we can tweet about you too!

And if you’re interested in actively getting involved with Sport Relief, the first ever Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games take place from Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd March 2014. The public can join the fun and games by running, swimming or cycling their way to raising cash at over a thousand venues around the country, including the landmark events at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Honkopoly-incredibusy-redtedart-teamAs one of the biggest fundraising events, Sport Relief brings the entire nation together to get active raise cash and change lives. The money raised by the public is spent by Comic Relief to help transform the lives of some of the poorest and most disadvantaged people both at home in the UK and across the world.