Positive Actions in Hackney

28th May 2015 by

Guest post from Rob Greenfield of Get Into Green Jobs 2015

On Friday 1st May as part of Otesha’s Get Into Green Jobs programme, Joe, Chris, Faithful and I completed our first action project with a local youth group run by gab.

Armed with an inflatable die, numerous wild flower seeds, and bucket loads of enthusiasm, we embarked on the short journey from Workshop 44 to Borougham Rd Community Hall.

Upon entering we were greeted by the lovely Darcy who helps run the weekly session along with Sian and Cecilia. Once all the kids had arrived the first order of service was to establish names via the infamous name circle. We then handed it over to Joe to explain why it was that these four young adults had randomly shown up to their play session.

The Activities:

We began with our first activity, the imaginatively named animal game. As everyone walked in between space, the Green Jobs team took it in turns to read out a story that involved travelling through an unknown habitat where you would suddenly stumble upon an animal. When the animal was revealed everyone had to make its shape and then a winner was chosen. The room soon resembled some sort of Hackney City Zoo as monkeys, starfish and sharks were all discovered.

The next activity involved taking the kids outside to the garden. Screaming, exploring and seesaw-throwing ensued, but seeing how they reacted to going outdoors brought home how important it is for kids to have access to that environment to play in, especially those who grow up in big cities. After we managed to gather them back into a group, we explained how we were going to play the Green Man game. Once again Joe did a great job outlining how the activity was going to unfold.

In the middle there was a river with a bridge going over it, on it stood the Green Man who would only let you pass if your behaviour was environmentally sound. For example, reusing plastic carrier bags, switching the lights off when you leave the house, or turning off the tap when you’re brushing your teeth. If you failed to do these things, you would have to try and pass the Green Man after everyone else, without being caught. If he did catch you, you would then become part of his Green Gang. By nominating himself to be the Green Man, Joe had the impossible task of trying to stop the first wave of environmental wrongdoers from crossing his cherished river. Underestimating Joe’s hawk-like prowess proved costly as I was first to be caught. As the game progressed our Green Gang got bigger and bigger until it became impossible for anyone to cross without being grabbed. Congrats to Faithful on making it to the end, although there’s rumours’ flying at Otesha saying that she may have lied on some of her answers.

The two games had taken us nicely onto the kids’ free time – the part of the session they’re encouraged to go outdoors and play. At this point we set up two optional activities. Joe and Chris hosted a seed bomb making session whilst Faithful and I played a giant eco-snakes and ladders game. To make seed bombs we had to acquire wild flower seeds, compost, flour to bind it all together, and some newspaper to take it home in. The idea is that the kids make the bombs themselves, take them home and throw it in their garden or nearest green space, spreading the wild flowers. Although I wasn’t part of the seed bomb making process, I witnessed the gleaming smiles of the kids as they ran into the hall covered in flour and soil.

Wildflower Seed Bombs

Wildflower Seed Bombs

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Equally as happy were the children who had chosen to play eco-snakes and ladders. The kids took it in turns to roll the giant inflatable dice onto the mat, using their feet as counters. They would go up a ladder if they landed on a square with an environmental good deed, such as having a shower instead of a bath. The snakes represented actions that harm the planet, such as using a washing machine to only clean one t-shirt. As always the kids were determined to win and this competitiveness meant they were engaged for the duration of the game.

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Enviromental Snakes and Ladders in action!

The session ended with another shape game although this time the kids were in groups and had to form not-so-sustainable transport like cars and planes. But by then our mission of making sure the kids have fun, whilst learning a bit about how they can have a positive impact on the planet, had already been achieved!

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A human skateboard -awesome!

It was a really enjoyable experience and hopefully marks the start of a new relationship between gab and Otesha.

THANK YOUs

Thanks to Joe, Faithful and Chris for helping organise it all and smashing it on the day.

Big shout out to Otesha for all the advice and tools they provided via the Green Jobs programme, and especially to Annie for helping us get the project off the ground and turn all our ideas into actions.

Also thanks to the kids that attended for being so energetic, engaged, and switched on with environmental issues. It made our job a lot easier.

Finally, a massive thanks to the gab team for letting us run the session. Without their guidance and supervision the activities could’ve resulted in the destruction of the local environment, the exact opposite of what we wanted to achieve.

 


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