THE POWER OF MUM
Georgie Delaney | 29.03.2019
You may have heard of the concept of the power of one – epitomised by people like Malala Yousafzai. This is the story of the power of Mum epitomised by a lady called Lisa.
This week, we launched a TGO outdoor gym in Valence Park. Valence Park is in Barking and Dagenham and parts of it are very deprived and have been subject to knife crime incidents but one Mum is changing the horizon for the community there.
Two years ago a local Mum called Lisa had a vision for a better park for her family and community. She had noticed the great facilities in other parks and wanted the same for her family. She approached her local council – The London borough of Barking and Dagenham Council (LBBD) about the need to upgrade her park.
Lisa realised something that many people don’t. At TGO gyms we have worked with Local Authorities for over 12 years. What I have noticed is that Local Authorities often struggle to find community groups or people to validate or create projects. If people only knew what an essential part of the process they were! We are the missing jigsaw piece for many council decisions on improvement spends.
The reality is, if there is local demand for money to be spent on a park, then the council tends to listen (gladly). The project may take some time because of funding, but you need to start somewhere.
Being positive and proactive as opposed to complaining is mutually beneficial. The council in Dagenham was pleased to find a positive resident in Lisa. She helped them by identifying a ‘need’ and then she brought people together to co-design the project. The Local Authority helped Lisa by finding funding and facilitating the process to get the job done – that’s where we came in!
Funding takes time. LBBD found funds for this through Veolia, London Marathon Charitable Trust and the Local Council. On Tuesday, Lisa was the honorary person to unveil the new playground and gym.
If you want to make a difference to your community and are wondering where to start, your local councillor would be a good place. Their job is to champion the community voice and find Local Authority budgets. If this fails then try the officer route. Your parks team at your local authority would be another great place to email into.
Funds are available from housing developments, park budgets, lottery money or public health budgets for outdoor gyms. If the council has evidence that this is in demand then they will often gladly respond. Councils are used to complaints, but what are really looking for are proactive people who have good ideas for change.
Now Valence park residents have an amazing space that will have a cultural impact on all generations putting health and fitness at the centre of their community thanks to one mum and a very supportive council.