News Release

Hyde Park Stake members perform Helping Hands service for residents in Tottenham

A very fresh day at the end of January saw around fifty members from Hyde Park Stake head to Tottenham to serve the local community by preparing allotments for the planting season. The Stake first served the community as part of the Mayor’s clean-up campaign shortly after the Tottenham riots and were happy to go back to an area which although poor and deprived has many beautiful aspects which benefit the local community.

Living Under One Sun (LUOS), is a community allotment run entirely by passionate volunteers who work with schools, community groups and individuals, promoting community cohesion, educating about food and healthy lifestyle and giving the opportunity for the community to experience growing food. In order to facilitate this work the Helping Hands volunteers prepared the ground and planters by weeding and breaking up the soil. The strength of the young men and women were especially appreciated as they cleared an area of land overrun by some very stubborn brambles. Determined young woman Millie Goldrup arrived early and asked which area of land was the toughest.  When organizers pointed to a patch of spiky, uninviting brambles, Millie declared “that is where I am going to work.” Lea Valley Park Ranger Lisa Hyde, on site observing the work, told volunteers: “You have done a wonderful job in terms of weeding and digging ready for the growing season when the kids will come in.”

Leyla Laksari, the founder of LUOS has unbeatable drive, energy and enthusiasm for the project and along with the other LUOS volunteers created a wonderful atmosphere to work in. Leyla’s goal is for the area to be “a village square for all people, a tool to reach out using food, for people to tell their stories, to share, celebrate and harvest.” Her colleague Lyn Silver describes the difference the project makes to local children. “We have children come who have never seen a pea and we have to persuade them to try it,  they don’t realise that it is natural for food to come from the earth. We have raised planters so the disabled can also participate. We have children who are a bit reluctant and don’t want to get their hands dirty but once they try they seem to enjoy it most, there is a real joy to be discovered in working the land.”

Members who participated on January 28 found it easy to see the benefit of good wholesome hard work, an invaluable experience for those growing up in the local concrete jungle, who otherwise would have no access to gardens and no opportunity to experience the joy of growing and improving their own lives and community. “I used to live in this area, so to see a service project in my old area is brilliant, I know how much it will mean to the whole community,” said Sarah Boot from Britannia Ward. Even with cold fingers and dripping noses, the members enjoyed the rare opportunity to do outside physical work.  And even though it was cold, the sun shone all day. “We loved working and enjoying and helping the community; we’re happy to be involved in good wholesome activities,” said another Britannia Ward member, Deeana Turner. LUOS has invited Hyde Park Stake Helping Hands back again in the summer to see and enjoy the fruits of their labour.

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