The Big Local were invited to the Mayor of London's official opening of the London Blossom Garden at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in May 2021. The living memorial garden was developed to honour the 19,000 Londoners who sadly passed away in the pandemic, we were also joined by key workers and faith leaders across the 33 London boroughs. The Mayor Sadiq Khan met with our Big Local Community Podcast host Tarek Mrad. After the ceremony, the Mayor unveiled the 33 new blossom trees, one for each borough and also announced a new Covid-19 bereavement support programme for families.
For more information about the London Blossom Memorial Garden please visit: https://www.queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk/…/blossom-garden
Big thanks to the Mayor's office and National Trust for the invitation to fly the flag for Heston West Big Local and the London Borough of Hounslow. For more information about the Big Local Community Podcast please click here.
By Taz Virdee
WE'RE BACK! Get involved with our FREE Youth Filmmaking Project. Sessions run weekly every Sunday at Cranford Community College from 11 to 4pm.
Our filmmaking project designed for young people living and studying in and around our Big Local area. The project is in collaboration with experienced filmmaker Blaise Singh and Heston West Big Local. During the sessions young people learn the art of filmmaking and community work. In the last 5 years our young people have been involved with making documentaries, short films, music videos and community related content.
The sessions are an opportunity for young people to learn leadership, communication and creative skills in a safe, friendly and fun environment. The youth film club is often the first step for our young people to get involved with our community volunteering programme.
To learn more / sign up by contacting Taz Virdee at firstname.lastname@example.org or by clicking here.
In 2018, I initially joined Heston West Big Local thinking volunteering would help my CV, however as time went by, I started to thoroughly enjoy volunteering and built a passion for helping my community grow and prosper! Since then, I have been part of numerous amazing projects, such as clean-up days, fundraisers, debate clubs and many more! These projects have helped me grow as a person and learn more about our community.
One of the first community events I was involved with was the Big Local Community Clean Up Day. We could gather in the morning and then as a group we would venture onto the Redwood estate to help make sure the area was clean by picking up any unwanted litter. I particularly felt that clean up days were one of the most useful ways to help the community. The more people saw us, the more they realised how important it is to keep the estate clean. Events like these made me learn that it important to keep the world around us clean, not just for ourselves, but for the people around us and future generations.
"I learnt how to handle people patiently and also how to be organised and engaging with my sessions."
In the summer of 2019, I volunteered for the Big Local and Creative Spaces London Summer School. I worked with children aged 6-11 years to help coordinate different creative activities.
The Summer School not only taught me a lot about myself, but also about children. I got into the habit of building a routine and structuring my day efficiently. It was amazing to watch the children grow and learn each day. I enjoyed working with the group leaders and observing them during the project. This helped me develop my interpersonal and leadership skills even more.
During Summer 2020, I got offered to teach dance over Zoom during lockdown. With my GCSE’s cancelled and being stuck home all day, this opportunity was so beneficial! It helped me escape from my monotonous days of being on my phone 24/7 and do something more productive. Whilst taking on this role, I looked back at summer school and my previous workshops to see what transferable skills would help me. I was extremely nervous at first, but I am so grateful that I always had someone I could ask whenever I had any queries. These sessions not only helped me gain planning skills, but I became even more confident within myself and my teaching.
"...I became even more confident within myself and my teaching."
Currently I am studying for my A levels and I am still teaching dance. With all the stress of school, these sessions provide me with an escape to forget about the stress around me and focus on what I love doing! I am so thankful to Heston West Big Local for providing these amazing opportunities to me and will forever be grateful that I get to do something I love alongside my education!