Employees of STS recently swapped their desks and computers for paint and paint brushes when we spent an afternoon volunteering our time to help paint a colourful mural to be displayed at a housing estate within the local area of Lambeth, South London.
After contacting Engage Lambeth, a local voluntary action council who help organise such projects within the area, we were put in touch with members of The Point, a community organisation set up by residents of Crown Place. They wanted to complete a project to bring members of the estate and surrounding areas together, to do something positive and creative and to leave a mark that stood for the community coming together to bring about positive change.
Jo Clayton, Vice-Chair of The Point said, “The Point was set up because there is a lot of isolation and fear locally with many people not knowing their neighbours. There are also a lot of young people with nothing to do and who tend to cause trouble. They are often in danger of getting picked as runners for local gangs. Before The Point was set-up, my life was miserable and all I wanted to do was get out of the estate. But now, I am filled with hope about what is possible to achieve here and the potential that the residents have to change our lives here for ourselves and for each other.”
The mural, which has been placed on the wall opposite the newly improved community hub and along a busy walkway into the estate, was designed by a local resident. They chose the central image to be the cherry blossom tree that stands within the estate, along with a quote by Nelson Mandela, “It seems impossible until it is done.” The residents told us that the tree is beautiful when in bloom and they thought that as a community they have the chance to blossom together using their collective creativity.
Alongside STS, there were residents of the local area, both young and old, along with several volunteers from Engage Lambeth. Working together, the mural took around 4 hours to complete.
Luca Ferri, Software Engineer at STS and the person to arrange the voluntary project said, “It felt really good to give something back to the local community and help improve the lives of others. It was important to us all that we help deliver a positive message to the youth living on the estate and I hope that it will be the first of many voluntary projects that we can complete as a company.”
The project bought the community together and definitely helped brighten up the walkway into the estate. It has helped to make more people aware of The Point association and their aim to change the lives of those living in the area.