Friday, the 29th of June, was D-Day, and the invitation went out to our friends and through our networks for the opening of the Skip Garden, which was to be included as part of the UCL Bartlett School of Architecture degree show and the London Architecture Festival. This was also the day we needed to move out of our old Skip Garden site and so that evening a large van full of leftover materials would be driven down our campsite on Pertwood Organic Farm for a much-needed volunteering weekend. On the Thursday before, I pick my way carefully across the site of the new Skip Garden... and my heart sinks.
There is rubble and sawn up ends of timber everywhere. The skips for taking the rubbish away - kindly organised and donated by one of our construction collaborators, Carillion - had not yet arrived. The toilet block made of railway sleepers and scaffold boards looked amazing, but the plumbing wasn’t working, and the main window of the café was still boarded up. A familiar thought went through my mind… what will happen this time?
Well, the right people always appear at the right time. By Friday morning, the garden was teeming with people, volunteers from all directions – university students, young people doing work experience and local residents. By 2pm - the advertised opening time - the site was clear of rubbish and the last of the signs were being hung. And, last but not least, a cocktail bar was operating from one of the garden skips. The students from the Bartlett, who have worked long and hard, were beaming as visitors flooded in to see what had been created in a relatively short period of time, with 90% reclaimed materials and a starting point of only £500 budget for each structure.
Along with the students and their tutors Jan Kattein and Julia King, special thanks go to our site manager and architect Dave Eland of Ozkurt & Eland http://www.ozkurteland.com/ . Dave is an architect who spent many years running self-build projects in Eastern Europe, so he is made for the job. He has worked tirelessly supporting the Bartlett students, designing and building the classroom and kitchen for Global Generation’s teaching and income-earning activities. He has involved volunteers of all ages and stages of experience. This has included groups from the Guardian, Google and Argent, 7-year-olds from St Aloysius Primary School along with our Generators and BTEC students.
Word has begun to spread about our new home. Last week, French breakfast television interviewed us and the Londonist did a great article in which our new chickens are figural. You can read this here: https://londonist.com/2015/06/hope-a-skip-and-a-jump-at-kings-cross.php
After all that, our new Skip Garden is now officially open – along with the Kitchen, Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm. Do come by, no hard needed!