For people all over the world; from early times until now, fire has been the heart of community building. Hence it was a natural choice to base some our first community workshops in and around Canada Water on the theme of fire. Thanks to the support of British Land we were fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Time and Talents, a long-established organisation that has worked for 130 years with its local community.
Last autumn the Time and Talents team joined us for lunch in the King’s Cross Skip Garden, and they were curious about our home base and the way we work. Their visit seeded the idea of Global Generation making a wood burning oven at their charming and characterful centre; based in what was previously a mortuary. It is about ten minutes-walk from where Global Generation are setting up the Paper Garden maker space in the Canada Water Printworks.
We wanted to find a way to weave making with paper, growing and cooking into this fiery story. As in the story of the universe, fire connects one thing to another and ignites creativity. Very soon a plan was hatched which included a series of workshops culminating in a Cosmic Fire Feast. For three days, we worked with some of the older members of the Green Team, a group of volunteers who regularly attend Time and Talents. They prepared a range of paper pots for children to plant; woven pots, tea cup pots and pots made of cardboard carpet tubes. Some of them also helped with the making of the Pizza Oven.
Finally, the big day dawned. In honour of lighting up the wood-burning oven, the sun emerged and along with it, came more children and volunteers than we had anticipated - 25 children in all and about 10 volunteers. We began the day by telling the very big story of the stars, the sun and the seeds and the children brought the story to life throughout the day by making clay models and pencils out of twigs, through cooking pizza and cookies and by planting bulbs and making fire balls. The impact of sharing the scientific story in the form of a contemporary origin story can show up in unexpected ways. As one of the children waited for their pizza to cook, we heard them say, “we have to be patient just like the bacteria” [that waited two billion years to form eukaryote cells] …
A huge thanks to Jemma, Devon and Alyson of Time and Talents who were super welcoming and supportive and we look forward to doing more with them going forward.
This is what the children and their parents said about their experience:
Fire does so many things. Fire reminds me of the stars and the sun and lots of yummy food – Maddison
Fire makes me feel happy because it warms me up. Fire makes me feel worried because it burns me up – Summer
Fire reminds me of volcanoes and now it reminds me of pizza - Joshua
My son normally doesn’t want to leave the house but he had a fantastic day today – it was great to have him learning about gardening and cooking and making things with his hands - Parent
What a really enjoyable and successful day it was, and a big chunk of that was thanks to the Global Generation team. Having friendly, knowledgeable people only too willing to share their skills and expertise feels like proper partnership working and that's what it's all about. From talking to our volunteers and the locals who came along, I know that they had a great time and definitely want more - which is always a good sign. Plus we now have a pizza oven. We're looking forward to working with you again - it was good fun too, which always helps! Alyson Moore - Operations Manager Time and Talents
Us T&T staff really loved working with such a friendly and innovative organisation today, and look forward to more great partnership working to come! Our community clearly loved it too; it was wonderful to see so many local kids from different schools having an exciting time learning, creating and playing together. Lots of the parents were delighted with the impact the day had on their kids too, so thank you so much GG! Jemma Bicknell – Community events & activities producer - Time & Talents