A Central pillar in Global Generation's work in King’s Cross is the Generator, youth leadership programme for 11 to 18 year olds. Now we have a new group of Generators in Canada Water, our work south of the river has taken root.
There are lots of different ways to describe what a Generator is. They are change makers, they are action researchers, they are the promise of a bright future. Their journey with us is for at least six months and often more, as many of them will go on to become mentors. As they grow in themselves, they in turn inspire other community members including regeneration consultants and contractors. Through working together with others, visible legacy is created, whether that be the creation of a portable garden (parklet), a photography exhibition or a jam making micro enterprise. It is an incremental and collaborative process that we call, I, We and The Planet. A process in which relationships between the Generators and different parts of the community, including nature, grows respect, opportunity and meaningful action in what can sometimes appear to be the harsh and faceless drive of urban regeneration.
In Canada Water the Generator journey began with a four day residential to Pertwood Organic Farm in Wiltshire. With a commitment to do ones best to make the invisible magic of life just a little bit more visible the Generators returned to London. During the holiday period, they took up opportunities to volunteer in the Printworks Paper Garden. Now more than a month on some of the Generators have written about what being a Generator means to them:
Being a generator means to me that I have more chances to discover new things about nature but also it gives me the opportunity to find out more about myself. Since I’ve started I’ve been wondering what being a generator is all about. As I’ve gone along the journey I’ve started to understand that part of being a generator is to try and change my community for the better, the environment and the people – is about BEING ORIGINAL
Melvina – 12 years
In this new role, many things that have happened and all of my experiences were unexpected. They have either opened up new doors, taught me a new skill or just put a smile on my face and made me laugh.
Dezeret – 11 years
Being a generator is somewhat deeper than just a group of kids making stuff together. It’s a group of kids with old minds that think way deeper than society gives credit. Being a generator is jokes - but in a ‘ha ha’ we can do some much more than you think kind of way
Kathryn – 18 years
I am a Generator. I have been one for a very long time because Global Generation has reminded me that I have always been one. Being a Generator is more than a programme, it’s a perspective and a way of using resources. The resources are simple; paper, wood, soil and seeds. I am writing this live from inside a Paper Yurt. I am surrounded by people of different ages, cultures and genders. We all believe in the same vision of reinforcing nature and community in Canada Water. We are prepared to gather the knowledge and put in our all because that’s what we’ve been doing since the start.
Sarah - 18 years
I volunteer with Global Generation at the Paper Garden in Canada Water.
I am absolutely amazed at how the space allows the young Generators to discover and exercise their creativity, whilst learning new skills and a sense of community. I have spoke to many of the Generators who have cooked their first meals here, built their first furniture here, planted their first plants here and it is absolutely fulfilling to watch them relish and talk about these experiences. For me personally being able to come to the Paper Garden to help the Generators in their learning has allowed me to give back to them, the future generation and makes me feel am doing something worthwhile.
Tania Han (Photographer and local Volunteer)
Photos courtesy of Tania Facebook: @taniahanphoto