Printworks paper garden Community Programme up and running

Wonderful to return after a month away and to hear about and see all the great things my colleagues have been doing at Printworks London, writes Jane Riddiford. Our community programme has now launched with the first workshops for children and young people underway in our Paper Garden space.

First up was a group of young people from Bede House. Here is Siw’s report of the morning:

“The visit with Bede House last Friday was excellent. Alice the Operations and Community Liaison Manager from Printworks met the group at the gate and they donned high vis jackets and made their way to the Paper Garden. After the challenge of stepping over the threshold and through the 'create arch' the group had the whistle stop tour of the Printworks building. Nick our new volunteer joined them. On their return, we sat in a circle and they described their adventure. We looked at plans and talked about the different ways of telling stories and sharing knowledge. A few of the group chose objects that we had made out of cardboard and it was a good introduction to talking about sustainability and growing. The conversation was exciting and animated. We looked at all the different kinds of resources we had collected. Making pencils was a success and the group left after long thanks and farewells.”

We have also completed the first day of a three-day residential with St John’s school. Year 3 came in the morning and year 1 in the afternoon. Both sessions combined story-telling and bird making. The stories were helped along by the now nearly complete indoor yurt. It is a wonderful story telling space on wheels, which just fits a class of 30. Big thanks to Dave Eland’s elegant design and craftsmanship. The children’s enthusiasm was infectious. A flock of crows (technically referred to as a murder of crows) made of black plastic carrier bags were produced by the children. It wasn’t long before the crows began roosting in the woven walls of the yurt. In the afternoon year 1 took the crows outside for a fly, along with three giant birds with feathered wings. They returned inside with an assortment of leaves, sticks and stones. And they told stories of how the vibrant green leaves could speak with the sun without having a mouth. By the end of the day it really felt like a little bit of the forest had started to grow inside Printworks, a building formerly only inhabited by machines and their operators.

Year 3 closed the session by writing letters to their family and friends:

Dear Mum and Dad,
Today I went to the Printworks to learn about newspapers. We made recycled crows and a load more fun activities. It was fun and I want to go there again. We went through giant rooms and a room where we saw disco lights….

Year 1 made wishes for the forest:

I wish that nobody cuts down the trees
I wish that everybody would look after the flowers and not tread on them
I wish the plants would all grow properly so we can go on nature walks
I wish the leaves would never fall down

Big thanks to British Land, Printworks London, Bede House and St John's School for making the programme possible. We look forward involving more schools and community groups in growing the Printworks Paper Garden over the coming weeks.