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Newly transformed playground at Hatcham Gardens re-opens

Local residents in New Cross celebrated the re-opening of Hatcham Gardens with a wonderful community day on Saturday.

Brenda Dacres, the Mayor of Lewisham cut the ribbon on the newly transformed playground with 6 year old local resident Jamella. They were joined by Deputy Mayor Cllr Louise Krupski, Telegraph Hill councillors, the Friends of Hatcham Gardens, the Peabody team, local businesses and families.

Peabody and Lewisham Council worked closely with students from the local Kender School throughout the process. The students were asked to create artwork about what the park means to them and what they wanted to see in the new playground. They produced 30 pieces of art that included swings, slides and more trees and greenery.

The playground, between Pomeroy Street and Kender Street, has been redesigned and rebuilt by specialist landscape contractor Ginkgo Gardens following its partial closure, while housing association Peabody built 65 new homes at nearby Pomeroy Square. To create a park that everyone can use, enjoy and nurture, Peabody and the Council asked the local community what they wanted for the park and included many of their ideas in the final design.

The park now has more green space than before, with 30 new trees, shrubs and plants, grassy areas and a wildflower meadow for residents to enjoy. It also has brand new, high-quality play equipment installed by Kompan and spaces for children and young people to play and socialise.

A community fun day was held to mark the playground's opening, with a range of entertainment for all the family. There was a magician and a face painter, music by Sonshine Smiles - a steel pan band, a ‘Dr Bike’ repair stall for those wanting help fixing their bicycles, and free refreshments.

To ensure Hatcham Gardens thrives well into the future, Peabody has helped to set up a community group that will act as stewards for the park. With start-up funding from Peabody, they will be able to add to and nurture the plants and buy hand-held litter pickers to help keep the park litter free. The group used the fun day as an opportunity to introduce themselves to the community and boost their funds by selling their own branded T-shirts.

Peabody has also committed to making a financial contribution to the Friends of Kender Primary School Community Group, as the school turns 150 years old on Saturday 8 June. The group will use this funding to organise the anniversary celebrations, plant trees, and create mosaics.

Brenda Dacres, Mayor of Lewisham said:

“It was such a joyous and happy afternoon celebrating the re-opening of Hatcham Gardens. The community came together to enjoy the exciting new playground for local children and the beautiful new landscaping with lots of newly planted trees, shrubs and plants to increase biodiversity and shade. The wonderful Budgens team created some delicious food!

"A huge thank you to Mary, June and the Peabody residents, Shirley, Kevin and Kender Tenants Association who worked alongside Keith and students of Kender School with Telegraph Hill ward councillors to get Hatcham Gardens reinstated. Thank you also to the Peabody and Council teams who listened and worked so closely with the community - this fantastic result shows what can be achieved when stakeholders work together.”

Wells Chomutare, Managing Director South London at Peabody said:

“The transformation of this playground is brilliant news for the local community. It’s fantastic to see local residents come together to enjoy and look after nature in a shared space.

“By designing this playground with local children and residents, we’ve reopened a playground that the community will love, and that fosters joy, connection, and play for all ages. We look forward to seeing the continued community stewardship at Hatcham Gardens for generations to come.”

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