Children across the country started a new school year just a few weeks ago, but they’re not the only ones going back to school. Here at Lend Lease we believe it’s hugely important to educate children and young people about our projects. Sophie Bevington, Community Development Manager at Lend Lease, explains why it’s so important and how we’re going about it in Elephant & Castle.
“It’s absolutely essential that we involve children and young people in what we do, for a number of reasons. First of all, with a regeneration project such as that at Elephant Park, it’s important that children – as well as adults – understand what is happening and why. Our vision is to ensure that children growing up alongside our developments in the Elephant & Castle will have a wide range of opportunities and experiences afforded to them that would otherwise have not been there, and that this will have a lasting and positive impact on their future. Through our work with local educational organisations such as schools, colleges and universities, we can equip children with the tools they need to tell us what’s important to them – such as what they would like to see in the new park we’re creating for them.
“In addition to involving young people in what’s happening in their neighbourhood, we also have a fantastic opportunity to pass on our knowledge about our industry to young people with the aim of inspiring a generation to pursue careers within the built environment. We organise work placements and careers awareness days to drive interest amongst local young people, but our programme goes over and above this too. By linking up with leading industry partners such as the Architecture Foundation and the London Wildlife Trust, we’re able to offer a bespoke programme of educational activities to provide unique opportunities for young people in the area.”
The story so far
“We’re committed to engaging with as wide a range of children and young people as possible and our programme covers a wide range of topics within our vision. For example, in the past year alone, educational projects we’ve undertaken have spanned the creative and arts; local history and heritage; and sustainability and biodiversity – as well as architecture and the built environment.
Creative and the arts
"Our demolition arts project saw Elephant & Castle based artist Reuben Powell introduce local primary school children to the demolition process through a series of workshops. The children attended the demolition site to sketch what they saw, and then turned their sketches into larger scale artworks at the Hotel Elephant arts centre. This project not only gave children an insight into the regeneration project in their area, but also gave them an opportunity to express themselves through art, and learn about creating art from an Elephant & Castle born and bred artist.
Local history and heritage
"Our partnership with the Architecture Foundation was aimed at older school children, aged 15-18 years old. We worked with a group of children with an interest in the built environment to explore the local area, as well as the wider areas of London and Europe, as part of ‘Mapping the Elephant’ – our community programme to name the streets and parks we’re building. This project not only gave those involved a unique insight into the legacy of the area and why this is important to the regeneration, but also nurtured their growing interest in the built environment sector with a view to helping them continue their studies in this area and ultimately enabling them to pursue careers within the industry.
Sustainability and biodiversity
"Another great success last year was the programme of activities organised with our partner the London Wildlife Trust – the Green Schools Project. We set up a series of activities and workshops with school children, ranging from after school wildlife clubs to visits to other wildlife sites in and around London. As well as working directly with the children themselves, through this project we were also able to engage with the teaching staff to enable them to better utilise their school’s spaces and nearby green spaces as sites for outdoor learning. This process of school ground enhancement also helped identify areas for tree planting as part of the overall regeneration.
Architecture and the built environment
"As well as the Mapping the Elephant project, fostering an interest in architecture and the built environment is a key aim of all of our educational projects, for all ages. We work closely with higher education facilities in the area to run work placements and careers days, but we also introduce children to the topic at an early age. Last year, we introduced primary school children to the concept of architectural scale models, and the children had a go at building their own models. This creative project developed their understanding of how a building is actually designed and constructed, as well as kick-starting an interest in the sector itself.
Sophie continues: “We’ve got lots of exciting things planned for the coming year to continue our programme in the area. We look forward to sharing information on these with you soon and continuing on our journey with schools across the Elephant. If you have any education projects that you would like to work with us on please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.”