Cool April weather didn’t deter more than 200 young people from the Lisson Green estate in Westminster who descended upon their estate’s annual spring festival last Friday (25 April) in an event aimed at enticing them to get involved in their local community.
The event was organised by the Lisson Green tenants and residents association, TARA, who hold a funfair on the estate in Marylebone each year. Inspired by last year’s large turnout of young people, they decided to focus on doing more to attract 12 – 16 year olds to the event and engage with them.
Jeanette Buckley, TARA member, was at the event and speaking to a number of young people. She said: “We want to bring people together, young and old but we don’t know what teenagers want. You have to engage them or you’ll be a million miles away from knowing what they want.
“Ideally, we’d like to have a young person on the residents’ association, similar to the youth parliament, so that they can speak on behalf of the young people in the area and bring fresh ideas to our group.”
While the planned boxing competition had to be cancelled due to the weather, the five-a-side football competition attracted a large and eager crowd cheering on brothers, sisters and friends. Meanwhile, children enjoying the last days of their school holidays took part in an Easter egg hunt and bonnet-making competition, had endless slides on the bouncy castle, and helped themselves to free fresh fruit and vegetables. Safari Pete and his menagerie of exotic critters, including a crocodile, monitor lizard and a tarantula called ‘Lady Gaga’, was a hit with all ages.
The spring festival was topped off with a live band, dancing by the estate’s famous line dancers, the Sweet Sixteen’s and stalls providing raffles and advice on healthy eating.
The event was supported by a large range of agencies who work in the Marylebone area, including housing managers CityWest Homes, London Business School, charity Vital Regeneration, Fourth Feathers youth club, London Tigers and Westminster City Council.
Darren Levy, director of customer services for CityWest Homes, said: “By trying to bring young people on board, Lisson Green’s residents see the importance of giving people of all ages a say in their community and create real unity. We fully support their mission to do this.”
Local resident Michael (4 years) with Safari Pete's barn owl