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Cedars Open Park Refurbishment – A Collaborative Community Effort

The Cedars Open Park has been given a new lease of life thanks to the effort of local volunteers and Harrow employees.

Harrow Online were invited to the opening of the new spaces on Thursday, delivered by His Worshipful Mayor of Harrow, Cllr Ramji Chauhan.

Also in attendance were Portfolio Holder for Adults Services and Public Health, Cllr Pritesh Patel as well as Cllr Stephen Greek, Portfolio Holder for Performance, Communications & Customer Experience.

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Cedars Open Park Refurbishment – A Collaborative Community Effort Harrow Online
Councillors and the Mayor of Harrow at the opening.

The Horizon Youth & Community Action charity organisation teamed up with The London Borough of Harrow and Harrow Parks open places department to secure funding to revamp some of the park equipment and improve the skills of young people.

Horizon YCA formed in 2021, placed and won the bid for the BBC Children in Need’s fund with the aim of empowering children and Young people from a black and ethnic minority background to deliver a social action project within the community.

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The play and recreational equipment at Cedars were worn down and vandalised, and so the team decided this would be the place to focus their efforts.

The young avengers assembled into their strategy meeting where they drew up initial brainstorming sessions into defined project goals and how they would deliver them.

There were a series of meetings on and off site which included some field research, Youth Leader Joel said “We spoke consulted with the wider community, and took a visit to Headstone Manor park where we could learn best practice”.

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The team also spoke with former Mayor of Harrow and local resident, Paddy Lyne who provided invaluable advice. The Youth leaders met with the three ward councillors along the project to gain further support.

Cedars Open Park Refurbishment – A Collaborative Community Effort Harrow Online
The Mayor of Harrow opening the newly painted swings

The Harrow Parks team were also key players on the project and worked alongside Horizon and what a change they have made;

  • New Signage to replace graffitied Exit and Entry signs
  • Replace broken benches and add additional table benches
  • Replace old bins with modern bins
  • Replace old rusty Basketball rings, back board, and introduce new court markings
  • Repaint children swings
  • Cut down overgrown grass in the park
  • Remove broken branches

The project will benefit hundreds of park users in the borough, including giving young people a place to spend their leisure time and at the same time improve physical and mental wellbeing.

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Brian who has worked for Harrow Parks for 43 years said “It’s nice to see the parks being used again”

Cedars Open Park Refurbishment – A Collaborative Community Effort Harrow Online
Brian has worked for Harrow Parks for decades.

Horizon was founded and is lead by CEO/Projects Co Ordinator Samuel Botchey. Samuel has worked in the borough and within young people’s services for over 20 years now.

He said, “The young people decided, planned and delivered the project. They have enhanced their self-esteem, improved their confidence and improved their mental health whilst undertaking this project”.

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Cedars Open Park Refurbishment – A Collaborative Community Effort Harrow Online
Samuel Botchey, CEO/Projects Coordinator at Horizon Youth and Community Action

Amariss, 15, is one of the youth leaders and has been with Horizon for two years. She said the project has been great for her to improve her presentation skills and meet new people.

Horizon also engages in outreach efforts, distributing leaflets throughout the local community to raise awareness about health checks. Additionally, every fortnight from 1pm to 4pm, they open their doors to all as a ‘warm hub’, welcoming everyone to join and become part of the community.

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