Vandalised nursery given facelift by youngsters

Church Street garden is refurbished after yobs made it unsafe for children to play in

A CHURCH Street nursery damaged by yobs was given a much-needed facelift last week when a team of unemployed youngsters gave their time to renovate the garden area.

The charity-run Luton Street nursery, which caters for children aged six months to five years, was vandalised in a series of vicious attacks last year that saw gates broken, graffiti sprayed on the walls and toys burnt.

But volunteers from the City of Westminster College Prince’s Trust spent five days clearing the garden area to make it safe to play in, as well as renovating the damaged play house and roofing, and constructing a ‘sound board’ and ‘sensory board’ for the children.

Nursery worker Elizabeth Reid said: “The fact that we are a charity and do a lot to give to the community means it’s been really nice to have that charity given back to us for a change.

“The guys have come in, not moaned and not stressed and come up with these great ideas.

“They asked what our children liked so they could cater it specifically to them which is great.

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“The children will love what they have done and it makes the garden look so much better.

“They have worked so hard and it has been lovely to have them here. It will be sad to see them go.”

The 10 Prince’s Trust volunteers chose to refurbish the nursery as their community element of a 12-week self development programme.

The project, which is supported by Paddington Development Trust, is open to all people aged 16-25 who are unemployed and not in education.

Team leader Henderson Murray said the aim of the programme is to focus on teamwork, problem solving and individual responsibility, with those involved taking complete ownership of their community project.

“This is about the students changing stereotypes and showing that not all young people are bad and they want to give something back to the community,” he said.

“They decided the nursery was a way to genuinely give something back because the area had been vandalised.

“The kids weren’t able to use some of the areas because there were so many brambles and rubbish and glass.

“All the guys took on individual roles – some were project managers, some were doing the PR side, some were there to help and support the team – but everyone was important in their own right.”

Volunteer Lucy Purkess, 17, said: “It feels really good that we have given something back to the community and helped the nursery.

“We just wanted to make it a safe environment for the kids. It was hard work but it was worth it.”

Fellow volunteer Chaste Auguste, 18, said the best part was seeing the nursery’s children enjoying the end result of her work.

“You can see the kids playing with things you’ve made and it’s a good feeling to see them getting excited,” she said.

“It makes me want to do more things like this now.”