Community garden project aims to break down barriers between youngsters and police

A community project which aims to make a green garden space for youngsters in Whitton, Richmond, saw the input of youth and police.

Police officers, members of the local community, young people, staff from Harlequins and Whitton Youth Zone and the Mayor of Richmond all took part in pulling out old weeds and rubbish to replace the area with flowers, fruit, veg and in the mayor’s case, an apple tree.

The event, held on July 27th, which was initiated by Mandy Smith, manager of the Whitton Youth Zone and Jon McLoughlin, a local Safer Neighbourhood Sergeant.

Richmond’s Mayor Councillor Ben Khos said: “It engages all their senses, encourages healthy eating, teaches responsibility, highlights the importance of taking care of the environment, teaches patience and develops life skills”.

The project helped “break down barriers between police , young people and their local community” and in light of the surge of violence seen in the capital this year was “investing” into safe spaces for young people , where anti-social behaviour and knife crime can be prevented.

Pictured above are some of those helping to create the garden space.

It was about providing young people with a “network of people and activities” to give them something different to focus on.

Ms Smith said : “Not everyone is lucky enough to have a garden at home or in fact an allotment. Here they have both and learn new skills.”

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