Councillors Hossain and Wahid joined staff and children for fun at Mudchute Farm
Early figures indicate that more than 22,000 residents and visitors flocked to parks, youth, and children’s centres to enjoy numerous activities and festivals hosted by the council and partner organisations during this year's summer of fun programme.
The programme featured more than 600 free events to give recipients a chance to relax, take part in sport or a physical activity or enjoy a new cultural experience. Many of the activities offered a free meal, supporting families experiencing hardship - especially during the long school break and when the cost-of-living crisis is impacting families.
Early data shows that parks and open spaces teams welcomed more than 12,500 participants to 156 summer events including gardening activities, arts and crafts, cooking and more.
Separately, Victoria Park welcomed nearly 2,000 young visitors up to the age of 11 years, to 23 events including fishing taster sessions, live theatre and cordwainers (making ink from trees) sessions.
Meanwhile, Tower Hamlets Children and Family Centres (CFC), in partnership with parks and open spaces teams hosted four locality events for children, families, and young people with a range of activities including face painting, a sensory play bus and farm activities, attracting over 1,800 visitors.
The council’s sports development and Urban Adventure Base teams partnered with external organisations to deliver activities for young people at 17 different locations in the borough, including leisure centres and schools. All the activities offered a free, healthy meal to participants and gave visitors opportunities to exercise, socialise, eat well, learn new skills, or join clubs safely and within easy reach of their homes.
Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said:
“Following two years of lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been a very exciting and busy summer 2022. Attendance figures have surpassed our estimations and we have had such a positive response from participants of all ages.
“I am so proud of all our staff and partner organisations who hosted hundreds of free events across our parks, children’s, and leisure services to support families during the school summer break. These activities have encouraged residents to explore their local environment and try something new.”
Cllr Iqbal Hossain, Cabinet member for Culture and Recreation, said: “Hearing from the young people, parents and others who took part in summer activities, there’s no doubt that this year’s summer of fun programme has helped increase social interaction and enrich people’s quality of life, physical and mental health.”
A parent whose children took part in fishing sessions said: “I am so happy for the variety of events you have. Fishing sessions were fantastic, my kids absolutely loved this! I have three children and they were all successful in catching at least one fish each, they were ecstatic!”
A visitor to Weavers Adventure Playground in Bethnal Green commented: “It’s a great space for kids to play and learn, with free food provided and friendly staff.”
Another added: “It’s great to have kids communicating away from social media.”
A parent who visited Mile End Park said: “My two-year-old and I stumbled upon the gardening activity today. It was such a wonderful experience for him to plant and pick, and an excellent opportunity for the community.”
A parent whose three children attended Komabt Academy which ran martial arts and fitness sessions daily throughout summer, said: “The encouragement and engagement from each coach every lesson has really helped [my children] with their self-esteem. We really look forward to more experiences like this and are very thankful that we were able to be a part of it.”
In August, Victoria Park hosted All Points East In The Neighbourhood, a free, four-day programme of the biggest and best summer activities and entertainment for all ages run in collaboration with the council, the local community, and local organisations. The first day of the festival, community day, attracted more than 7,000 visitors.
As well as hosting free events, the council has invested £10 million as part of its parks capital programme which includes improving play facilities to encourage families to visit and enjoy the borough’s outdoor spaces.
Posted on Wednesday 21st September 2022