Hatcham Gardens was an unloved grassy field with some metal play frames and poorly lit routes. Working with Kender Primary School we learned that it was mostly used as a dog toilet, and many children in the school had never played with sand. We set out working with Battersea Dogs and Cats home to initiate dog training sessions, free microchipping and designed a fenced-in dog area as a positive space within the larger project. To address issues around vandalism we mounted plaques on the new park benches engraved with poems about love and kindness written by the children in a workshop with local poets. We also worked closely with Lewisham Council to draw up a management plan for the park that allowed for regular cleaning, allowing us to design and implement a huge sandpit, the first one in the borough. The remains of the park were given over to Breedon Gravel. A malleable and self-draining surface was planted with a grid of forty-seven Albizia trees, this species displaying delicate flowers in summer when the park is used most. Play equipment includes tall climbing poles and chess tables for the Kender Primary Chess Club.
Natural play area
Ashley McCormick, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Barcham Trees