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It took the two corporate volunteers some time to assemble the little wooden sandpit. In fact some hours. Finally the young women stood back, brushed themselves down and posed with huge proud smiles by the play equipment they had made, on their own. Then they dashed off to help their colleagues who were painting the community room.
We sat back and waited. Our fingers itched to be busy, our feet tapped. There were 3 of us, Eleanor, myself and Muge. Muge works with local housing associations and has helped us on numerous occassions in our quest to make Tower Hamlets housing estates wonderful places for children to play.
Where were the children, school must be over by now. We waited looking at the equipment that had been purchased, hula hoops, bubbles sand play toys. A big box to keep them all in with a padlock to which one of the mums, Hiba, now held the key.
We stacked empty plastic bottles to see how high a tower we could make. We played DIY skittles with the plastic bottles and a ball from the box of goodies. It was fun but we wanted to see the children and their reaction to the sandpit and the tree trunks, and the new blackboard and...where on earth were they?
Big brother Abdurrahman and some teenage friends popped in first, had we seen their ball? No we hadn't, sorry, they headed off. A light-weight white ball bounced from across the wall - it's here we called. Then it rolled under a parked van the boys crawled after it. Ball rescued and children begin to appear. Within 10 minutes the little green space is buzzing with activity. The children coo at the sandpit and empty the play sand in to it. They dig out the toys that Eleanor hides in the sand. They sit on the logs and explore the contents of the storage box. They even humour us by having a go at our home made skittles.
It feels a little like a birthday, except the presents are to everyone and will be there for days and weeks to come. And maybe the No Ball Games sign might come down sometime soon?
A story by about the residents garden in Adelina Grove. It is a 'Experiences' story.