Two updates about our partnership project with the local charity CARAS and the refugees and asylum-seekers they support.

1 ‘Stay With Love’ Exhibition during October ’17 at The Sound Lounge in Tooting.  
The Sound Lounge, 210-212 Upper Tooting Road, TootingSW17 7EW

We’re all thrilled that The Sound Lounge is hosting ‘Stay With Love’ – an exhibition of diverse work of all kinds that’s been produced together over the past year at CARAS and in our ‘Gardens of Refuge’ project workshops. So much creativity and enjoyment supported by a multi-skilled and diverse group of volunteers!

The exhibition is opening on Tuesday 3rd October and will run throughout the month. Visit whenever the Sound Lounge is open.

All welcome to the opening at The Sound Lounge, Tuesday 3rd Oct. We’ll be offering:

  • 4:00-5:30 pm A free after-school drop-in crafts workshop for all the family and all ages, with all materials supplied. And maybe we can add to the exhibition with what we make…
  • 7:00-8:00 pm: View the exhibits, join tours by their creators
  • 8:00 pm: Performances and celebration
  • 10:00 pm: Close

We look forward to chatting about any of the work and the project, and thanks again to The Sound Lounge!

2 Sharing our summer with families in the ‘Gardens of Refuge’ project.

To whet your appetite, here’s an account of two summertime days in the ‘Gardens of Refuge’ Project. Resina is one of the volunteers with the project and she’s written this account. Thank you, Resina!

“We’ve had a great summer. On 15 and 22 August two family activity days were held in the Tooting Community Garden. This gave families the opportunity to be introduced to the garden, which we’d been talking about in other activity sessions since Spring.

On 15th August the families examined different vegetables and grains that had been grown in the garden and guessed what they were. One challenge was identifying what turned out to be our weird-looking patty pan squash!
We used maps of the garden to actively explore it – and created a game of colouring in all the parts they visited – a fun way to become familiar with the different spaces of the garden. It was even better once we explained the game more clearly – one boy promptly collected in all the coloured felt pens we’d carefully placed at each point! 

We arranged the previously-painted materials for the big garden mural.

Some of the women enjoyed identifying the vegetables they recognised:  it was great to have our teff from the Horn of Africa appreciated by experts!
One woman acknowleged that her own children didn’t play outside the way that she used to in her own country, a phenomenon that is occurring everywhere as children are becoming more sedentary in their lifestyle. 
However in the community garden everyone had the opportunity to explore the ‘hidden’ areas, pick blackberries, plums, kale and coriander and run around in the sun. 
Turnip-top seeds were planted to crop later in the year. Marshmallows were toasted and tea was brewed. It was a fun and relaxing day! 
On 22nd August, families were able to spend another day in the community garden. 

In groups we created a ‘palette of colours’ by picking petals or leaves from the garden and sticking them down, maybe in a rainbow sequence. This children particularly enjoyed this, and created some beautiful palettes. This activity was all about noticing the small things. 

The sea urchin fossil

We handled a flint tool from 6000 years ago, and a fossil sea-urchin from 66 million years ago – both found in the Garden. We imagined Tooting when nomadic groups hunted here, and millions of years before when it was under the sea…with many of the children chipping in ideas and what they had learned at school.

Creating mural panels in Spring ’17

We held a Grand Opening of the ceiling mural made for the water catchment roof (more photos to come…)

Family groups had created all the different components since Easter in other activity days.


Everyone was encouraged to lie in a hammock directly under the mural so they could enjoy looking at the patterns in the mural above them.
This was a very enjoyable experience for all, and everyone wanted a turn.

We cooked on charcoal – BBQ chicken and sweetcorn & made herb butter ‘straight from the garden’.
Some engaged in all the activities with enthusiasm, others were content to sit, enjoy the peacefulness of the garden and chat to their friends in a beautiful setting.

Another wonderful day of togetherness, some surprises, peace and feeling safe and welcome.”
– Resina