Using the love of Edward Lear, poetry and creativity to bring life to Haringey’s only Adventure Playground.
Somerford Grove Adventure Playground is a very special place tucked away in North London. Situated in Northumberland Park, one of the UK’s most deprived wards, it is the only space that facilitates free, supervised outdoor adventure play for 5-15 yr olds. Tragically, since cuts to funding for pay services, Somerford Grove now sits empty 6 days a week.
We are a group of friends, living and working locally, who heard about Somerford Grove last September. In a strange moment of inspiration the story of the playground collided with our love of Edward Lear, a north London poet and artist, and his poem The Quangle Wangle’s Hat. And so the carnival was born! The poem tells the story, in nonsense rhyme, of The Quangle Wangle Quee, a lonely and unloved tree dweller, whose hat one day becomes home to two canaries. Other animals cotton on to how great his “charmingly airy” headgear is and flock to it, bringing colour, noise and life to Mr Quangle Wangle Quee. We think this is a pretty great metaphor for what we’re trying to do at Somerford Grove.
Since September we’ve been speaking to local community groups, schools and working closely with the incredible staff at the playground to create a fantastic programme of activities to bring life and funding to the playground. With your help, this summer (from May to July) we will open the playground to the public twice a week. Local school children will work with Vito and other artists to build huge portable heads based on the kids’ interpretations of the fantastical characters from Edward Lear’s poem. During the sessions, the playground will be open and free for all kids to use and at the end of the project the youngsters will parade their creations through their Northumberland Park neighbourhood in a lively event attended by local community groups and Lear lovers from across the capital. You’re invited too!
How your donation will help
We are lucky enough to have funding for this project thanks to The People’s Postcode Trust, Teach First, Arts Council England and the local ward councillors. This means we will be opening the playground twice per week for 10 weeks, working with 50 pupils to make 3 massive animal sculptures. We would like to make this carnival as special and as memorable as possible for everyone involved. That’s where you come in!
We would like to fund:
- The workshop and material costs to build 2 more giant sculptures to parade on the day.
- Extra workshops with local kids to create Lear-inspired Quangle Wangle costumes and instruments for the children to play on the parade.
- Hire of a float and soundsystem for the day.
- Additional activities for kids and families to enjoy at the Carnival, like face-painting, dancing and music.
Who Are We?
Polly Robbins lives locally. She works in London for Ugly Duck, organising creative community activities and finding space for artists and the public to access. She is particularly inspired by projects that use culture and creativity to improve resilience in communities.
Nic McEwan is a playground mentor and teacher. She works for London Play, helping to evaluate and improve play spaces across London. She also works for Teach First, supporting trainee teachers over their two years on the programme.
Vito Walker is a visual artist and designer. Vito is particularly interested in large sculpture installations and projects that focus on storytelling. His brightly coloured projects have been commissioned by a number of schools and festivals.
HarPA (Haringey Play Association) runs Somerford Grove and a number of other play projects in the Borough.