I have always done a lot of pro-bono work when I worked professionally and a lot of volunteering in my local community. It therefore seemed natural when I started doing something creative, to offer my skills in that area.
In June 2013 I met with Vivien Dymock and Sharon Flynn at the Log Cabin, a children’s charity in West London. After they saw examples of my work and then getting agreement from the Trustees, we agreed I would take on a voluntary project: to design and create a range of mosaics that would go in their sensory garden.
My aim was to make 8 large cut out mosaics and I thought this would probably be a 9 month project. The Ealing Gazette did an article launching the project and I asked for supplies to be donated: wood, mosaic tiles, adhesives and grouts. Small businesses and friends started to donate supplies and money and by August I had enough materials to start the project and make the first piece – a butterfly.
Working with the children on a weekly basis, we ended up making 11 mosaics including another butterfly, a dragonfly, bird, lizard sunshine face, glitter stepping stones as well as 2 seven foot high trees.!
This became a strong community project with different people involved including the children and young people, staff, local business and volunteers. With regular coverage from Ealing Gazette and Ealing Today, word of mouth and ‘friendly persuasion’ 95% of mosaic materials were donated by small business as well as monetary and time donations from friends.
I made another large mosaic called ‘Hollyhocks’ which was raffled at £1 per ticket and raised £1,250 which will be spent on art materials for the children.
In addition, a group of gardening friends – Nita, Gill and Krys – volunteered to design and create sensory garden beds. Soil and plants were purchased with a very generous discount. After a year of planning, digging and planting during rain, snow and drought, there are now 3 beautiful and vibrant sensory beds which enhance the playground area and the mosaics.
On August 6th we put up a plaque to mark the completion of the project: 2 years on – 11 mosaics, 3 sensory garden beds, £1250 from raffled mosaic, lots of hard work and help, plus loads of fun- later!
Thank you Log Cabin for letting me be involved in such a great project.