For the last few days I’ve been hanging out with Fran. We’ve been friends for many years. For the last year she’s been living in Sri Lanka, but she’s back in the UK now and is providing me with regular support. Before she went away she’d been managing the inclusion project at Oasis Play, the children’s organisation I used to work at too.
Today we went for a visit together. It was the last day of a busy half term and it was great to see all the staff and children. We tested out some of the new accessible equipment Fran had ordered just before she left which included a wheelchair-accessible trampoline and a variety of accessible bikes.
The last big project I worked on before leaving Oasis was Making Routes, an exciting partnership between South London Gallery, Battersea Arts Centre and Oasis. Leftwing Idiot, who also worked at Oasis, noticed that a single bus route – the 345 – linked these three south London organisations. He thought it would be a great idea if we all worked together to provide new creative opportunities for disabled and non-disabled children, young people and artists. I worked on a funding application to The Spirit of 2012 Trust, the application was successful, and the project’s now in full swing.
Today alone three different Making Routes activities were happening. Two trips were going out to events at Battersea Arts Centre and South London Gallery and Fran and I headed to Oasis’s youth-led go-kart track who were hosting Battersea Arts Centre’s Beat Box Academy – it was amazing to see Making Routes in action and to see young people with different skills sharing these with each other.
Fran and I had a lovely visit. It was so good to see all the projects and people thriving, and to see the seeds of work we’d sown, flourishing.
We left Oasis just as the clouds burst and rain thundered down. At that moment Fran and I were glad we were just visiting, and that we could head for the warm dry castle rather than pull on waterproofs and back out to play.