Community pocket park co-designed by children opens in Barking

Cllr Dominic Twomey, Cllr Alison Cormack and Cllr Faruk Choudhury join children to release doves to mark the park's opening

Deputy council leader Cllr Dominic Twomey, Cllr Alison Cormack and mayor Cllr Faruk Choudhury join children to release doves to mark the park's opening - Credit: Jimmy Lee

A pocket park which schoolchildren helped to design has opened in Barking.

Year ten pupils at Greatfields School took part in workshops with architects and Barking and Dagenham Council's housing arm Be First.

EverDove Park, which is in the Gascoigne neighbourhood, was then built by Willmott Dixon on behalf of Be First.

Residents took part in a series of volunteer days to paint, plant and help to transform the site, which used to be the castle play area, Be First said.

Richard Paul, headteacher at Greatfields School, said: “We are so proud that our students have been involved in the design of this new park for the community.

"It has been a pleasure working with Be First and Willmott Dixon on this project and we’re grateful to them for working so closely with the local community.”

The park was named following a vote amid links to the location of the park in Dovehouse Mead and a reference to dove houses kept nearby in Tudor times.

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Sadia Ur-Rehman, community engagement lead at Be First, added: “We’re so excited to be launching EverDove Park as it’s truly been the result of fantastic community input and inspiration from young people.

“The name of the park not only truly reflects the history of the area but the dove symbolises peace and the ‘ever’ refers to everyone, as the park is open to all. It reflects our commitment to inclusivity in making a better Gascoigne.”

A ceremony was held to open the park to the public on Saturday, May 28.

It included family activities, food and refreshments.

Steve Kitchen, director at Willmott Dixon, said: “It has been an exciting adventure working closely with the Greatfields School students and Be First to design and build this new outdoor space.

"The students have helped create an area with the aim of bringing a community of all ages together and this has been achieved in a truly collaborative and inclusive way.

"We’re delighted to be able to showcase the finished park to the local community and hope everyone enjoys it for many years to come."