Barking residents tackle football related antisocial behaviour with gardening project

Residents have launched a community fight-back by filling an empty space that had become a hotspot for antisocial behaviour with plants and flowers.

The budding gardeners are helping to rejuvenate part of the Gascoigne Estate in Barking that was previously occupied by disused pram sheds.

Challenged youths are expected to team up with the residents and users of a nearby children’s centre to install planters and new fences to “break up” the space. There had been complaints about youngsters playing football in the area.

A Barking and Dagenham Council spokesman said: “As the Gascoigne Estate already has a number of play areas including those to play football, residents wanted something to be done about this big space and so the council’s antisocial behaviour team worked with them to come up with this solution.

“The aim is that by getting the young people involved in the planting they will feel a sense of ownership for the plants in the area.”

The scheme was launched as latest Met police figures showed that nearly four notifiable offences were reported in the Gascoigne ward every day in June - 116 in total.

The Met statistics showed the crime rate in the ward, comprising Gascoigne Estate, was 12.38 per 1,000 people in June, compared to 8.73 in Barking and Dagenham overall.

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Council chiefs unveiled the gardening project in St Margarets on the housing estate on Monday.

The scheme has a �300 budget and the Homebase chain is funding half of it.

A council spokesman added: “The young people and residents of all ages, from all backgrounds, and with varying abilities will be invited to participate. Gascoigne Children’s Centre has also been invited along as part of their gardening project.”