School children's art work adorns building site hoardings

A child in school uniform standing in front of her artwork on a wall

Competition winner Rithvi Reddy Vaddepally standing beside her winning piece. - Credit: Be First

Art by children is being displayed on hoardings surrounding building sites in Barking.

The artwork, celebrating the past, present and future of the Gascoigne neighbourhood, was created as part of a competition run during the first lockdown last year.

Gascoigne Primary School students were asked to create a piece of art or write some words about their neighbourhood.

Six-year old Rithvi Reddy Vaddepally was chosen as the winner of the competition run by regeneration company Be First, which is delivering the redevelopment of the Gascoigne Estate on behalf of Barking and Dagenham Council.

Rithvi’s parents, Harika Vaddepally and Ramchander Reddy Vaddepally, said: “Rithvi was exited to participate in the competition and she was really surprised to win.

“Thank you for giving her the opportunity to be part of this competition and for encouraging the kids.”

Deputy leader of the council Cllr Saima Ashraf and other councillors visited the site and met Rithvi and staff from Gascoigne Primary School.

Cllr Ashraf, who is cabinet member for community engagement, said: “It’s fantastic to see this artwork – it’s a testament to the love, passion and engagement local youngsters have for their neighbourhood.” 

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The competition, Gascoigne Your Place, was split into three categories.

Early years entrants were asked to draw or paint a picture of a place that they liked in their neighbourhood on their way to school.

Children in Key Stage 1 had to draw a map of their journey to school highlighting interesting new buildings, places, streets, trees and playgrounds.

Key Stage 2 entrants were asked to make a drawing and write a few sentences describing how their neighbourhood is changing due to the current construction and how they would like it to improve.

Be First construction manager Ben Addison said: "The community is at the heart of what we do at Be First, so it’s great to give local young people a chance to contribute as we work to make the new Gascoigne neighbourhood one of the most liveable places in London."

The Gascoigne redevelopment will see more than 2,200 "affordable" homes, tree-lined streets and parks created.

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