Friday night saw the unveiling of a new landmark sculpture, representing the Thamesmead community's love for the environment.
The sculpture and lighting improvements have been implemented at Cory Bridge, formerly known as the A-bridge which has been renamed to mark the 10th annivesary of funders, Cory Environmental Trust in Britain. This is in addition to the repainting of the bridge and the handrails, making it brighter, nicer and safer for pedestrians and cyclists to travel to and from central and south Thamesmead.
The bridge makeover complements funding from the Mayor of London's Pocket Parks initiative, a scheme that enhances small public spaces in local communitiies. The Link Pocket Park as it is called in Thamesmead because the southern end connects to Belvedere Road where The Link Thamesmead is based, offers a community garden, outdoor gym and an area which has been transformed from an overgrown vegetation patch which has been cleared to make way for fresh planting, The enhancements will enable us (Trust Thamesmead) to host more cultural events outside The Link Thamesmead too.
The improvements have been funded by the Cory Environmental Trust in Britain (CETB), Trust Thamesmead, the GLA, Peabody and the London Borough of Bexley and are part of complementray projects managed by local partners. Local organisations and community groups including the Thamesmead Youth Voice, North West Kent Countryside Partnership and the Archway Project have also played an important role in designing the creative elements of the scheme and providing volunteer support.
Stephen Howlett, Chief Executive at Peabody, said: “Thamesmead is undergoing exciting major changes with the support of a range of partners. Both the light sculpture and the Pocket Parks initiative are part of a package of measures to help make the area safer and more aesthetically pleasing. Our community growing projects and outdoor gym are very popular with residents who use both the bridge and The Link Thamesmead. This is only the beginning and we look forward to continuing our work with the London Borough of Bexley and others to make significant improvements in Thamesmead.”
Cllr Linda Bailey, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Growth said: “These projects have made a real difference to this area. It’s given the local community some great new spaces and facilities, and made this route feel safer, brighter and cleaner for pedestrians and cyclists. I would like to thank all the project funders and partners for their enthusiasm and support. Projects like this are very important, bringing together different parts of the community to work together and create something special.”
Peter Gerstrom, Chief Executive Officer at Cory Environmental and a trustee of the Cory Environmental Trust in Britain, said: “When we invited applications to the Trust to help us celebrate our 10th birthday, we were looking for a project that would make a tangible difference to the lives of as broad a section of the community as possible on a daily basis. This project, to rejuvenate a bridge that creates a vital link across Thamesmead, making it an iconic structure that would bring immediate benefit to a wide range of users to use, stood out as the winning bid. I am delighted to be here today and see what an impact the improvements have already had.”
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who is funding 100 Pocket Parks across London, said: “London is already an incredible place to live, but by making the most of our small forgotten outdoor spaces and providing trees, greenery and meeting places the fantastic quality of life here can still be improved upon. Through these mini transformations we can make our communities even better place to live in, to work in and to invest in.”
Fifty-five year old Janine Alaike (pictured) who has lived in Thamesmead for 15 years said: "I would never even consider using the bridge before tonight. Now the lighting has been improved, it will make areas of Thamesmead, including Abbey Wood train station much more easily accessible."
Complementary enhancements are also planned at the Ridgeway nearby, further improving the route between Bexley and Greenwich for pedestrians and cyclists.