By Cait Sweeney
Young people and staff at BLAP (Blackbird Leys Adventure Playground) were excited to have a visit from Tim Stevenson, the Lord-Lieutenant for Oxfordshire, recently.
The Lord-Lieutenant is an important non-political representative of the county, helping to encourage and promote the good of the community through the voluntary and civic life of the county. It is an honorary appointment. Describing his role he said “I do what I think Her Majesty, the Queen would do if she were here and could spend all her time working for the benefit of the community, she can’t, but I can.”
He found out about BLAP from Rae Humbertson Oxford City Councillor for Blackbird Leys. Hearing wonderful things about the safe and creative space provided to support young people on the Leys, and the grant they received from the Community Friendship Fund to enable the process of kids cooking for their families, he said “I wanted to see it for myself.”
“The community spirit in Blackbird Leys is amazing; that it produces organisations such as this shows that this is a community of people who care. It is a fantastic privilege that I get to see projects like this, and meet people who give their time building communities.”
An after school club for young people aged 8-13 years, BLAP also encourages older members to return in a mentoring capacity and the opportunity to join the Young Leaders project.
Sitting at a table and engrossed in their paintings are Neve and sisters Paige and Grace. Grace started coming to BLAP recently and said she likes coming for “The art and the quiet time.” Paige who has been coming for two years said “I like hanging out with my friends after school.” Neve, now in her fourth year of coming here, recently designed the very new quiet room, said “I like meeting new people.”
They all agreed that the Lord Lieutenant, who was dressed in full ceremonial uniform, looked “Very posh and ‘on fleek’!”
Apparently this is the new cool word for something that is on point, looks good and is perfectly executed. What a compliment!