Newham residents take Olympic decorations into their own hands

Residents wanting to put their stamp on Newham during the Olympic Games have created a 1km-long bunting of flags.

The bunting, hanging from Forest Gate Police Station to the Atherton Leisure Centre on Romford Road, is the handiwork of over 2,500 residents who voluntarily drew 216 countries’ flags on the triangles.

Three months ago, people from the local area approached Cllr Kay Scoresby asking whether they could develop a project to enable members of the community to get involved with decorating their streets to welcome the world for the Olympic Games.

The idea grew and grew resulting in the 1000m length of bunting made using plastic material and waterproof pens in the hope it will survive all weathers.

Cllr Scoresby, community lead councillor for Manor Park and Forest Gate, said: “It’s been fantastic that so many people have just got involved. While we were making it, people were walking past saying ‘can I do my country?’ and we were saying ‘sure! Go ahead!’

“It’s not just about the production of it, it’s also about the discussions people had while they were making it.

“All of the councillors in Forest Gate have been involved at one point and I think it shows that we’re good at listening to people and their ideas and running with it.”

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Over the last three months, the bunting has travelled to 26 festivals, markets, schools, and voluntary groups to get generations to work together, inspire them to be a part of the Olympic celebrations, and build community cohesion.