Speakers’ Corner Trust Speakers’ Corner Trust is a charity which promotes free expression, public debate and active citizenship. It believes that association between citizens and the free, face-to-face exchange of ideas, information and opinions – with each other as well as with decision-takers– is a key to building trust and participation in society.
The new Speaker’s Corner Project in Stoneydown Park was inspired by a group of teachers and parents from our Stoneydown, St Patricks and Willowfield along with the Friends of Stoneydown Park and local residents who all wanted to see a Speakers’ Corner established in their park to provide a platform for their community.
Consultation Two meetings took place at Stoneydown Primary School in the Spring of 2009 at which local people gave the project their backing and in June, designers from Central St Martins College, launched an extensive consultation, involving young people in particular, on the design of a Speakers’ Corner for Stoneydown Park.
Speakers’ Corner Prototype at Stoneydown School Speakers’ Corner came to Stoneydown for the school’s Summer Fete on 11 July 2009. Despite the poor weather parents and children alike took to the stage and thoroughly enjoyed both decorating and performing on it.
Committee Organises Design Competition - Council Funds Park Improvements • The Committee consulted local people before deciding which design will adorn the park in time for the project’s launch, probably in the summer. An open day took place on 2 March during which local residents, users of the park, pupils of the local schools and their parents and others had a chance to have their say about how the four competing teams of Central St Martin students should develop their designs. • Armed with a wealth of local knowledge and ideas, four teams of students spent March and April creating detailed designs for public display and then final selection in May.
Stoneydown Speakers’ Corner Designs On Display Students competing for the design of the Stoneydown Speakers’ Corner had to think about: • the purpose of the Speakers’ Corner • the views and interests of the local community and, not least • the affordability of actually creating the structure. They came up with four equally high quality but very different approaches. • The designs went on public display at Stoneydown School on Tuesday 25 May and visitors were given an opportunity to express their views and preferences
Stoneydown Design – and Chair – Selected • On 27 July, the Stoneydown Speakers’ Corner Committee duly chose a design following four excellent presentations by the student teams – and also elected James O’Rourke as its chair. • The winning design was (2)Stepping Stones designed by Hayley Clack, Stephanie Romig and Yoo Kyeong: it creates not only a Speakers’ Corner but also seating and tables, some of which feature board games such as chess. The design also acknowledges the work of William Morris who lived much of his life nearby on Forest Road.
What we said! Claire Tansley (Dennis’ mum) of the Friends of Stoneydown Park who is also a member of the Speakers’ Corner Committee, said: “We’re delighted with our choice but it was really difficult to make. All the designs were of such high standard and they all had so much to offer both the park and the community. In the end we decided on one which can be used as seating and even a picnic and games area when it’s not a Speakers’ Corner. So it really does have something for everyone. We’re really looking forward to launching our Speakers’ Corner when it’s installed later this year. It’ll be a new focal point for the park but it will also provide an important platform for our community and I hope it’s going to be in regular use.” Jayne Cominetti, headteacher of Stoneydown Primary School and another Committee member, added: “The design competition has been a great experience for the children. They not only had their say when the students started work but also about the finished products. Now we’re looking forward not just to seeing it in the park but using it as well. In fact we’ve just had training in public speaking from the English Speaking Union so we’re hopeful that the next generation of great orators will be Walthamstow children!”
A Stoneydown Speaker’s Corner for July! Stoneydown Speaker’s Corner will be built in July. Year 5 have already practised being public speakers. What matters to you in your community? What might you want to say?