The Water play area was identified as a priority by local people after the closure of the old pools a decade ago. Funds were raised, designs agreed and finally in August 2006 the new area opened, incorporating a pool, a fountain, sandpit and refreshment kiosk. 2007 sees a series of childrenâ€™s entertainments, including donkey rides, Punch & Judy, visits from Hounslow Urban Farm to celebrate the re-opening of such an important local amenity. The bandstand was made safe, repainted and re-opened in time for the Boat Race in April 2007.
The Community Gardens were started in 2006 by volunteers taking a garden design class run by Hounslow adult education services. They provide a tranquil garden and pond with seating for local residents from the nearby flats who donâ€™t have gardens. In addition there are five mini- allotment plots to enable flat dwellers to grow their own food. In March 2005 three hundred fruit trees to form an orchard, sponsored by Kraft foods, were planted up on the Plateau. As they reach maturity they will provide an area of beauty, shelter and tranquillity. In 2004 the new riverside footpath on Dukes Meadows was built, running from Barnes Bridge to Chiswick Bridge. This was a joint initiative between CiP, The Friends of Dukes Meadows (precursor to the Trust) and Hounslow Council.
There are ten artists studios (and one flat) which together form an intimate artistsâ€™ community space. Occasional â€˜at homesâ€™ are held. As well as adding an important dimension to the work of Dukes Meadows, the revenue from the studios helps support the community project. Currently the Trust is negotiating to create more Studios in the old Tractor Shed.
The next big project for the Dukes Meadows Trust is the restoration of the rundown play area and the old paddling pool basins. The aim is to create a new play area and a wild-flower area. Consultations with local schoolchildren about the type of play equipment they would like are underway, and grant-awarding bodies are being approached. This is a big project for Dukes Meadows Trust in all senses â€“ it will be relatively expensive and could have an important impact in providing a real focus for children and young people in the area.
The first and third Sunday of the month are volunteer project days when some area of Dukes Meadows needing work will be targeted. Contact us to volunteer or to find out more.