Hackney’s Parks for Life programme bows out on a high

The Springfield Festival on Sunday proved a fitting finale to Hackney’s Parks for Life programme, with more than 5,000 people turning up to enjoy the day.

The festival in Springfield Park, Clapton, which was organised by Hackney Council, Hackney Homes and NHS City and Hackney, offered people a six hour extravaganza of music, sport, food and fun.

Highlights of Sunday’s festival included the “Hackney’s Got Talent” competition on the main stage, where young people from Fawcett Estate in Clapton got their chance to play Simon Cowell for the afternoon; Eastside Youth Centre’s mesmerising street dance performance and Karma Free’s inimitable beatboxing display.

With the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games on the horizon, people of all ages were given the chance to take part in their own mini Olympics; The Hackney Homes Games.

As part of the games, festival goers got their chance to play football, handball, as well as taking part in track and field events and the ever popular fancy dress race. Hackney Homes’ staff members were also on hand to offer practical advice to people about the various services they offer.

Kim Wright, Corporate Director of Community Services, said: “I’m delighted we have brought the curtain down on this year’s Parks for Life programme in such style. When you consider the quality of the borough’s award winning parks and green spaces, it’s no surprise that this year’s events have been so popular and well-attended.

“I’d like to thank council officers, staff in Hackney Homes and NHS City and Hackney who have worked so hard to make Parks for Life such a resounding success for the local community and visitors to Hackney.”

For the younger members of the audience, the Springfield Festival provided hours of endless fun. This included the mega climbing wall, a natural play area, face painting, circus performers and giant snakes and ladders.

People hoping to brush up on their culinary skills were not to leave disappointed either. Local chefs were on hand to give healthy food demonstrations, which were compared by Andi Oliver of the BBC’S Neneh and Andi Dish it Up programme and Kerryann Dunlop, who is best known for her starring role at Jamie Oliver’s fifteen restaurant in Shoreditch.

NHS City and Hackney staff were also in Springfield Park encouraging people to take advantage of free health checks, dental screenings and handing out information and advice on local health services.