Urban Gamez – why it’s about more to residents than just running

Our annual community sports event in Grahame Park, Colindale always goes down a treat with the children and their families.

Urban Gamez 2019 283

I think it’s a perfect picture.

Our annual community sports event in Grahame Park, Colindale always goes down a treat with the children and their families.

On the last day of the school summer holidays, hundreds of residents come out to the centre of the estate, known as the Concourse.

We put a running track over the concrete path, where, 102 children and young people took part in our annual Urban Gamez 60m sprint.

The activities on offer are sport-related for families to take part in, that includes a rock climbing wall, a rodeo bull, games and a popular smoothie-making bike.

The event gains great support from our local voluntary and community sector partners and stakeholders.

This year we were joined by colleagues from the recently opened Unitas Youth Zone in Burnt Oak, a purpose-built facility for Barnet’s young people.

It’s the opportunity for residents to talk to us and our partners to share ideas on how we can improve our services and the local area.

I think we can all agree that once a resident can put a name to a face, it always bridges that ‘them and us’ divide.

Urban Gamez began nine years ago when Barnet Homes’ Community Engagement Team took over when the event could no longer be funded due to reductions in council budgets.

As soon as we put our hands up to take it over, we branded it Urban Gamez, with a focus on a ‘street games’ style of activities, obtaining support and sponsorship from partners and our contractors.

Grahame Park is Barnet’s largest housing estate with over one thousand homes and one of the UK’s largest regeneration programs led by Notting Hill Genesis.

Like many housing estates on this scale, the intention was for it to operate as its own self-sufficient ‘new’ town.

As the years went on, this led to residents becoming more and more isolated from the rest of the borough.

Regeneration and community engagement investment has helped to start opening up Grahame Park again.

The estate is situated in one of the more deprived wards in Barnet.

Events like Urban Gamez aim to engage and support the community to lead healthier lifestyle choices to encourage its children and young people to get out and be more active.

Grahame Park’s local charity, Colindale Communities Trust, provides an annual program of activities and services that have had a positive impact in improving the wellbeing of residents, through walking groups, healthy lifestyle clubs, adult community learning programs, community cooking fitness with mental health and disability rugby sessions.

Through social value investment gained from our contractors, we continue to be extremely overwhelmed by the year-on-year support of Morgan Sindall Property Services, who this year were joined by Lift Specialist in sponsoring the event.

Without the social value investment and sponsorship of our contractors, we may not have made it to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Urban Gamez 2020.

We are already excited and one to make sure it will be the best one yet.