It's a wipe out for Graffiti
Paint out session gets the thumbs up from shopkeepers
More observant Acton Central residents may well have noticed that the Paint Out team have been out and about again. Last Saturday, they were on Churchfield Road bright and early at 9am and I went to see them hard at work.
When I arrived Sara Nathan, who has been organizing the monthly sessions for almost a year, had just scrubbed all the graffiti off the telephone box outside MP-Kat. She was really satisfied to make such a difference with a few moments of hard work. "It's a great change just to do physical labour and to see an immediate effect. Also, to know that, even in a small way, it is achieving something that needs doing in the community."
Paul Talbot and Philippe Bruyer, co-chairs of Churchfield Community Association, which pays for the materials needed and started the sesions several years ago, were working hard to clean shutters. They are regulars of the Paint Out sessions. They told me that when teenagers help with the clearing of graffiti, elderly people often stop and remark, "so they're making you scrub it off again, are they?" Others comment that they don't look like the type to be doing community service! There were no teenagers taking part in Saturday's session because of the unusually early start-time of 9am which was necessary in order to tackle some of the defaced shutters before the shops opened.
Acton Central's independent candidate Ken White, despite not having been voted in, was cheerfully taking part in his first Paint-Out session with his partner Angela Jullings. He told me "even if I'd won, I'd still be here". He is determined to badger Railtrack for permission to clean up the walls near Acton Central Station and feels local councillors should make themselves more visible and that they should take part in Paint-Out sessions.
Sonny Masson who runs the wonderful Paint shop on Churchfield Road told me the sessions had been going on for years. "Anything we have available, we donate - tins of paint, etc. Also we give above-average discounts on anything the team has to buy. There is great feedback from locals after each session." He told me that elderly people are very distressed by graffiti and see it as a message of doom and gloom. "When they see someone doing something about it, it makes them really happy. Obliterating graffiti makes all the difference."
Local shopkeepers all along Churchfield Road are amazed to see volunteers scrubbing graffiti off their shopfronts. The DIY shop at no.32 gave away rubber gloves this time and will contribute to future sessions. Gino Celentano, who runs the second-hand furniture shop De Sio said he was really happy the graffiti on his shop had been scrubbed off. "It's an amazing thing when all the graffiti has gone. It makes the area so much better."
Sara is always looking for more volunteers for the monthly sessions. The next one will be at 12.00 on Saturday June 10. (Check the Forum for details). I hope to be there, scrubbing away. It's a great way to meet neighbours, get exercise, improve the environment and do something for the community. So what's keeping you away?
May 19, 2006