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The Grove

In an abandoned pub carpark on the A205 in South London, local kids are creating ramps and an assortment of skate park structures, splicing old gas canisters, wooden planks, pallets, bags of cement, rubble, drinks cans, abandoned sofas – anything and everything, to create their own home-grown skatepark – and likewise establish a safe place for themselves, away from the traffic, the pandemic and authority.

Safe… if you discount the odd broken wrist and elbow graze.

Safe… as an outdoor space where anyone with or without a board could hang out.

Initially they were chased away by security guards but soon found support for their endeavours from local residents, councillors and even the land owners.
Phil filmed the steady transformation of the abandoned space, during the days and nights as winter drew in – “trying to capture the atmosphere, tricks and constructions as they happened without interfering with the natural flow of the space.”

The film opens with a shot of the sun coming up over a large tree… set against a soundscape of distant traffic, scrapes and clatters, skateboard wheels rolling over concrete and snippets of caught conversation, the resulting film is beautiful, contemplative and ultimately hopeful…

Phil hopes it, “feels something like a compressed day in the life of The Grove in which 6 months feels like 24 hours.”

Although the future is uncertain, it looks as if, for now, The Grove is here to stay…

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