There are many things that are great about Harlow, some of these include
- A fantastic centre for innovation, with many firsts, including the first multipurpose leisure centre, the first residential tower block and the great technical innovations that are at the heart of modern communications such as the invention of Fibre Optics (and as our local MP pointed out the recipe for Baileys Irish Cream!).
- The fantastic green spaces – whether it is the green wedges that are part of the Gibberd Master Plan, or green gems such as Latton Woods and Parndon Woods which has recently be rewarded its Green Flag status.
- The fantastic art community, including one of the best public sculpture collections in the country (works by Henry Moore, Rodin and Barbara Hepworth across the town).
- The fantastic army of volunteers across the whole of the town and in every area, whether it is help the vulnerable, making a contribution to the community, the arts or the environment in Harlow
In the last couple of weeks two things have brought many of these into sharp focus.
Last week I was honoured to be asked to open the new and restored pathways and bridges around the Stort Valley Meadows (near the railways station and opposite the Moorhen Pub). Together with new information boards these was made these great walks and the orchid meadow accessible to all. Funded by the Big Lottery fund brought together with Harlow Wildlife Projects and Harlow Conservation Volunteers.
This evening I went along to the Harlow Happenings opening at the Gibberd Gallery in the Civic Centre. This was a great celebration of creativity, innovation, the Gibberd Legacy, and the wonderful volunteers of Harlow rolled into three art projects by resident artists at Gatehouse Arts. This included a great short film on volunteers in reality TV style (this will be posted at www.dashndem.com), Gigacycle – a series of encounters across Harlow by Janetka Platun drawing links between the development of fibre optic communications and the cycle network across Harlow and a laser installation at the former JJB sports shop in the Harvey Centre, and Harlow Utopia drawing on Frederick Gibberd’s masterplan and his connection with young people – with an exhibit at the Eastgate Gallery. I will post more details on these over the next few days.