Paddle and Pick
Fancy getting involved in helping to clear up Paddington and the surrounding areas Canals? Well this is the project for you! Held 2 or 3 times a year and led by Active 360 who run the Paddleboarding operation at Merchant Square – this gets as many people as possible out onto the water picking up rubbish, debris from the surface of the water (with gloves and a litter picker!) as this is essential to ensure the safety of the wildlife and aquatic species.
To find out more visit: Active360.co.uk
Annual Dragon Boat Regatta
The Dragon Boat Race has been happening at Paddington Basin canal for over 13 years and every year people from all over the area come together for a friendly competition to raise essential funds for local cause COSMIC (Children of St. Mary’s Intensive Care). COSMIC supports the Children’s Intensive Care Unit at St. Mary’s Hospital in Paddington by helping patients and their families and enabling the dedicated team to treat hundreds of critically ill children from all over London each year. In 2018 the team raised over £16,000 for this great cause and in 2019 we managed to raise over £27,000 which has been a record amount raised for the charity from this event.
Merchant Square is proud to offer our support to COSMIC in St.Mary’s in any way that it can, from collecting and wrapping Christmas presents, providing space for events through to working on specific events such our annual Rubber Duck Racing event and of course the famous Dragon Boat Regatta!
The Paddington Partnership Community Programme
Merchant Square work closely with The Paddington Partnership’s Community Programme to build relationships with local charities and schools in the local community. In 2018 our colleagues volunteered alongside our landscaping contractors Burleys to transform the grounds at a Westminster Society property for adults with learning difficulties. We also hosted boat trips and afternoon tea for local older people as part of Silver Sunday celebrations in Paddington and ran clothing collections for the Marylebone Project and West London Mission – two local homeless charities.
At Christmas we host a coat collection for West London Mission’s facility on nearby Seymour Place. This local day centre serves breakfast to approximately 100 homeless people each morning; as well as providing access to showers, laundry, haircuts and health checks.
Every year we are able to provide the facility of bags of coats that can those affected by homelessness and poverty can have especially in the winter months where it is of high importance to have access to this.
North Paddington Food Bank
Merchant Square support the North Paddington Food Bank which serves individuals and families living in North Westminster who are experiencing food poverty.
Our team has also supported in volunteer days where we have been educated on the Food Bank, its operations, the people in the community it supports and how assistance can be provided.
Activities that our team have partaken it have included constructing shelves to help arrange the Food Bank’s storage facilities, making collections and the Food Bank supply points and engaging with the local community at collection points. After this the team then help sort the food which then displayed the magnitude of this operation.
One of our security officers, Duke Ekokotu, commented afterwards to the North Paddington Food Bank with his hand on his heart; “Thank you for today, it is really important for ourselves to give back like this.”
For the Christmas period we have supported the Marylebone Project by collecting toiletries to distribute to the homeless.
The Marylebone Project is a Registered Social Landlord set up through a partnership between Church Army and the Portman House Trust. They provide 112 long- and short-term beds to homeless women and offer essential facilities and support to women who visit their rough sleeper’s drop-in at the Marylebone Centre. The Marylebone Centre also delivers education, employment and training opportunities and meaningful activities in order to support service users into independent living.
Those they support are often affected by substance misuse, unemployment, domestic violence and mental health issues. Whatever their story, the Marylebone Project aim for the same ending; self-esteem, employment and independent living. They do this by providing shelter, emotional support, education opportunities, spiritual space, and events in a welcoming and secure environment.
Gardening Makeovers with Burley's
Our team at Merchant Square were joined by our landscape gardeners in August 2018 and in two hours the team of ten stripped back overgrown vegetation, ripped out weeds and planted up beds with hardy shrubs at a Westminster Society property for people living with dementia.
During the Great British Spring Clean March 2019 the team alongside our landscaping team we were able to transform a currently un-used grassed area adjacent to Westminster Academy school main building. The school were looking to use this area in the future for growing fruit, vegetables and plants with the students. Westminster Academy is an OFSTED outstanding business and enterprise academy.
Active 360 are passionate about raising awareness of the health of our water and aquatic ecosystems, especially in regards to the global epidemic of plastic pollution. The UK’s waterways are often beautiful spaces, where a slice of serenity can be found even in urban areas. Getting into the great outdoors is liberating, but all too often our waterways are blighted by litter and in particular plastic waste. Not only does it spoil the enjoyment and safety of watersports, the plastic trash harms wildlife and often ends up in the oceans, causing significant damage to our natural environment for hundreds of years.
Active 360 have a hub at Merchant Square and we often collaborate on events. They can organise Paddle & Pick and Clean-Up events with businesses and organisations and we believe as a Canal side community the importance of having a positive change socially and to drive environmental conservation.
International Yoga Day
To mark International Yoga Day we host free sessions on our lawns for our occupiers, residents and visitors to take part in.
International Yoga Day happens every year in June and promotes the physical and mental health benefits of yoga.
The team at Merchant Square are passionate about being as green as possible – even down to the green jackets the onsite team wear!
All of our recyclable waste goes to a materials recovery facility as standard and we have a ‘green team’ who are constantly striving to research and bring in new initiatives that make us even greener!
We have a number of initiatives across the estate which you can find out more about on our Sustainability Page!