Animal centre scoops award for education excellence

Ealing Council’s Brent Lodge Animal Centre has been given the award for the best education project at this year’s BIAZA awards for its community art project.
The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) represents the UK’s responsible zoo and aquarium community.

The award recognised the achievements of the team at the animal centre who work with Mencap to provide art and creative classes for children and adults with learning disabilities.

Activities at the art studio include painting, ceramics and card making. The groups are also encouraged to be hands on throughout the animal centre and park by planting and landscaping some of the communal areas.

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “Brent Lodge Animal Centre is a space that inspires and gives enjoyment to so many people. The input of the groups who use the park and animal centre has made it even more special and increased the opportunities for hands-on learning massively. The art studio is a fantastic place for people with learning disabilities to express themselves and be part of a bigger project. The group has produced exhibition quality art, helped run and maintain the butterfly house and is looking forward to running the gift shop in the animal centre next summer.”

Judith Pepper-Cox, from Ealing Mencap said: “We have more than 30 people use the art studio each week and we have seen some great results since the project started. Sometimes it’s small things, like encouraging someone to be more confident when they express themselves and sometimes it’s bigger milestones, like seeing someone’s art being used in the park which gives them a real sense of achievement. This project has been a really important part of the lives of our members and we’re really pleased it’s been recognised by the UK body for zoos.”

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