2035. Khan Odita
Khan Odita, aged 15, from Liverpool, has transformed a fly-tipped piece of wasteland into a community garden after two years of campaigning. ‘UrbanScape’ launched on the 6th April 2023 and serves as "a green escape in an urban place" as well as an outdoor events hub. Free activities are planned to run from the garden in the summer months including, gardening activities, art sessions & exhibitions, a human library and trade events.
Khan was inspired to make a change after becoming frustrated by the impact of fly tipping in his local area. He arranged litter picking events, securing funds to deliver community skip days for disposing of larger objects and engaging the community ahead of developing the space. Through his “Flood the Streets with Flowers” project, Khan, together with volunteers, placed planters made from repurposed wood up and down the street to add vibrancy. ‘UrbanScape’ is managed through his social enterprise ‘Mulgrave Street Action Group CIC’, which he established at age 14 to bring the local community together to solve the fly tipping issue and transform where he lived. ‘Mulgrave Street Action Group’ and ‘UrbanScape’ now have the backing of dedicated volunteers and community members.
Whilst campaigning, Khan published two children’s books, the profits of which go to ‘Mulgrave Street Action Group’ for use in community initiatives. He visits schools with his books to deliver literacy sessions and raise awareness of how young people can care for the environment and those around them, as well as delivering keynote speeches to organisations to inspire and share his story.
(Khan is pictured with Stuart Andrew MP, Minister for Civil Society. Picture by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
In a personal letter to Khan, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
“I was inspired to hear how you founded ‘Mulgrave Street Action Group’ while studying for your GCSEs. Over two years you have transformed a fly-tipped area into a bright, open, green space for everyone to enjoy. The ‘UrbanScape’ garden is now a place where young people can come after school and during the holidays and gain new skills through your food-growing projects.
“It takes true community spirit – and true determination – to make such a difference.”
Stuart Andrew MP, Minister for Civil Society, presented the award to Khan on a visit to Liverpool. The Minister said:
“Aged just fifteen, the work that Khan Odita has done to establish the Mulgrave Street Action Group, create greener streets and build a community garden on a disused strip of land in Liverpool is truly inspiring.
“It was an honour to award Khan with this much-deserved Points of Light award, highlighting the brilliant work he has done to create more pleasant spaces for the wider community. I would also like to congratulate all of the most recent Points of Light Award winners on their tremendous success.”
Kim Johnson, Khan’s local MP, said:
“I am delighted to see Khan Odita receive this Points of Light award as an outstanding volunteer. At the age of only 14 Khan began to realise his dream of converting a strip of waste land in Liverpool 8 into a community garden. Two years later this inspirational young man has brought together a wide range of stakeholders, with the community at the heart of it, and designed and delivered a beautiful, restful green oasis in the heart of the Toxteth area, planted and maintained by other volunteers. A real community leader, one I am very proud to know and to have in my constituency.”
“I’m humbled to have been acknowledged at such a high level for my work through MSAG. UrbanScape is a first in Liverpool and will hopefully bring many positive benefits for years to come, to the local residents and wider city. Thank you for acknowledging the effort taken to build the project and I hope this will inspire other young people like me, with an idea, no matter how big or small to just have a go.”
See more about ‘UrbanScape’