The Friends of Friendly Gardens (FoFG) committee has drafted an application to Lewisham Council’s Greening Fund. Below is a summary of the proposal. They will submit the application on Friday 24th September, and if you have any suggestions or feedback on the proposed plans below (by the end of Thursday) then please send an email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summary of Greening Fund proposal
The FoFG propose improving the park in two main ways: (1) improving play equipment for children, who are the main park users, and (2) improving biodiversity and community interaction. By attracting a diverse range of children to the park through improved play facilities, we have the opportunity to engage them and their families in a broad range of activities linked to the natural environment. We hope this will encourage families and children to be more aware of and sensitive to their natural environment, and take positive steps to care for it (e.g. dispose of their litter appropriately, volunteer with maintaining beds).
The FoFG adding several new pieces of play equipment to the park: a seesaw (there is currently a small seesaw , designed for pre-school children; however, the majority of park users are primary-school-age children), children’s monkey bars, items accessible to disabled children (roundabout and swing) and a children’s trim trail. These are all popular pieces of equipment that local children have suggested and which support them to be fit and physically active. They are appropriately sized to readily fit alongside existing play equipment, or in currently under-utilised spaces in the park, and will not interfere with the open spaces of the park where people enjoy playing football or frisbee.
To improve biodiversity and community interaction, we propose:
- A series of disability-friendly raised bed planters, which will provide a focus for a series of community participation events, run by volunteers for families and local children (e.g. planting and maintaining herbs, vegetables, and fruit bushes, which can be sourced by the Friends group).
- A couple of areas of drought resistant planting (on the sunny, north east side of the park), which will make the park more attractive and welcoming, and to support improved biodiversity. Weeding and maintaining these areas will also be a focus for volunteer/community participation.
- Two areas of native woodland bulb planting, in neglected, shady and under-utilised corners of the park, which would benefit from spring colour (under the trees in the western corner of the park)
The placement of these items complements current park use patterns, as they will be in areas that have low footfall and are under-utilised, and thus tend to attract anti-social behaviours, including littering.
With the introduction of these improvements, the Friends group will organise a series of regular planting, maintenance and development activities to engage families and children with nature and biodiversity (e.g. planting sunflowers, growing and harvesting fruit bushes, growing beans and herbs, planting bulbs). We will also work with local volunteers who can contribute their specialist skills (e.g. bug hunting, bird spotting) to host nature exploration sessions.
As the environment in the park improves, and more local residents are engaged with the Friends group and in activities in the park, we envisage even more community events (picnics, sessions with local schools etc.) taking place – and developing a virtuous circle of community participation, investment in the park and an improved park environment for both people and biodiversity.
Friends Of Friendly Gardens Team