personally, I think the the sporty types should stay on the astro-turf and leave the grassy bit for little kids to play, and people to sunbathe. it's nowhere near as big as say burgess park, where you can have several footie games going on..
What is the point of spending so much money on new trees and shrubs and going through all the bother of planting them,just to leave them to shrivel up and die due to lack of water as is the case of Tabard Gardens.
The new shrubs and tree outside my window I don't think they have been watered since they were planted......discounting the times that I have been out there to give them some water.
The same thing has happened to the conifers that were planted on the Old Kent/New Kent road roundabout..........planted and then left to wither and die due to lack of aftercare.
The same thing has happened to lots of the trees that have been planted around the More London site - and I noticed this morning that amongst the dead trees behind the hoarding along the river side there has appeared what looks like a giant plastic tree.
its so depressing. In the case of tabard gardens and the bricklayers roundabout, presumably its the council's parks department that are so bloody useless that they cant organise a regular watering session. Or are they just responsible for the tabard gardens site?
In the case of Tabard Gdns the contractors are responsible for upkeep of new plants for a period of time so the fact that they havn't been watered means they will have to replace any that have died. This is being followed up by the new friends of tabard park group.
I do agree that it's very sad that all over London plants and trees are suffering even though, as far as I am aware, there is no water shortage. The councils do not seem to be watering anywhere.
I'd just like to add my voice to the clamour. Plants, unlike concrete, need care after they have been planted. Talk about spoiling The Ship for a 'hapeth of tar. Will someone please water them, there's only so much I can do as I stagger back from the pub with a bladder-full.
There is a paradox about public open space - and other public facilities. They are ours, we want them to be nice, and we want to use them. We also want to make sure that those with little else, have facilities they can access. But at the same time they are not really ours and getting out the watering can and going to your local park to water the flowers would seem odd and 'un-British'.
Friends groups can:
- help in the process of raising money for and prioritising improvements (say by help ensure that public consultation runs well and includes all who should be included.)
- to act as a pressure group to ensure good deliver by whoever is responsible for a park or project. This can be at a general or detailed level. For example friends of mine spent a facinating day two years ago watching builders prepare a water feature for a green space in SE1. If it has been their own property, or had the project been perceived as 'owned' by the community using 'our money' they might have intervened and demanded a more thorough approach - but instead it was 'someone else's job' and within a few months I was hearing that there were some real and expensive problems. At a different level parks groups have raised the profile of parks in Council budgets so there can be more money to go around.
- agree jobs that can be done by the community and essentially 'give permission' for people to do them. Open Days run by Friends of Myatts Fields and Friends of Vauxhall Park this year were brilliant, partly because they provided the opportunity for lots of people to play a role and thereby get to know their neighbours. Plus nice and cheap entertainment for the kids and others. Over time these sort of events have genuinely contributed to people feeling they belong to where they live and that they are making a contribution to where they live. A rota for watering trees would do similar.
The existence of a Friends group also acts as a deterrent for others who might equate land with money. The group I am invovled in started with the latter and is now trying to move towards the former. (Latest news is that we might have a 40 year lease on Archbishops by September - though we have been there before so I cannot hold my breath.) But much better to go the other way round.
If anyone is ever in Spring Gardens in Vauxhall admire the flower beds (near the Lavender) and the funky benches. My understanding is that tired of any real maintenence local residents started digging and planting, and comissioned benches themselves. The version I heard, from someone within the Council who thought it was funny, was that no permission was requested nor granted. The residents had just decided that it was their space.
Who are you MM? Do you know much about funding, as my group are always on the look out for people who will give us advice and help as we try and steer a big project through the system.
I am also interested in advice on the dynamics of community involvement and how to maintain, build and motivate a group once the initial threat has passed. We are getting some help from groups and workers within the Lambeth Riverside area, but I am very aware that many groups flounder at the three year stage when the burnout starts to hit in and when expectations, based on initial successes, start to rise. Much of the formal help is obviously targeted to larger and resourced groups who are in a better position to absorb available funding. And what is available tends to take place on weekdays. Or it costs money, leaving us in the chicken and egg position of having to raise funds to get mentoring and training help, which will enable us to increase the involvement of volunteers so that tasks like fundraising can be spread around.
There seems to be experts on everything in SE1...... Anyone able to help me with what I think needs to be a three year development strategy for a small voluntary group? (A bit of a posh way of saying that I need arguments and vision to convince people to donate their time, or simply a chance to take a step back and analyse why the funding and other processes are so frustrating.) Anyone who has been there? In return I am happy to provide our group as a case study, or provide similar peer mentoring to groups who are just starting out.
Sarah - there's a meeting of the newly formed Friends of Tabard Park group on Monday 18th at 7pm, Hankey Hall, Hankey Place SE1 if you'd like to meet up with people doing the same thing. The Friends of Guy Street Park - an established group which has been very succesful - are meeting on Tuesday 9th September at 7pm in the Community Room at Leathermarket JMB offices, Leathermarket Street.
I was actively involved a while back with Bankside Open Spaces Trust and St Mungos/Putting down Roots - once you get into volunteer community gardening there's no paradox, no problem with putting in effort on something you don't own. You just see that stuff grows, people meet up, those in flats finally get some open space to nuture, and homeless people and those in sheltered accommodation get to put down roots. Yeah, I know, I'm a little idealistic!