The Friends of Surrey Square Park have successfully managed their first “ZOOM AGM” on the 12th June and a new Committee has been elected.

Coro, he re-elected Chair of the group, has delivered the Group report for last year, and it is reproduced here in full.

Friends,

This has been a difficult time for everybody, but especially for small organisations like ours.

We had to postpone last year’s AGM because of the COVID-19 epidemic, and we struggled to fulfil all our commitments.

Nonetheless, we managed to provide a valuable contribution to our community and the green amenities that have made life a little more acceptable for lots of local people, in these stressful times, while at the same time preserving whatever natural assets our little oasis possesses.

During the lock-downs, our green spaces have been a beneficial and sometimes a live-saver resource for all those that did not have any outdoor facilities to rely on and helped many with psychologically coping and preserving their mental health. People that have been suffering the restrictions has been counting on our small park for walking, relaxation or sheer break from been cooped up within a flat.

An additional burden that we, as a community and as an organisation, had to endure, has also been a surge of antisocial behaviour.

Much damage has been done by wanton vandalism and some of our members have again been intimidated, shouted at or even had their living places threatened. But we endured and, as in past similar occasions, have strived to attenuate the worst of the damage.

Yet, in spite of everything, the Friends of Surrey Square Park has managed, altogether, an impressive record of activities and direct intervention.

• The Friends Volunteers have provided more than 500hrs of collective work and maintenance/repair to our park.

• We maintained our regular quarterly walks with the Park Administration, in spite of the epidemic restrictions (and adopting the appropriate health precautions).

• We, nearly brought to completion the improvement works in the nature Community Garden (the Wildlife Area) for which we successfully fund-raised in 2019.

• We documented, related with various civic authorities and repaired or helped with the remedial works in 25 incidents of vandalism or antisocial behaviour in the park.

• Our members have provided, most often using their own resources and money, a substantial amount of needed items, like bin-liners, tools, cuttings, seeds, bird-feed, etc to keep up with the requirement of basic up-keeping of our green space.

We also provided a formal and informal interface with the park wardens, local police, local school, the Walworth Living Room Community Centre and Penbroke House, the Idverde Council park contractors, the Tenants Associations surrounding Surrey Square Park and managed an active public relation effort with the community.

For all those that wonder what we are doing, there is much that we can say and document to prove our commitment to maintain our precious green spaces. I also want to remind everyone, with some pride, that we have been successful in helping to preserve the remaining wildlife in our surroundings.

According to several studies and a recently publicized report co-written by the London Wildlife Trust, several once common species, have been severely reduced in the East London area.

We are particularly happy of being one of the few oases left of a thriving population of house sparrows, and in addition, we have helped to maintain quality habitat for other small birds species, like wrens, magpies and tits.

Many insects, like solitary bees and bumblebees colonies, several varieties of butterflies, have also found sanctuary in our park, and we have been graced with a continuous and growing presence of different bats species.

We also have reports of sparrowhawks being sighted, a propitious sign of a sound ecological environment. All in an area that is densely populated.

In conclusion, the Friends of Surrey Square Park have substantially contributed to the improvement of our collective open spaces, nature upkeep and the well-being of the people living around our park, the availability of greenery especially beneficial for those under psychological stress or suffering mental problems, that have suffered unduly more from the epidemic induced house-confinements.

To all our members and supporters, I want to remind you that what has been achieved is a contribution toward being a better society, one more tolerant toward nature and other human beings.

Something we all should be proud of and something that makes us gratified citizens.

Coro

Chair of the Friends of Surrey Square Park

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Easter 2021, A Special Celebration of Hope

For many religions this time of the year is associated with important passages and rituals in their respective theologies.
It is not difficult to see how, in temperate regions, the re-greening of nature has become associated with the idea of rebirth and renewal.

It also tells us how universal, and deep in our collective psyche, is the language of nature.

Many studies have been conducted to confirm the positive effect that closeness to the natural world has on the well-being of people but really it just need to open one’s window to a sun-drenched meadow or a stroll in an open green space and feel the stirring of one’s soul.

A jolt of happiness to appreciate life in all its forms and oneself as part of it.

Perhaps is no coincidence that warmongers, debased humans of any kind, have always placed great store in making “a desert” around themselves.
Maybe afraid that the magic of nature may too, weaken their determination to be evil.
A profound link between all form of green spaces and the ability for humans to relate with ourself and others is something that do not need to be taught but need to be fostered and encouraged. Something that some have forgotten or not be able to enjoy.
This year has been particularly harsh on the quality of life to many local residents, has the need for isolation and the constraints of living for long periods in limited, very constraint circumstances have taken their tall on the physical and mental health of all.
In the overpopulated urban landscape we all lived in, the need for our local park is never been so important and appreciated.
The Friends of Surrey Square Park try to do their best, sometimes with considerable sacrifice, to help and provide a better environment for anyone to live and prosper.
In this spirit of renovation and hope we wish this special 2021



Happy Easter

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The importance of our local park in this time of epidemic

Surrey Square Park may not be as large as the neighbouring Burgess Park but it is our green space, the open space, on our doorstep.

Most people around it live in council flats in old estates, often without even a balcony. Since the start of the present epidemic most people have had to endure a near constant isolation and, as the weeks seem to endlessly follow each other, the strain of been cooped inside is fraying people endurance.

This is particularly true for families with children.

Her now the role of our little oasis is shown in its importance.

As the season turn to a glorious full spring and sunshine bathe the land, the desire to escape the small confines of our residences can become irresistible and essential for the mental health of many.

So let celebrate and value our local park, the strolls, the space, the fleeting freedom that we can enjoy and the sanity that it can help to maintain.

Most people have been very considerate and respectful, some of us have even dedicated some of their exercise time to look after it and only few miscreants have so far detract from everybody else enjoyment.

Let’s try to remember how precious this green oasis has been for all of us in the coming months, when all this will hopefully be over, and value even more its future.

In this time of confinement and splendid weather with Easter approaching be grateful for what we have on our doorstep.



Happy Easter to Everybody


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Making Natural Christmans Decorations at the Walworth Living Room

Every year the Friends of Surrey Square Park make an effort to decorate the WLA of our beloved little park with some Christmas decoration made from mostly locally sourced natural materials.She wanted to emphasise the beauty already present in nature and the educational value of making beautiful things that help to learn about nature and that will compost afterword.
In addition, it is a quite satisfying activity that improves one’s skills, a means to teach children and bring family and friends together. A very essence of all “Christmassy” things :-).
For all her kindness in helping and guiding our efforts, many, many thanks to her.
This year we have been lucky enough to have the encouragement and help from the people at the Walworth Living Room that gave us room to make the process more public.

Below are some pictures of the event and of the decoration we made.

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Saturday the 13th of July Tatum Street Party

The Friends of Surrey Square took part in the 13/07/2019 Tatum Street Party, a social event organised by the good folk of Pembroke House.

The weather was clement and it turned out to be a really enjoyable occasion for all. We had our stall and our posters but a large section of the local community was present. Great occasion for networking (and to munch on some “free-donation” food) but above all a great day out!!

 

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Surrey Square The Great Get Together held on the 21st June

 

Surrey Square The Great Get Together held on the 21st June

This TGGT was organised by the Pembroke House that recently took over the Surrey Square “All Saints Hall” (until recently a nursery).
The Friends of Surrey Square Park were present as part of the community using our beloved little park.
The event was well attended with many interesting activities and plenty food (thanks to Pembroke House!!!).
We had a little stall and gave away free posters. All of us are looking forward to next year event and to see how the potential of the hall will be able to benefit the wider and diverse community living around of our park.
Location: All Saints Hall, Surrey Square, London, SE17 2JU

 

All Saints Hall, Surrey Square, London, SE17 2JU

All Saints Hall, Surrey Square, London, SE17 2JU

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FoSSP 2019 AGM

On Saturday the 18th we held our Annual General Meeting in the gorgeous Pembroke Garden. The room there opens directly on to it and has been so far one of the best location to hold our meetings.
The minutes of the meeting can be found here (in Google doc format).
Well done to everyone!!

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FoSSP Annual General Meeting on Saturday 18 May 2019 Pembroke House

The Friends of Surrey Square Park will be holding their 
Annual General Meeting
on
Saturday 18 May 2019
Pembroke House, Garden Room,

1.00-3.00 pm

Bush flowers with Butterflies

The agenda will be:

  • Welcome, Introductions and Apologies
  • Minutes of last AGM
  • Chair’s Report
  • Treasurer’s Report
  • Election of new committee:

Chair
Secretary
Treasurer
Committee members

  • Campaign to engage new residents
  • Proposal and initiatives for Summer
  • Any other business
  • Date of next meeting

 

Please come along and be involved in making our borough a little greener and our park more pleasant for all.

 

 

Penbroke House
80 Tatum St,
London SE17 1QR

 

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Bat Night Event

on the 22nd The friends of Surrey Square Park held the long awaited “Bat Night” event.
While the weather have been uncertain to the last moment, on the night everything went well.
A little drizzle of rain and a light breeze did not deter the local population of bats from appearing and provide a good display to the satisfaction of all involved.
The event was well attended and proved quite rewarding for everybody.

Thanks to Rebeka for guiding the tour and to all participants for infusing contagious enthusiasm and  good group spirit throughout the event.
A temporary webpage on the occasion can be found here and a video of the event, courtesy of Daniel can be seen on our YouTube Channel here.

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Surrey Square Park Bat’s Night

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