Coro, he re-elected Chair of the group, has delivered the Group report for last year, and it is reproduced here in full.
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.
Chair of the Friends of Surrey Square Park
Write a comment…