I am writing this report at the end of a difficult year culminating in the postponement of our AGM until February 2021 due to the difficulty of meeting together to complete the group’s business.
Some of our issues have, of course, been caused by the Covid-19 pandemic but the year began and has, unfortunately, ended with knock-backs on two applications for funding for parks projects. The first was for Round three of Greenwich Neighbourhood Growth Fund for improvements to the Maryon Park playground. Another funding round failure from last year left us unable to realise the vision of moving the playground close to the park toilets and therefore a bid for extra and improved playground equipment and some resurfacing was researched and submitted. Natalie Zarb did some sterling work here, but we were informed early in the year that we were unsuccessful again.
Only last week we discovered that our bid for some of the £1 million pot available for parks works made available via the council for the conversion of the old toilet block in Maryon Wilson Park into toilets and a café had also been refused. This was particularly disappointing as the council had already costed the project and declared it feasible some years ago and there was more support for this from the public than for almost any other project in the borough. The reasoning given was that there isn’t revenue funding for upkeep of toilets etc, which we felt was rather missing the point given that the café should produce a revenue stream. However, we have the backing of local councillors, John Fahy in particular, and the council report suggests it is possible that GLLAB and other training programmes may be able to suggest a solution so watch this space.
On a more positive note the Maryon Park playground has been awarded some money from the £1 million pot for improvements – unfortunately we don’t know at this moment how much or what for exactly but hopefully the council staff will work with our group to determine how this money is spent. We will keep you updated on that.
The pandemic has highlighted to everyone the absolute necessity of parks and open spaces in urban areas. During the lockdown our parks, like all others in the country, received a large increase in visitors from the locality and some litter issues arose but the council staff have done well to return things to normal over the summer.
Friends’ work in the parks has been limited to an extent by the effects of the pandemic but monthly clear-ups have recommenced at a social distance and daffodil planting will again take place in Maryon Wilson Park.
The Maryon Park Community Garden enjoyed a good harvest. A few members have worked hard, socially distancing, but the Garden has missed the help from corporate volunteers. The Urban Harvest was celebrated with a pop-up shop at the Community Garden Gates, selling damson jam and plants.
Thanks to everyone for the effort that they have put in this year especially Gulle Stubbs as Treasurer and Steve Tongue as Secretary. Officers will remain unchanged until the AGM when we will need a new Treasurer and welcome candidates for the post of Chair and Secretary.
I look forward to seeing you either in person or via video conferencing next year. Meanwhile thank you for your continued interest in our wonderful parks.
Friends of M&MW Parks