Review of Nursery Row Park in 2017
Some highlights from us from a busy 2017!
We were delighted to meet with Brian L Sugden on 28th January. Brian set up and ran the amazing adventure playground on the site of the northern two blocks of Blendon Row tenements, now part of Nursery Row Park, during the 1970s. His work was supported by Pembroke House. Brian kindly gave us his archive for safe keeping, containing some fabulous photos: https://www.nurseryrowpark.org.uk/2017/01/the-adventure-playground-in-nursery-row-park-1974-77-brian-l-sugdens-archive/
Spring sprang in Nursery Row Park with loads of new daffodils, thanks to the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association (MPGA) and their wonderful bulb donation scheme, courtesy of Taylors Bulbs http://www.mpga.org.uk/bulbsforlondon.php. A photo of our park was then featured on the inside back cover of MPGA’s latest annual report and accounts.
At our Annual General Meeting in on 27th March we thanked our wonderful volunteers for all their time and support, and were pleased to welcome our newly-elected Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.
In April and May we worked with the Walk Elephant initiative led by Dan Taylor at Southwark Council with the Walworth Society and Southwark Living Streets to help generate ideas for improving walking routes around the Elephant & Castle. http://www.2.southwark.gov.uk/walkelephant The idea is to generate a long list of improvements, such as new crossings, landscaping, tree planting or planters, and to help residents and tenant organisations to seek funding from a variety of sources including the council’s cleaner greener safer programme, developer contributions and crowdfunding.
Farm in the Park was back! We had a lovely relaxed afternoon in Nursery Row Park with @OliJuste and his great dog show, not to mention our furry friends from Surrey Docks Farm and a range of interesting birds including a bald eagle and a kookaburra.
Our outdoor education project (“classes without walls”) which has been kindly supported by Cleaner Greener Safer and Neighbourhoods funding continues with Robert Browning Primary School. In June we were pleased to see the bug hotel they made in the Community Orchard is visible from space on Google maps!
We are delighted to have been awarded the coveted Green Flag Award for the fourth consecutive year, in 2017/18! The award recognises Nursery Row Park as a well-managed, clean and safe park. We know we have more work to do, but it is great that our hard-working volunteers, and our wonderful colleagues at Southwark Council Parks and Open Spaces team and maintenance contractors idverde, have had their amazing efforts recognised. We are delighted for our fellow award winners in East Walworth too – Victory Community Park, Pasley Park, Surrey Square Park and Salisbury Row Park!
Plaza Latina came back with a bang! On the 6th August our favourite show returned to Nursery Row Park via East Street market – with amazing music, dancing, food and fun organised as efficiently as ever by our friends Carnaval del Pueblo. It was great to see a mix of old friends and new enjoy the sunny and relaxed atmosphere in the park over the whole day.
A huge thank you to everyone who came to our Autumn Fair on 23 September 2017! This year we managed to finish scything and raking the whole of our wildflower meadow, and during the afternoon we built a huge haystack. By maintaining the meadow in a traditional way, we hope that it will continue to provide a source of delight, food and beauty for bees, butterflies and all wildlife as well as park users.
At the end of October, we were informed that Nursery Row Park, along with Faraday Gardens and Salisbury Row Park in Walworth, has been nominated as a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation in the council’s New Southwark Plan submission to the Secretary of State. This follows ten years of work by the Friends of Nursery Row Park. Consultation on the plan was approved by cabinet on 31st October 2017, and goes to an independent review process during 2018 when we hope that all the proposals will be adopted – including restoring all of Nursery Row Park to “Borough Open Land” status.
We run monthly activities for volunteers in the park, usually on the last Saturday of the month, where we work together to maintain the Community Orchard and to help look after other parts of the park, working closely with Southwark Council and their contractors idverde. We now have a storage room for our equipment in Winch House. We had a fantastic turnout of 16 volunteers on 25th November where we cleared a large part of the overgrown border next to Winch House, the construction hoardings having been removed, with the aim of transforming the park border over the next two years to a grassed area with specimen fruiting trees, backed by a hedge of native species.
We celebrated our tenth birthday as a community group at the start of December! A huge thank you to all our volunteers and supporters over this period – we’re so grateful. Here’s to the next ten years. We were also delighted to work with Sokari Douglas Camp and the emerging group looking after the green space at the junction of Browning and Morecambe Streets, close to Nursery Row Park.