Monday, 9 November 2020

Penge Green Gym Newsletter (November 2020 Extra Edition)

 

Penge Green Gym Newsletter

 



Projects to get involved in during lockdown



We have been approached by 2 different organisations who would like to found out about the beneficial effects of gardening and volunteering.  The first is from Peter Moore member of the British Pain Society wanting to interview people on the benefits of gardening especially on people with health conditions (physical or mental).  If you would like to get involved you can contact him at https://www.paintoolkit.org/contact.


The second being from Andy Harrod of Lancaster University want to know the long term benefits of attending outdoor activities for people between 15-29. These are the details - 

Group activities in nature and long-term wellbeing is a PhD research project exploring the experiences of people who take part in outdoor group activity programmes and the impact of attending them on their long-term wellbeing.
 
The aim of this study is to explore the longevity of benefits to participants’ wellbeing from attending outdoor group activity programmes during the ages of 16-29, by considering the impact on their wellbeing at the time and over their life. It is important we develop understanding of the factors at the activities and in people’s lives that support improvements to wellbeing over time and the factors which prevent this from happening as well.
 
Participants need to have attended:
  • during the ages of 16-29 (can be older now and still attending),
  • at least 5 years ago or if still attending started at least 5 years ago,
  • an adventure, environmental conservation, exercise, farming, or gardening programme.
 
Taking part involves two activities, producing a timeline representing specific experiences over your life and taking photos of a place you go to for your wellbeing, and two interviews. The activities will take around 15-45 minutes each and the interviews will be between 1-2 hours. The interviews will be by video chat or phone.
 
Further information about the study and taking part is at 
https://wp.lancs.ac.uk/greencareandwellbeing/. I am happy to answer any questions and discuss taking part with you via email, a.harrod1@lancaster.ac.uk, or phone 01524 594710. Thank you for your consideration, Andy Harrod.


These surveys are completely voluntary and Penge Green Gym is not affiliated with either of these organisations. 

Finally, there is an ongoing consultation from Bromley Council or an extension to the alcohol free zone.  This is open until 27 November if you would like to have your say.   The link is -  https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/QYB5CFF

 
 

Easyfundraising
 
Are you thinking of doing some or all of your Christmas shopping online this year? Easyfundraising is a great way to support Penge Green Gym.  With Easyfundraising every time you shop, a small donation is made to Penge Green Gym.  If you would like to help us, go to https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/pengegreengym/ and sign up.  It's totally free and helps us with all forthcoming projects.  Many thanks.

We'll be back in December!

Saturday, 7 November 2020

Penge Green Gym Newsletter November 2020

 


Penge Green Gym Newsletter

 



Green Flags, a new sign

and

Lockdown 2 (the sequel)



As of this week we have all entered the 2nd lockdown of the year.  We know that the park has been a real sanctuary for locals.  A place for people wanting to get out for exercise and to walk the dog and we hope that everyone can carry on enjoying it into the winter months.

Sadly our normal volunteering sessions have been put on hold for a month, but before that happened we were busy getting the park ready for the winter months, doing many autumn chores such as taking cuttings, tidying raised beds, adding manure to the roses and turning the compost heaps.  We have also been carrying out maintenance on a bench that needs replacing and creating a new leaf mulch area by the woodland path using deadhedges as walls.  This will come in very handy as the leaf drop is now in full swing.

  


We have also completed and installed our new 'Gravel Garden' sign.  This gives our visitors some information about the gravel garden and Beth Chatto the gardener who inspired it's creation.  


Green Flag 2020
 
We are excited to announce that we have received a Green Flag for the 6th year in a row. The objective of the Green Flag Award scheme is to encourage the provision of good quality public parks and green spaces that are managed in environmentally sustainable ways. The Green Flag Award helps to create public recognition of good quality green spaces and people’s confidence in them. The Award aspires to raise expectations of what a public green space can offer.  Well done to all the volunteers keeping the park in such fantastic shape.





The park has certainly shown off this autumn, with some spectacular displays of berries and leaves.  It continues to look very colourful (our roses are still going strong too!)  Look out for Cosmos, Sedums, Dogwood and Holly amongst many others.


 

Easyfundraising
 
Are you thinking of doing some or all of your Christmas shopping online this year? Easyfundraising is a great way to support Penge Green Gym.  With Easyfundraising every time you shop, a small donation is made to Penge Green Gym.  If you would like to help us, go to https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/pengegreengym/ and sign up.  It's totally free and helps us with all forthcoming projects.  Many thanks.

We'll be back in December!

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Penge Green Gym September 2020 Newsletter

 

Penge Green Gym Newsletter

 


Notification of postponement of our AGM on Wednesday 30th September at 12pm


Due to the rise in infection rates of Covid-19 we have decided to postpone the AGM this year.  We will be holding a committee meeting instead and the minutes of the meeting will be available in due course.

Thursday, 27 August 2020

Penge Green Gym Newsletter August 2020

 



A warm welcome back to our volunteers at

Winsford Gardens

 It has been nearly 5 months since our last full volunteering session.   It has been a difficult time for many not only due to the immediate effects of the Covid-19 virus but also the 'knock on' effects of social isolation and the mental stress that causes.  We are therefore very excited to finally be returning to our normal sessions on Wednesdays 11am-2pm, (with a few socially distanced changes) which will hopefully help our volunteers reconnect with friends old and new.


As we are 'feeling' our way back to some semblance of normality we will be restricting numbers to 20 volunteers per session.  If you have not been in contact with us for a while and would like to come back then please let us know so we can get an idea of numbers (just drop Brenda an email at blittle1@msn.com).  We will be monitoring this weekly.  We will also not be offering refreshments (sorry no biscuits!) but we will have a break for a natter as usual - and of course, you can bring your own refreshments to enjoy at 'break-time'.


We will also be asking you to bring your own gardening gloves (if you have them.  We can provide some but you will be asked to take them home and wash them). We will try and ensure volunteers keep socially-distanced (two metres apart) but will ask you to bring your own face covering in case of any contact closer than two metres. 


Projects at Winsford Gardens

in September

To give you an idea of the jobs we'll be doing this September here is a list.

1.  We will be emptying our leaf mulch bins onto our flower beds to make space for this years leaves.  Which leads onto...

2.  Yes, due to the extremely hot weather this summer the leaves have already started dropping and so we are starting the perennial job of leaf raking early.  

3.  Spreading the remaining woodchip on the beds.

4.  Turning over the compost in the bins to give them a good mix. 

5.  Construction of a new sign for the gravel garden.


If you would like to get involved in any of these jobs please come along and join in!

Notification of AGM

30th September 2020 12 noon

Penge Green Gym/ Friends of Winsford Gardens,  will be holding our annual general meeting on 30th September at 12 noon in the gardens.  Garden Road, Penge SE20 7XW.  All volunteers and other supporters are welcome to attend.  

We look forward to welcoming back some old and possibly new faces.  

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Why Parks Must be Safe Places


When crime is rife, and it is felt that no one cares, then people stop reporting crime anymore, because, “What’s the point? They never do anything about it!” It was for this reason that Neighbourhood Watch and Park Watch schemes were first set up to capitalise on community involvement.

Ten years ago, Winsford Gardens, Penge, London, was mostly unknown even to local residents. It had been well-kept during the 1980’s but left to it’s own devices in more recent years. If it was known, then it was avoided because it was overgrown with no clear lines of sight, and it was a haunt of alcoholics, for drug injecting and general anti-social behaviour. No one cared about that unloved place, and if that had continued it would have fallen further into dereliction, and then it would have be very likely to have been sold for housing development.

Winsford Gardens changed in 2011. By tidying it up and keeping it clean, adding new beds, features and flowers, the Penge Green Gym made it welcoming and inviting once again. As more people used the park, and saw that people cared about the space, it also became safer to use. We still had vandalism and setbacks, especially in the hours after dark, but the presence of local people who felt they now owned this park eventually meant that the anti-social behaviour moved elsewhere. This has reached a peak during lockdown. The park is heavily used every day by people of all ages including families. A playgroup visits most days. Parents feel the playground is safe for young children to play. If there is any anti-social behaviour, then other park users immediately tell us about it. People are so appreciative of the space we have created that they now give us cash donations, some on a regular monthly basis. We have achieved Community Green Flag status for the last five years running, were awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, and have been showered with other awards.

This was not hugely expensive to achieve. Local volunteers gave their time for free. Tools, equipment and signage were donated by a local companies. We have been very successful at applying for and winning grant funding. All that it really required really was for some people to give a damn! And to have the full backing of Bromley Council.

Now contrast Winsford Gardens with it’s nearest local park, Betts Park, where it appears that Bromley Council has given up on keeping it safe anymore. In a full council meeting on Monday 20th July 2020, responding to questions following the recent murder there; a shooting to the back of the head, the portfolio holder for Public Protection refused any CCTV in the park. Councillor Lymer says people should avoid going to parks when it’s dark, and for years the Council has continued to decline calls to provide more lighting in Betts Park and other local parks, saying that they did not want people to be given the impression that the parks were safe places after dark.

This is simply unacceptable. We cannot have "No Go Areas" or a curfew within our city, especially places where children and young families go to play and to exercise. Local people now avoid Betts Park. There is little point in keeping the grass cut, planting flower beds and installing outdoor exercise equipment if people do not feel safe. This becomes a self-perpetuating downward cycle in the manner of the Stockholm Syndrome and Broken Window Theory, when the visible signs of crime, anti-social behaviour, and civil disorder create an urban environment that encourages further crime and disorder, including more serious crimes.

If you use Winsford Gardens as a case study, then you cannot hope to turn things around until you first give the impression that the park is safe and that you are doing everything in your power to make it so. You cannot have any local community involvement or the community reporting crime if people avoid going there. The alternative is for the gangs to move in and for gang culture to prevail. Not only will you lose the park, but you will lose an entire generation of children to this gang culture too.

David Fergusson

#parksmatter #loveyourpark #loveyourlocalpark #loveparks #parkswatch



Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Pop Up Plant Sale


Winsford Gardens, Croydon Road, Penge is having a pop-up plant sale this Saturday 6th June, 12noon - 3pm.  Do come along with your cash [no change given] and bags, and get some plants grown by the Penge Green Gym Community Group of local volunteers. 
All proceeds go towards maintaining Winsford Gardens


Saturday, 11 April 2020

Penge Green Gym Newsletter April 2020

See what's happening in Penge this week....

Penge Green Gym Newsletter

Happy Easter from Winsford Gardens
 


Even though the volunteers are not meeting at the park on a Wednesday at the moment we wanted to wish all of our friends a happy easter.  The park is looking lovely with many spring bulbs and flowers at their best right now, and even though you cannot linger for long, if you take a slow stroll through the park you will see and hear nature's beauty in this little oasis.

We continue to keep a watchful eye on the park and are excited to see life exploding from every corner.  This includes our wildlife pond where we have seen the frogspawn come to life in a wriggling mass of little black tadpoles.  They are well protected in the pond vegetation so we hope that many of them will make it to adulthood. 




Take care and stay safe.