What is a "Friends of" group?
(and why does Rickman Hill need one?)
A “Friends of” group is a recognised partnership of volunteers who have created an association and are formally recognised by their local council who try to improve a park or open space. Some are charities, others are not (we aren’t yet, but never say never!). There are many charities and initiatives that support these groups, from green projects like tree planting and conservation to education and children’s entertainment. Of the 135 parks and open spaces Croydon Council manages just under 40 have “Friends” groups. To us, having visited a few the parks with groups seem better – because they have people trying to improve them and by carrying out above the line maintenance that the council cannot stretch too. We asked the parks guys that attend our park and they categorically said they think parks with “Friends of” groups are better places to visit. You only need to look at the development at some local parks to see the benefits of Friends groups.
Friends of groups are the eyes and ears of the park, council and community. Working together with all relevant authorities, partners and charities we can try and tackle crime and antisocial behaviour, deal with health and safety concerns and general maintenance – lobbying the council for change where needed, and seeking funding for bigger and better projects, and doing our bit that we can along the way. We don’t own the park, nor do we think we do; sometimes we are guilty of saying “our” park but that is because it belongs to every person who ever sets foot in it and we are proud.
We all pay our taxes – but everyone knows the truth is that resource is thinly spread, and Croydon Council cannot do everything everyone wants – that is where we can perhaps help