What happened at our AGM?

What happened at our AGM?

More than 45 local residents turned out on a very cold night on January 16th to attend the FoRP AGM at the Temple Bowling Club.

Sustained by Turkish meze, they heard local councillor Deepak Sardiwal praise the results of successful collaborations between Lambeth Council, FoRP and volunteers who so generously give their time.

Friends of Ruskin Park activities and plans

The first part of the meeting focused on our own activities and plans as a charity.

The many Friends of Ruskin Park activities and initiatives in Ruskin Park last year were outlined by our outgoing co-chair, Lucy Hadfield. You can read details of these, together with our future plans, in our Annual Report

Key successes include the refurbishment of the playground, a successful programme of summer events and the continued impact of volunteer gardening on the park.

All of the past and future events and activities outlined at the AGM depend on the contributions of volunteers working alongside Lambeth staff and FoRP committee members and we’re keen to hear from anyone who might like to join us to help Ruskin Park continue to provide a haven for local residents. Your park needs you!

Q&A with Lambeth Council

In the second part of the meeting we heard from Kevin Crook, Assistant Director of Neighbourhoods at Lambeth. He started by telling the meeting that the Council’s current strategic plan includes planting 5,000 trees across the borough including in Ruskin Park – many sponsored by FoRP or individual donors – to replace those that have died and to increase biodiversity.

He stressed that although Lambeth Council faces serious financial pressures, it recognizes the vital importance of parks to residents and is focusing on income generation targets to ensure that Lambeth can continue to support the current level of input to its parks across the borough.

Kevin shared some specific updates:

  • Following the opening of the new playground, the next phase of improvement works will include a new seating area in front of the café, repairs to paths, refurbishment of the toilets and reinstatement of lighting on the main east-west path.
  • The project to create a new football pitch and multi-use games areas on the gravel pitches – with funding from the Football Foundation – remains at an early stage. However, following feedback the size of the artificial grass pitch has been reduced from 9-a-side to 7-a-side with more space for unbooked informal games.
  • A proposal has been made to use part of the redundant depot area for a community sauna run by a not-for-profit organisation as a ‘meanwhile’ use. However, this is being trialled in another park in the borough first.
  • Kevin shared that Lambeth are trialling leaving more parks unlocked at night. Ruskin Park is one of only 14 that are currently locked, but three are currently being left unlocked during a 9-month trial. It’s possible that Ruskin Park will be part of a future trial.
  • Attendees also raised concerns about the condition of the derelict stable block. Kevin reported that a decision on funding for the planned refurbishment would be made soon.

Friends of Ruskin Park committee members will continue to seek updates on these and other issues. Please subscribe to our newsletter to keep informed.