Friends groups: powerful, but patchy


There are around 900 parks friends groups in London involving 100,000 volunteers. Many are instrumental in driving forward improvements to play facilities but some boroughs are missing out according to a CPRE London report.


CPRE London runs the GoParksLondon project and works with the London Friends of Green Spaces Network (LFGN) to support London’s park friends groups. It has recently published a report looking at which London boroughs benefit most from their work. The report estimates that friends volunteers contribute around 900,000 hours (equivalent to 30 people working eight hours a day for ten years!), acknowledging: “These groups make an enormous contribution to the maintenance and improvement of London’s parks, and to ensuring health and wellbeing benefits are maximised.”

But some boroughs are better served than others, the report finds. Nine London boroughs have 40 or more friends groups; Southwark and Richmond are top with 80 and 77 groups respectively. Five boroughs have six or fewer groups: Barking & Dagenham, Bexley, Hillingdon, Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster.

The report includes information from a 2021 survey showing that over 90 per cent of friends groups do volunteering and run small events; 84 per cent have applied for grants to make improvements. Although in terms of physical improvements, planting is top of the priority list for most groups, playgrounds and play spaces were frequently mentioned by survey participants as top achievements.

You can view the full report here

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