Parks are great places where all sections of our communities can come together to relax and enjoy ourselves. So that people can do that in Lordship Rec, Tottenham’s largest public park, we’ve helped transform it into a beautiful space for everyone to use. In 2012 following years of continuous effort, public consultation, campaigning, and partnership-working between the Friends of Lordship Rec, the Council’s Parks Service & others – backed by massive support from local people – the park received £4m from the Lottery, totalling £5m capital funding from all sources, and £2m revenue ‘match’ funding from the Council for a 10 year management plan (co-written by the Council and community).
The improvements included a new, community-run ‘Hub’ with cafe and toilets; a new staff depot; restoration of the river, Shell Theatre and model traffic area; more trees, meadows and flower beds; a BMX track; improved maintenance and management; and much more. The community is now helping manage the various facilities, areas, and the park as a whole.
The Friends of Lordship Rec formed in 2001. As regular users, we realised there was a crying need for the basics of any decent large park – public toilets, better play equipment, proper maintenance of paths and benches, good management and daily on-site staffing, good quality and staffed buildings, refreshments and so on. This is what we campaigned for, and now have!
The Friends, Council, other key User Groups and local community organisations work together through the Lordship Rec Users Forum monthly meetings (chaired by the Friends) to run through all repair and maintenance issues, work out what further improvements the park needs, and how to manage the park together.
As well as the 2012 major regeneration works, previous successes include the active play areas by the Shell Theatre, on-site staffing, and the Harmony Gardens food-growing voluntary project. In 2015 the Friends mounted a huge and successful campaign against a threat by Council planners to promote future house-building on a third of the Rec. Over the last 15 years, we have taken charge of improving the lake, orchard and woodland areas, published leaflets and history pamphlets, promoted biodiversity in the Rec, organised a range of activities and events + helped co-ordinate annual events and festivals – 8,000 attended in 2012. We manage the park’s noticeboards. We set up a community Co-operative to manage the Hub building and cafe. Not bad for a bunch of local volunteers! It’s great that there are now around 20 different User Groups organising events, activities & speaking up for various interests.
Park usage has tripled. The Friends now have 1400 members, and there are now almost 20 different park user groups promoting cycling, sports and fitness, wildlife, managing the buildings, organising all kinds of events and involving all sections of the community.
Our success has led to national publicity and recognition eg a feature on BBC Countryfile, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yjvb9MxxDrw ; hosting a key meeting of Government Depts and national greenspace organisations, and being the base for the national community empowerment project: parkscommunity.org.uk