Over the last few years Beckenham Place Park has been undergoing a regeneration project to restore some of the 18th century buildings in the park and make the park more accessible and enjoyable to the local community. The park and its 400-year-old woodland are Lewisham’s largest green space at 237 acres. A dedicated team of volunteers help manage the woodland by defining paths, so people don’t stray from them and damage wildlife, maintaining existing ones and clearing non-native plants that are detrimental and sometimes even toxic to native flora. Lately they have been focusing their efforts on creating more light for new trees and ground plants to grow by clearing dense holly patches. Their efforts are part of a 10 year plan devised by an ecologist to ensure the woods are healthier and offer diverse habitats for the wildlife.
The volunteers play an active role in the maintenance of the park and enjoy working in the community garden where they grow seasonal produce. They have built raised beds and a straw bale garden where onions, broad beans and tomatoes amongst others, have happily grown over the last couple of years. Once harvested, the fresh produce is divided between the volunteers and in the future, the plan is to sell the surplus to the local cafes and park goers too. All proceedings will go to the volunteer’s fund to purchase new equipment and materials.
Most volunteers are local to the area but everyone who is looking for a way to get active, meet new friends and cultivate mindfulness is welcome to join the team!
Want to volunteer?
When the volunteers meet
- Tuesday 12:30 to 3:30pm
- Friday 10am to 1pm (these sessions are more suitable for anyone with less mobility)
- Last Saturday of the month 10:30am to 1pm.
For more information and to check availability for sessions, email firstname.lastname@example.org. All equipment is provided but please dress appropriately for the weather and work in the woodland. Volunteers should be 16 and older but parents may bring their children to the Saturday sessions.
Volunteers have found the sessions therapeutic and very instructive; many have no prior knowledge of gardening or woodland management and have learnt valuable skills they can then apply to their own gardens. Volunteering at Beckenham Place Park is a great opportunity to give back to the park and the community, but it’s mostly a great way to become part of a friendly and attentive team of locals from all walks of life. They share ideas for the park and community garden as well as the occasional game of cricket when it isn’t raining. Sessions run all year long, come rain or shine.
The volunteering team work to maintain biodiversity in the park as well as recycling and upcycling as much as possible when creating and mending things in the garden. Their work is a great example of sustainable and mindful development in the greater Lewisham community.