Friends of Winsford Gardens [also known as Penge Green Gym]


Your story

We are a group of local volunteers busy transforming a previously neglected park into a vibrant green space for the community to enjoy throughout the year

Group introduction

Set-up in 2011 by The Conservation Volunteers we are now an independent body, run by a small committee. We organise weekly gardening sessions with the aim of enhancing the environment for visitors, increasing biodiversity in the gardens, and helping volunteers improve their physical and mental well-being.

Enhancements to the environment:

restored formal rose beds;
created a children's natural play area;
built a woodland path to open-up access to particular areas;
constructed raised beds for herbs and vegetables for consumption;
improved public safety by removing overgrown vegetation and creating better sight-lines

Increasing biodiversity:
bog garden, native hedgerows, insect hotels and bird boxes, urban orchard, small wildlife pond under construction

Helping volunteers improve their physical and mental well-being:
promoting exercise and good diet;
teaching safe working practices, and encouraging team-work;
socialising over refreshments;
providing welcome and friendship to all volunteers, including recently retired, unemployed, younger adults with learning difficulties, recovering addicts, and referrals from social care agencies

How would this funding have an impact on your community?

The park is located just off a busy main thoroughfare between Penge and Croydon. Having restored and created interesting features in the gardens, we recognise the need to 'just sit and view' and soak up the calming atmosphere of the gardens in an otherwise hectic urban location.
As the park attracts a wider range of visitors we have become aware of the lack of seating for older and less able-bodied people, and parents with younger children. So we plan to spend the money on constructing sturdy park benches.
Such a project also gives our volunteers a new challenge and will have a positive impact on their self-esteem. We often receive very positive comments from park users who really appreciate all our hard work.
We anticipate the benches would be very durable, and any maintenance would be undertaken by our group.
Overall, this development would benefit several hundred people, both regular visitors, and those who attend our annual open day.

"" a valuable, valued and well-run asset for the local community. It's a site that welcomes and draws the visitor into it and has a safe, friendly and secure feel. It is a great example of a community-based project. All involved with it should be congratulated". Denis Holmes, Keep Britain Tidy/ Green Flag Community Award adjudicator."

For more information visit: green gym