Minutes of Meeting, January 2011

FRIENDS OF MARYON AND MARYON WILSON PARKS

Minutes of meeting, January 2011

Venue: Kinveachy Gardens

Date: Thursday January 13th 2011

Present (19): Tim (chair), Steve (secretary), Gulle (treasurer), Edna, Roger, Paul, Cecil, Mickey, Jason, Pat, Liz, Grace, Evelyn, Alison, Claire, John and Hazel, Catherine, Christine.

Apologies: Michelle, Elen, Carol, Roden.

Minutes of previous meeting: Accepted.

Matters arising:

The Riverside Safer Neighbourhood Team had confirmed that they did have a key to Maryon Park and could obtain access even when it was locked.

MWP Animal Care Centre campaign

Since our previous meeting in November, plans had been revealed to close the Animal Care Centre by April 2012 as part of Council cuts. The cost of the centre was put at £42,000 per year and there was one permanent employee (the stockman Richard).

Alison and Claire were introduced as the founders of the very successful Facebook campaign against this closure, which they had started independently of the Friends group. From attracting 134 followers in the first 24 hours, it had reached more than 2,100 followers by the evening of our meeting.

They had also set up an online petition, though those signing it should be aware that the donation requested goes to the website, not the cause. Claire volunteered to be a link between the campaign and Thorntree school.

Tim reported back from a meeting on January 4th with Cllr John Fahy, who said that the Council was facing cuts of 42 per cent over three years. Some of his suggestions for the Animal Care Centre were:

  1. To be run by the Woodlands Farm Trust.
  2. To be run as a social enterprise trust.
  3. To be run a city farm, which implied building work, a change of nature etc.
  4. To be taken over by a Friends group or a group of volunteers.
  5. Charging for visits by schools etc.

Cllr Fahy said the Council were not looking for a sponsor, as had been reported. Funds were in place until April 2012 but a decision would have to be made before the end of 2011.

Tim reported that when Maryon Wilson Park was originally gifted to the London County Council there were a number of covenants such as not erecting buildings and maintaining the rural atmosphere. We were investigating whether any of these might cover the deer.

A long discussion ensued, in which the only possibility that seemed feasible to us was option 1). Even then it was doubted whether Woodlands would have sufficient finance and/or volunteers to take over the running of the Centre.

Other suggestions included: Letters to councillors and Nick Raynsford MP; a physical petition as well as an online one; protest march to the Town Hall; a formal letter from us to the Council expressing our dismay; posters and further press coverage.

It was agreed to form a sub-committee of Tim, Jason, Alison and Claire to consider these options and implement the best of them. Jason would start a campaign page on our website www.friendsofmaryonparks.org

Feedback from Clear-Up days: December’s clear-up had effectively been cancelled because of the very bad weather. Four volunteers had turned out on New Year’s Day, to whom many thanks. Next Clear-Up Day: Saturday February 5th.

Website: Jason had created a page listing our press releases and press coverage and would add a campaign page.

Food group: Edna, Tim and Mickey had met the co-ordinator of the Greenwich Co-Operative Development Agency and visited our proposed food-growing site in Maryon Park. There was a certain amount of Japanese knotweed there. The Council was prepared to provide mulch etc. It was suggested that we make contact with the local residents associations from the nearby flats and keep them informed of our plans, as well as the campaign.

Bats: Catherine and Gulle had attended a meeting on bat training, identification and detection. A local bat walk or a survey was planned at sunrise and/or sunset in July.

Bids and funding: We were hoping to receive a grant of £3,500 shortly for our Tree Walk project.

Friends Event Co-Ordinator: University of East London had not received any offers from students but were keen to keep in touch with us.

Correspondence received:

1.Sadly the death had been reported of Jeremy Cotton, a long-standing environmentalist and staunch supporter of Greenwich Wildlife Advisory Group.

2. There is a Winter Wildlife lecture at Blackheath High School on Thursday January 20th (7.30, £5 inc wine).

3. The Parks Forum was working on a new core strategy for Greenwich. Gulle would attend the AGM on January 27th. Funding of £33,000 was available for the 2011 ParksFest cultural events and £40,000 for the following Olympic year. In November the Forum had heard from some of the six wardens dealing with Enviro-cime including fly-tipping, abandoned vehicles, dog nuisance etc. Their contact number is 07089 214 661.

4. Email messages had been received requesting interviews about the Animal Care Centre campaign from QE hospital radio and Eglinton school, both of which Tim was undertaking.

Treasurer’s Report: 554 of our Christmas cards had been sold, leaving some 450 left for next year. Receipts were £255, only £90 short of the total printing cost. Special thanks to Edna for selling 280. The balance of our account was £641.99 in the black with petty cash of £15.01.

Any other business: Christine drew attention to the nationwide Save Our Forest campaign for those interested.

Date of next meeting: Thursday March 10th, 7.15 for 7.30 at Kinveachy Gardens.

Steve Tongue, Secretary