The Friends of Hillside Gardens Park and Palace Road Nature Garden is a registered charity established in the early 2000s by the local community. Our aim to protect and improve, promote and enjoy both the park and the nature garden.
The group was formed in response to significant levels of anti-social behaviour in the park and has done an enormous amount of work to improve the facilities and bring people into the park.
We hold the council to account for the service they provide, work with them on improving facilities and help them by keeping an eye on things that need fixing. We also run community events such as our popular sports day and fundraise for new facilities. Over at Palace Road, the group has secured £10,000’s pounds of grant funding that has transformed the Nature Garden.
In recent years the work of the Friends has become more important than ever as Lambeth has cut the budget for parks and we are facing an uncertain future. We invested significant amount of time in a project to see if the park could be managed by a local cooperative but for a variety of reasons this didn’t come about. Our work continues and we are currently looking organising a rota of volunteers to lock the park at night as the council are with drawing this service. A strong and active Friends group will be needed to keep the park and nature garden in the best possible condition as the cuts continue to affect the park.
The work of the Friends is carried out by a group of volunteers and we are always keen for more people to get involved (contact us here). There are a range of tasks big and small from keeping our website up to date, fundraising, taking minutes at meetings, volunteering at events, etc.
We meet 3 to 4 times a year in the St Simon and St Jude Church Hall next door to the park. These meetings are open to everyone who wants to find out more about what’s happening in the park – there is always tea and biscuits.
If you want to keep in touch with us you can join our email list.
You can also visit our facebook page
The Friends is funded entirely by voluntary contributions and grants for one-off projects. If you would like to donate to our work then please contact us.
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The Future of the Park
Just under £600,000 of funding is available to be spent on Hillside Gardens Park. This comes from the community infrastructure levy charge which Lambeth Council has raised from the developer of the London Square development on Streatham High Road. Ward councillors have successfully ensured that the money is assigned to Hillside Gardens Park. A working group is in place to explore and oversee how the funds will be spent on the park. This group is comprised of representatives from the Friends of Hillside Gardens Park (Tom Stanbury – Chair) and Nigel Duckers (Minutes Secretary) together with Dino Skeete (Serious About Tennis) and Cath Raitt (representing residents of a local estate). The working group is supported by a project manager – Rob Kelly – working for Lambeth Council. In addition, a landscape architect (Joe Todd from Turkington Martin) has been contracted by Lambeth Council to identify design and improvement opportunities for the park. The current plans and ideas are summarized in this document here. You can also find more information here, here, and here.
Our Biggest Achievements
- We obtained £30,000 pounds funding for the regeneration of the sports terraces with two courts converted for football/basketball use and two improved for tennis.
- In 2005 we worked closely with Lambeth Parks to redevelop the children’s playground, raising £60,000 of the £135,000 budget.
- In recent years we’ve held picnics in the park and sports days with a huge range of free sports coaching for kids and adults.
- £10,000’s of pounds raised for work at Palace Road Nature Garden including a brilliant new mural that was unveiled by local hero Levi Roots.
- Working with Serious About Tennis to establish a strong program of tennis coaching in the park.
- Our gardening group has transformed the area behind the toilet block into a thriving allotment site with a range of people growing food. We’ve also installed planters at the top of the park behind the benches and next to the One O’Clock Club.
- Planted 10 new fruit trees around the park as part of The Orchard Project. These will be bearing more and more fruit in the coming years!
- We persuading Network Rail to install a new fence along the entire Southern boundary of the park.
- We organized a design-a-poster competition with local primary schools to encourage greater responsibility among dog owners using the park.