Friends of Albion Millennium Green are contacting our neighbours to share visions for the Green in 2016:
Albion Millennium Green is a much loved local green oasis, owned by a very small charity, the Albion Millennium Green Trust, Reg No. 1070868, whose aims are to:
- make a substantial contribution to the life of the whole community
- be able to be enjoyed by people of all ages and physical abilities
- be open and evident to visitors to the locality, as well as inhabitants
- be an attractive place for people to air and exercise, meet others and pursue leisure activities and pastimes consistent with shared enjoyment of the whole of the land
- include an area suitable for community events and celebrations
- include significant “natural” areas where people can enjoy nature and wildlife at first hand
- make a positive contribution to the local environment and respect the established character of the area
- remain safely and conveniently accessible from inhabitants’ homes
Working in support of the aims of the Trust is the volunteer group Friends of Albion Millennium Green, which organizes upkeep and activities on the Green.
As we start 2016, we wish to share our current hopes and plans for the Green with our neighbours, and how we mean to balance the requirements of supporting both nature and people. We also want to know what you hope for it, and any thoughts you have about how it should be used and supported. As a Friends groups we have regular meetings, including an Annual General Meeting to be held at Forest Hill Pools, 11.00 am Saturday February 13th, to which you are very welcome, but please feel free to get in touch any time with any thoughts you have about the Green.
Follow these links to learn what we are thinking about, and post comments below, or email via our contact form with your thoughts.
Chair, Friends of Albion Millennium Green
A fuller version of this shared vision can be downloaded as a Word document from the following link:
Until 1984 the Green was a Tennis Club, and some net posts can still be found on the site. However, in the thirty years since, it has evolved into an ecologically interesting mix of woodland and open spaces, thanks largely to nature, but also the work of volunteers keeping the open spaces mown. Left to itself, the Green would by now be overcome by brambles and fast growing sycamore trees, with litter and fly tipping building up beneath them.
In 2016 the Friends aim to increase the natural richness of the Green as follows:
- New plantings to fill gaps in the mixed species hedge along railway path
- Renovation of overgrown Privet hedge
- Planting of perennial woodland edge and shade species
- In a proposed ‘natural play area’ replace self-seeded sycamores with a Hazel coppice
- Remove boundary sycamores and chain link tennis fencing, and replace with native broad leaved species
- Create new pond for frogs and newts with a low fence constructed from materials found on site, to replace our existing pond damaged by large dogs piercing the membrane
- Increase variety or native perennials in the flowering slope. This is next to the area where the tennis clubhouse stood, and where the ‘labyrinth’ is now. The area and nearby has little soil, so is not so well suited to the growth of trees
- Develop a fruiting hedge the other side of the labyrinth, with native species such as Blackthorn, Guelder rose and Damson
- A “Bee Friendly” wildflower ‘river’ on the banks of a 15 meter section of curving pathway
- A living roof for our new metal storage container, and insect habitats specially designed for the three walls of the container
- Construction and installation of ten bird boxes and four bat boxes
Enriching People’s Use of the Green
The Friends have also helped establish several features on the Green to increase the enjoyment of humans while respecting the role of nature. One example is the ‘labyrinth’ made of stones installed where the tennis club house used to be. Another is the giant bird’s nest, which is much enjoyed by children.
In 2016 the Friends mean to continue this tradition with
- Another giant nest, with simple log seating and a table constructed from found materials on site, to be used by children for play and picnics.
- Signage to guide people around the site, drawing attention to the creatures and plants they might see as they explore.
- On the main notice board, provide information the Green and its wildlife, including a butterfly map, bird map, insect map, and amphibian map, and some historical background information about The Green.
- An ecological play area in a little-used part of the Green, including the construction of a climbing frame designed around a huge Horse Chestnut tree that was felled because it had died and was overhanging the railway line. This will also incorporate an earth pit, instead of a sand pit, where people can plant seeds, or just dig in the earth for fun, using simple, easily replaceable tools constructed from materials found on site.
The Community Orchard
The Friends have been responsible for planting cultivated fruit tree varieties: such as apples, pears, damsons, plums and even a mulberry. Cultivation does not include artificial or chemical methods.
In 2016 the Friends
- Will keep space round these trees clear of brambles and nettles
- Look forward to learning of how any visitors to the Green do use any of the fruit
Keeping it Tidy
In recent years the Friends have removed large amounts of rubbish dumped on the Green, but there is still some more to go, as well as remains of chain link fencing from the tennis club, and the task of keeping on top of litter.
In 2016 the Friends will:
- Aim to raise money to restore the main gate to the site, so preventing motor cycles and vehicles getting on the Green
- Recognise the continuing contributions of volunteers who mow our meadow areas and cut back overgrowing vegetation, supporting them with access to tools available in the newly installed secure on-site storage
- Thank the many local dog walkers who carefully clear up after their dogs
- Run volunteering days the second Saturday of every month, which will always include some litter picking
- Encourage other volunteers and groups to help with the task of keeping the Green tidy
Welcoming the Community
Those who come to the Green to sit and rest, walk their dogs, have picnics etc. are already the community as welcomed by the Friends.
In addition, in 2016, the Friends aim to
- Promote / encourage events
- Increase involvement with the Friends group
- Continue liaison and work with schools and other groups and organizations in the area
Letting People Know
The Trust was able to buy the Green with Lottery Fund and Lewisham Council grants thanks to a local campaign against an alternative proposal for development. However, with pressure on land in London having only increased over the last thirty years, the long term future of the Green is only secure if it can be seen to be being well used.
To this end, in 2016 the Friends will campaign for funds to
- Obtain good quality signage to the Green on lamp posts at:
- Forest Hill Station
- Dartmouth Road / Sydenham Park Road corner
- Entrance to Albion Villas Road
- Make more effective use of notices on the Green, possibly replacing them with weather proof notice boards which will be are less vulnerable to vandalism.
- Make more effective use of local newsletters, publicity material distributed via local shops and facilities, web sites and other social media.
- Meet other local groups to tell them about the Green. Friends members are regular attendees at Forest Hill Local Assemblies, but we also want to meet tenants’ and residents’ associations, social housing providers, schools, youth and civic and business organisations,
Longfield Crescent Development
The need for more housing in London is reflected in LB Lewisham’s current proposals to build more homes on the neighbouring Longfield Crescent estate.
In 2016 the Friends will:
- Continue to meet LB Lewisham officers and liaise with the site contractor to achieve the best possible mutual outcome of these developments
Between them, the Friends and the Trust have sufficient funds to pay for public liability insurance. For all other activities including essential work to the Green let alone enhancements, we have to seek funds from grant-making organizations and private donations. The Friends have succeeded in getting funding for several projects, such as the installation of a kissing gate to the railway path, tools, and the installation of secure storage for tools, much of this thanks to the Forest Hill Local Assembly. Currently the Friends are working on several funding applications to different grant-making organizations, which, if successful, will have to be used for specific projects or items. Neither the Trust nor the Friends are permitted to run commercial activities and so all our work is dependent upon goodwill and charitable and other donations.
In 2016 the Friends will
- Explore funding applications
- Encourage existing and new supporters to set up standing orders, and allow them to reclaim tax on their donations
- Meet potential donors to discuss their priorities for the Green