Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Kennington Park Flower Garden

Kate Hoey MP and Neil Coyle MP are formally reopening the flower garden in Kennington Park on SATURDAY 18 JULY.

Queries to Stephen Lawlor (stephen@kenningtonpark.org)

Best wishes,
Gordon Johnston

Kennington Park’s Flower Garden reopens after £500k redesign

MP’s Kate Hoey and Neil Coyle will officially reopen the Flower Garden in Kennington Park on 18th July following extensive renovations and redesign costing £500,000.
The work, lasting 5 months and made possible by grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Lambeth council and the Friends of Kennington Park, has transformed this part of the park. Formerly a neglected space which was a magnet for antisocial behaviour and crime, the Flower Garden is once again the lush, quiet oasis it was originally meant to be when it was first created in the 1930s.
The garden now boasts newly landscaped formal beds stocked with a wide range of plants, new and more numerous benches and completely re-laid, level pathways. An extra entrance has been created and the defunct lily pond reinstated.
Another new addition to the garden is the sundial which replaces one destroyed by vandalism. Designed and made by Sam Flintham, a recent graduate from City and Guilds School of Art, the sundial was commissioned by the Friends following a competition with other students.
Once the Flower Garden is reopened, it will host a whole range of activities and events to encourage people to use and explore this new part of their park.
Led by Activities Manager Stephen Lawlor, the events will include a seasonal activities programme for children and families, walking tours of the garden, chances to explore wild life and projects in music, arts, creative writing and oral history.  The annual programme, to be launched at the garden’s reopening celebrations, will culminate in the inaugural Kennington Park Flower Festival during summer 2016.  There will also be a number of educational activities that will be offered to local schools from September 2015.
Gordon Johnston, Chairman of the Friends of Kennington Park, says “it is very exciting to see this long held ambition to renovate the Flower Garden finally come to fruition. It’s on time and on budget and has reclaimed this wonderful part of the park for everyone to enjoy. We hope people will get involved with the various activities we’ve got planned and that they love the new garden as much as park users loved the 1930s original.”
Cllr Jane Edbrooke, Lambeth’s cabinet member for Neighbourhoods, says “We are grateful to the Heritage Lottery fund for their generous grant which enabled Lambeth to embark on the project. I would also particularly like to thank the project manager and the professional team, led by Land Use Consultants, and the contractors, Gavin Jones Ltd, who carried out the work with such skill.”
Kate Hoey and Neil Coyle have both praised the initiation of the project by the Friends and the wide support it has enjoyed from the community in both Lambeth and Southwark.
 “Now it is restored we hope to see the garden used by a wider range of people from the local community.  An ambitious activity plan has been devised by the Friends to achieve this over the next 12 months, with participation from schools in Lambeth and Southwark and input from a range of volunteers.
We hope this leads to the creation of a body of volunteers who know the garden and will work to safeguard its future welfare”.


Contact details:           Stephen Lawlor
Heritage Activities Manager
Friends of Kennington Park


Notes for Editors
The Heritage Lottery Fund gave an initial grant of £21,000 to plan the restoration and carry out public consultation. Following a joint application with the plans by Lambeth Council and the Friends of Kennington Park, the Fund gave a further grant of £374,600 to implement the project.
Total cost. In addition to the HLF grant, Lambeth Council contributed £80,000 in cash. The Friends have contributed £3,000 in cash to cover the cost of the sundial and its installation and pledged £50,000 of volunteer time. Total cost exceeds £500,000.
The professional team was led by Shaffique Manson-Visram, Lambeth’s project manager. Land Use Consultants (LUC) were the designers; the landscape contractor was Gavin Jones Ltd. Ongoing maintenance of the park, including the garden, is carried out by Veolia.
Kennington Park  now covers some 38 acres, and was created in 1854. It includes many historic features, and is heavily used by local people from Lambeth and Southwark.  It is owned and maintained by Lambeth Council. The original flower garden was opened in 1931; many original features have been retained.
The ‘Friends of Kennington Park’ was formed in 2002. Since then it has raised external funds from the Lottery and other institutions, as well as their own members and supporters to enable over £1m of improvements to be undertaken. The Friends’ work is entirely based on volunteers. They have over 400 members and supporters.

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