Friends of Oaks Park was formally constituted in 1997 and recognised by the Council. It is group of volunteers who care about the Oaks Park and do all we can to support it. We have a small committee of up to 10 people and our officers are elected at our annual meeting in November.
The group works in an advisory capacity with the Council and its contractors to promote the park and ensure the highest standards of maintenance are achieved. We also work closely with the leaseholders of the café and others to improve the amenities available. From time to time, we organise working parties of volunteers to undertake specific jobs around the park, including litter picking, tree planting, dead-heading and planting bulbs. We also run information stands at larger events, such as the Carshalton Artists’ Open Studios (CAOS) weekends in June/July.
We represent the Oaks on Sutton Council’s Carshalton and Clockhouse Local Committee and have been successful in securing public realm funding for a number of projects including:
We are keen to work with other organisations when we can. Most recently we have been developing our links with the Downlands Trust and their main sponsor, Fidelity. We have also worked with the local archaeological society and Friends of Honeywood Museum in carrying out archaeological digs in Oaks Park in 2009 and 2011, which have which have contributed enormously to our knowledge of the history of The Oaks.
In the autumn of 2014, we worked with Carshalton Beeches Rotary Club and the Council to plant 200 saplings of various woodland species in the park, supplied by the Woodland Trust to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. A commemorative bench was also installed.
In 2018, we were given 100 saplings by the Mayor of London and the Conservation Volunteers to contribute to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy Project, one of the late Queen’s legacy projects. This was led by the Council’s Trees Officer, Ben Morris, and the trees were planted in torrential rain in December! In 2022, we embarked on a very ambitious project to plant a new Jubilee Copse in the park to mark H.M. the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and create our own legacy. 30 mature trees were planted by families and friends on 10thDecember 2022 and we’re now rolling that project forward.
Since 2019, we have been looking more closely at conservation issues, tackling climate change and promoting chalk grassland habitats with the Council’s Senior Biodiversity Officer. Two chalk scrapes have been created and a new butterfly bank. We have organised walks to look at the flora and fauna, including Dawn Chorus walks and a late-night walk to track the many bats active around the park. In 2023 we will be doing more walks and hope to organise a Meadow Day.
We have also encouraged new activities in the park, such as Tai Chi, brass band concerts and established an informal gardening group. We ran art competitions for landscape artists and children in 2022 and will be doing more in 2023. We do all this working with the Council and their contractors. In 2021 and 2022, Oaks Park was given a gold award by London in Bloom and was awarded a Green Flag to show it is a safe, well-managed park. We are very proud to receive these awards and hope to keep them in 2023!
We have also been featured in Sutton Scene, the Council’s weekly newsletter, about the work of Friends Groups and our Chairman was interviewed on BBC Radio Surrey. We are always keen to encourage more people to get involved.
If you would like to join us, please complete an application form using the link below. Please send it to our Treasurer at the address on the form, with your subscription. The current fees (per household) are:
£5 per year or £25 for life membership.