Friends of Oaks Park was formally constituted in 1997 and recognised by the Council. It is a voluntary group of people 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 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.
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:
· the history project to mark out the foundation of the Earl of Derby’s house and for five interpretation boards of the history of the park.
· a double-sided interpretation board of chalkland species.
· map of the park installed on a lectern near the café.
· match- funding to supplement the capital grant from Viridor Credits for the provision of the dog free, picnic and natural play area. This was a collaborative project with Carshalton Fields Residents Association.
· planting of two tulip trees.
· New benches and information boards about the new chalk scrapes.
We are keen to work with other organisations when we can. Most recently we have been developing our links with the Downlands Trust and the Friends of Honeywood Museum. We have also worked with the local archaeological society 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 Her Majesty’s legacy projects. This was led by the Council’s Trees Officer, Ben Morris, supported by his staff, our Idverde gardener, 12 members of the Friends, the Mayor and Mayoress of Sutton and our then local MP, Tom Brake. All planted in torrential rain in December! We hope to plant more trees in 2022 to mark H.M. the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
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. We have organised walks to look at the flora and fauna, including a Dawn Chorus walk and a late-night walk to track the many bats active around the park.
We have also encouraged new activities in the park, such as Tai Chi, a brass band concert and established an informal gardening group. We do all this working with the Council and their contractors. In October 2021, 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 now we need to keep them in 2022!
We have also been featured in a video on Sutton Scene, the Council’s weekly newsletter, about the work of Friends Groups and our Chairman was interviewed on BBC Radio Surrey.
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.