Newsletter Winter 2017

2017 Rookery Christmas Fair and Market

Plans are well underway for our annual fund raising Christmas Fair to be held this year on Sunday 17th December. The fair will be open from 11.30am to 4.00pm.

Located within the grounds of our beautiful Rookery, this is the third year for the event and is a brilliant day out for adults and kids alike. What better way to spend the last Sunday before Christmas with some traditional cheer and grab that last minute gift!

This year will feature over 40 stalls with local arts and crafts, gifts, hampers, home wares, clothing and treats. Hot and cold delicious food will be available, alongside soft drinks, a mulled wine stall and our on site Brewers, Inkspot, who will be serving their craft beers, ales and lagers.

New for this year will be the Marshmallow Toasting area and flame garden. Come along and warm your fingers whilst eating a gooey marshmallow treat!

The Big Top will be back with workshops to book on the day that will include woodland crafts, Christmas decorations and storytelling.

Our beautiful Winter Wonderland Santa's Grotto will be open from 11.30, with a donation of £3 per child. Each child will receive a gift from Father Christmas.

Musical entertainment will come from our favourite, DJ Tony, alongside songs by Sing Out Streatham and a gorgeous Carols by Candlelight led by the Streatham Central Church. Do stay, light a candle, grab a glass of mulled wine and enjoy this perfect end to the day.

We’re always on the look-out for volunteers to help out at our events, especially the Christmas Fair. If you could help us out for all or just part of the day we would be most grateful. Please contact [email protected]

The fair is proudly sponsored by Douglas & Gordon and we are very grateful for their continued support.

For Christmas Fair information, get in touch with [email protected].

 

News from the Garden

 

We have had a very busy season, but the hard work of the staff and volunteers has certainly paid off. We won a Silver Award from London in Bloom and retained our Green Flag Award for 2017/18. Really marvellous to see the Rookery starting to gain the recognition it deserves, onward and upwards for next year!

Alongside all the plant activity in the gardens it’s great to see all the human activity taking place here too. There always seem to be friendly faces around. Not only our regular members of the public but our gardening volunteers, woodland workers, Lambeth Mencap volunteers and our friends from the community garden. Of course as the brewery gears up for action we’re seeing lots of the Inkspot team too. One only had to take a stroll up to the café or the paddling pool during the summer to realise the whole place is really becoming a popular, buzzing place to visit. We should all feel very proud.

A few words horticulturally wise. As has been mentioned in the past we really benefit from some interesting planting designs in the garden. However gardens are always evolving. Some plants don’t manage and others think they can take over the whole bed. So it is a constant juggle trying to keep the overall picture looking good. In the White Garden for instance the Phlox paniculata was incredibly boisterous, smothering quite a few of the more tender plants. A “rationalisation” earlier in the year left some gaps in the planting. These were filled with some amazing dahlias – White Sensation, and they certainly were! We have also planted some white echium which we have great hopes for next year. A real perk of the job is the chance to choose some interesting plants for the garden.

A quick word on next year, a donation from the Streatham Society has allowed us to plant up the lavender borders either side of the main staircase. Another donation from the Friends of Streatham Common has allowed us to plant nearly 2000 bulbs, mostly tulips but also 1000 native bluebells in the small woodland at the end of the White Garden.

 

 

The Local Nature Reserve (LNR)

Mered who is our LNR officer has been cracking on with work. A major task is trying to slow down the serious erosion to the soil in the woodland which is having a negative effect. Lack of soil means not much can grow, consequently this has a detrimental effect on flora and fauna and will over time threaten the trees themselves.

Working in partnership with London Wildlife Trust’s Great North Wood Project http://www.wildlondon.org.uk/great-north-wood there is much to do and plenty for you to get involved with. Winter is the busiest time for this type of work and Mered is holding regular volunteering sessions during the week and one weekend a month – what better way to work off that post Christmas bulge!

Drop him a line and get involved [email protected].

 

The Future

 

SCCoop has managed services for the Rookery since February 2015, and we think we have built up an impressive local reputation with users. Building on our positive early delivery of services in the Rookery, we expanded into voluntary management of some aspects of the wider Common, notably to reopen the free paddling pool and to deliver ecology work for the first time in the Local Nature Reserve.

 

We have used the core funding we get from Lambeth Council to leverage significant additional funding. This partnership approach is a model of co-operative working and has rejuvenated this important green space. We are now looking ahead to services beyond October 2018 when our current partnership agreement with Lambeth Council ends.

 

Here are just some of the things we’ve achieved together:

 

  • Community led not-for-profit co-operative with 550 shareholders
  • Visible improvement in horticultural standards and maintenance of the Rookery
  • Engagement with the community through well-attended public meetings, social media and publicity
  • Employment of more staff and an apprentice on an accredited scheme, all based in the park
  • Ongoing partnership with Mencap and other local groups
  • Additional external income from a fund raising with regular events including a very popular Christmas market and summer music event “Rookfest” giving promotion to local artists. 
  • Additional income from revenue from previously unused buildings, and better use of existing assets
  • Additional income from sponsorship deals and grants with local trusts and the Heritage Lottery Fund
  • Additional un-funded services including operating the paddling pool, security and ecology work in the Local Nature Reserve
  • Huge numbers of volunteers from gardeners to fundraisers to Directors – providing thousands of hours of free services from planting to accounting

 

We believe we add significant value:

 

  • Securing income: In this financial year, for every £1 Lambeth pays in the core operating grant, SCCoop has raised an additional £2.
  • Encouraging volunteers: SCCoop has facilitated 2733 hours of additional gardening and management time over the last year.
  • Investing in people: Increasing skills and creating employment though apprenticeships and working with diverse community groups.
  • Improving public confidence: Highly visible on-site presence and dramatically improved services.

 

We hope that you will support us as we negotiate to continue our services beyond October next year.

 

Playground Update

 

We are nearly there… 

 

The playground is scheduled to be opened by the Mayor on Saturday 16th December at 10am.  There will also be a craft activity for children to help mark the occasion.

 

Planning permission for a small kiosk next to the playground to serve drinks and snacks has been applied for. 

 

The refurbished building will provide a kiosk overlooking the playground, new office space for grounds maintenance staff and storage.  Posters about this will be put up by the playground on the 16th.