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Newsletter – July 2023

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Newsletter – July 2023

Dear Friends,

It has been a month of highs and lows for us. The mindless break-in to our compound felt like a kick in the stomach, but it was soon followed by a simply fantastic Promtastic day. Generally during the month, despite the increasing drought, we kept the plants watered where necessary and the promenade looking splendid.

June highlights

Like last summer, the drought is increasingly felt. Perhaps we need to break out into a ritual dance along the prom to appease the rain gods? Short of a rain dance boogie though, we have again placed three water butts in strategic places along the prom. It helps us to nurture those plants that need it and those freshly planted in spring, their roots still too small to make it on their own. Otherwise, we kept weeding and cleaning, spruced up the Pocket Park, and applied another layer of mulch to some garden areas to help with water retention and weed suppression. Someone was even spotted watering the iconic traffic cone-turned-vase. 

Annoyingly, our compound in the Pocket Park was broken into, all three brand-new doors were prised open, and certain tools went missing. A big thank-you to Graham who discovered the mess and repaired what he could on the spot; he also submitted a police report. RBK Council helped us swiftly to replace the smashed door, thank you Adam (RBK Green Spaces) for organising it! As every cloud has a silver lining though, So-Shan’s messaging on our social media sites resulted in an outpouring of sympathy and support from so many of our followers and residents. Within 3 days we received donations from a long list of wonderful people and groups, which taken together is sufficient to replace the stolen equipment. Needless to say, we are extremely grateful for all the support!

On a high note, we celebrated a sunny PROMTASTIC! on Sunday 25 June. A large crowd of about 70 people (volunteers and residents) turned out to join us for a walk-and-talk along our six gardens. Bunting, speeches, clapping, picnics, community spirit, it was all on impressive display. Madame Mayor and her consort, together with a few of our councillors, would not miss the event either. What a great way it was to demonstrate our collective achievements over the past few years, and share plans for the future. GoodLife Tim added a few riveting historical anecdotes and again pointed out the hilarious circumstances of how this area got its name Queen’s Promenade. In a sweep from the 19th to the 21st century, we could formally open all three new gardens and thank Richard for opening the Sensory Garden, Sarah for doing the same at Raven’s View Garden and the Mayor for rounding the event up by opening the Julian Meers Italian Garden. A happy day for everyone, and lots of congratulations and photos on social media.

Check out this link: https://queenspromenadefriends.org/promtastic-photo-gallery/

Surbiton High School’s ‘Soul in the Community’ project saw another flurry of planting activity in their flower bed on the promenade. Dozens of new plants have been added again and it is understood that Wednesday afternoons will now become regular gardening events for a green-fingered group of pupils. Well done Bee Huntley for leading the charge!

July in focus at QPF

The Pocket Park will receive a brand new path. Work will take place during the week commencing 3 July, the Pocket Park will be closed on Wednesday 5 July. This work is made possible from NCIL (Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy) funding which Graham successfully applied for in winter. The new path surface will be constructed of durable, permeable KBI flexistone, a mix of stone and recycled vehicle tyres (KBI Flexipave | KBI UK | Flexipave). The trip hazards will go and it will improve safety for us, accessibility for visitors and attractiveness for all.

At the end of Figgy slope, we will start creating a new garden, the Bandstand Garden. It will centre around the gloomy raised seating area, possibly once a band stand. As a first step we will need to clear quite a bit of undergrowth, brambles and dead shrubs. The space could have a combination of fresh planting coupled with artful improvements to the seating area: mosaics and painted benches are under consideration. The Surbiton Farmers Market has made a kind donation which will be put to good use here.

New joiners

This month saw new members Leo and John joining some of our volunteering sessions for the first time – and they liked it!  Anyone else who feels the urge to help improve the prom and enjoy our community spirit, please do come down on one of our volunteering days.

Last but not least

If other members haven’t worked with us for a while, or always wanted to but never quite found the time, please don’t be shy. Keen interest, some skills and energy are all that is needed. Please bring some gardening gloves and a mug. We hope you enjoy it.

Please remember to check our various social media sites for regular updates, links shown below. For any donations to the Queen’s Promenade Friends group, please get in touch or use our QR code. Should you wish to make a small regular direct debit contribution, please do get in touch by replying to this email.

Looking forward to seeing you on the Promenade.

Stefan
Chairman

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