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Newsletter – June 2024

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Newsletter – June 2024

Dear Friends,

Have you heard about the benefits of negative ions? These odourless, invisible molecules are created in nature near moving water, and inhaling them is thought to relieve stress and boost energy levels. A walk in the rain is hence thought to be good for body and mind. This must have been the thinking of quite a few of our volunteers who turned out one rather wet afternoon, to continue our prom rejuvenation. Bodies and minds were improved, clothes went onto the drying rack.

May highlights

As is typical for spring, especially a wet one, weeds erupt everywhere and quickly overwhelm and crowd out other plants. Many of our volunteering sessions therefore involved dealing with them and generally maintaining our flower beds, transitioning from the early spring planting to the summer displays. Hand-harvested bunches of thistle bouquets available on request! Our just recently created additional compost bays filled up very quickly indeed. Well done team!

Having trialed the famous Chelsea chop last year, with good results, we have applied it again to all flopping achilleas. A targeted cut-back of some flowers prevents leggy growth, encourages prolonged flowering and more stable plant structures, it is a recommended activity at the time of the famous flower show. And look who was watching us all: a newly hatched blue tit fletching, straight out of a Pocket Park bird box. Joy!

We have a good rapport with the community, so many people stop by when we volunteer and give us an encouraging wave or engage in a neighbourly chat. Julian entertained a group of Brownies who learned a lot about plants, trees and community in an afternoon; and of course couldn’t stop testing the running speed along the new woodland trail. They sent us a fabulous thank-you card. 4-year-old Abigail though melted our hearts when she, meticulously, entered a note in our comments book, on behalf of her family.

In March we put out a call to join our sunflower festival again. Lots of volunteers, and we hope a good many local residents, have grown their varieties from seed at home. I hear quite a few whispers that this year’s crop is apparently rather spindly and flimsy. Not Phil’s ‘babies’ though, for they are whoppers. May he be in for winning this year’s trophy? The ground is prepared for the planting-out session on 1 June.

Voluntary community effort doesn’t work with three-line whips, rather the honey wagon needs to be rolled out, as Julian put it succinctly. So our tea breaks are the balm to connect and chin-wag with one another. Occasionally though we have a special event to celebrate and so it was Pauline’s milestone birthday that brought not one but two homemade cakes, served with tea and bubbles. Pauline joined us just over a year ago but it feels as if she has been here from the word go. In her own words, finding the courage to ask if she could join was one of the best things she has ever done. Three cheers to that!

A new kid has arrived on the block. Once-Upon-A-Town magazine has just published its first edition, one for Epsom and one for Kingston. You can find a hardcopy in the Pocket Park. It was an honour to be invited for an interview showcasing our community group. Another splash made, so let’s hope for a Ripple Effect.

Finally, what would today’s world be without modern media? We have managed to set up a Queen’s Promenade listing on the GoParks London website. It is a city-wide platform and support network to showcase London’s 4,000+ green spaces. Check out our link here: www.goparks.london/park/queens-promenade

June in focus at QPF

At last, the sunflower festival planting-out day is upon us. If you have grown any sunflowers for the promenade, do bring them to the Pocket Park this Saturday 1 June where we will gather and collect them at 10am. So-Shan has masterminded the event again and earmarked six areas along the prom. We’ll try some colour coordination for heightened impact, but a bit of chaos gardening is perfectly fine too.

New Kingston Mayor, Councillor Liz Green, has chosen the theme of supporting friends groups as her credo. In this very context, she has picked Habitats & Heritage as her chosen charity, a group well known to us as we have volunteered together earlier this year. A civic service will be held at All Saints Church on Sunday 16 June, where friends groups will feature so I hear. Starting her mayoral charity fundraising, a treasure hunt through Kingston (Kingston Clue Quest) is being organised for Saturday 6 July; starting point the Queen’s Promenade. We’ll be there to cheer you on!

It is great to see that companies better understand the value of corporate volunteering. Increasingly they grant time off work for their employees to engage and volunteer with local community groups. Over the years, we have had a few such events already and another one is being arranged for 14 June. E.surv Chartered Surveyors will bring their entire team to help tackle the upper bank of Spaghetti Junction. Welcome and thank you in advance!

New joiners

A warm welcome to Gina who recently signed up to join our community, she has already shown her copious energy during a few weeding sessions. As our group of active volunteers keeps expanding, we have discussed at recent committee how to maintain overall focus. Whilst we are happy to welcome new members into the wider QPF community, we will pause taking on new active volunteers for the time being.

Last but not least

Please remember to check our various social media sites for regular updates. For any donations to the Queen’s Promenade Friends please see our QR code below or contact us directly.

Looking forward to seeing you on the promenade.

Stefan

Chair, Queen’s Promenade Friends

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