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Ripple Effect

Ripple Effect

Uniting communities through conservation

Stefan was interviewed by Once upon a town, Kingston edition magazine by Fatima Truscott. You can find us on page 42 and for those not within pick up a copy distance, the article is here for you to read:

Article typed out for accessibility (below):

Queen’s Promenade Friends are a volunteer group helping improve the river walkway in Kingston upon Thames. We spoke to Stefan Gross, Chair of QPF, about how rejuvenating areas along the river has renewed a senses of local, community spirit.

More about QPF

“We’re made up of local residents; all ages and backgrounds. For anyone interested in joining, all we ask is team spirit, an interest in work outdoors and a willingness to improve our neighbourhood. Our work is solely funded by donations from local residents and some focused grants, so good will, a positive attitude and a readiness to integrate with likeminded people is all that’s needed to get going.”

Achievements to date

“It’s a long list including the creation of community Pocket Park, eight individual garden areas, an Art Deco inspired mural on a previously graffitied wall, but above all, it’s the continued determination of our volunteers who turn up twice a week, rain or shine, in fantastic community spirit.”

Making a positive impact

“Our efforts work on several levels; regular outdoor activity improves physical and mental wellbeing; social contact makes communities stronger and getting regular compliments from locals keeps us going. Our recent Green Flag Award and Kingston Society Townscape Awards are fantastic accolades and a major development is Kingston Council’s commitment to refurbish the dilapidated toilet block and collapsed retaining walls along the walkway. This has been achieved through our impact on the neighbourhood and Kingston’s recognition of the importance of this historic and much-loved riverside walk.”

The big clear-up

“It’s quite shocking really how much accumulates through sheer neglect but the early months saw us clearing decades of litter and I say ‘decades’ deliberately as we dug up discarded 1980s cassettes and video tapes – remember those?

Sunflower Festival

“Last year we trialled an idea which started with sowing sunflower seeds at home which extended to interested volunteers and local residents. During the Coronation ‘Big Help Out’ weekend, we planted the seedlings along the promenade and it was such a hit with the locals, so this year, we’ll do it again, focusing on a few varieties and planting them up in concentrated sections to create a glorious impact.”

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