This beautiful space in the London Borough of Sutton was once a Tudor deer park for the noble Carew family, whose manor house still stands.
The project includes restoration of lost features, such as historic avenues, the Cannon Bridge and lychgate. Entrances, exits and signage are being improved, and a new play area built.
The lake is being desilted and the weir is to be removed to allow fish to swim along the River Wandle, home to herons and kingfishers.
Key to the success of this project is how it is involving local people – the park is in one of the borough’s most deprived communities. A volunteer co-ordinator has helped run activities based on five key themes: heritage, biodiversity and wildlife, health and wellbeing, children and young people and outdoor performances.
"The choir really has been brilliant, there is a joy to singing together. Already there is a sense of unity and friendship, with many singers staying in the cafe for a cuppa and a chat after we've finished.”Dawn Fielding, Project & Volunteer Coordinator
Activities include a weekly Park Life Health choir – advertised in local doctor surgeries. It is a safe space for anyone who may never have sung before, or may be suffering from mental or physical health problems. The participants have filled out a health questionnaire, which will be assessed over time.
There is also a buddy walks scheme, pairing volunteers with local care home residents, giving them a chance for companionship, exercise and fresh air.