Saturday, 10 September 2016

My Volunteer Experience

Two of our youth volunteers share their experiences volunteering at the Information Centre


On the 20th of August I began a new challenge. It was my first day of volunteering in my local park. I attentiveley peered down at google maps in my attempt to find the information centre, from which my volunteering would be based. Despite spending 5 years in, around and round about Crystal Palace, I had never seen the whole park (or even half of it for that matter), so this was my opportunity to do so.

My experience on a whole was definitely more interactive than I expected. Although I was prepped for sessions of sitting on a swivel chair on social media, only to engage when people came in, every once a millennium, I was surely left surprised. I was involved in redesigning the website, creating a board for the information centre, giving out propaganda and much more! And now I can even direct people round my local park. After my very animated experience, my advice to you is, if you ever get the opportunity to volunteer at your local park, take it!


Through the Head Start challenge I was given the opportunity to volunteer at the Crystal Palace Park and overall I have been thrilled with this choice.The atmosphere here the information centre is so warm and welcoming which I feel has really enabled me to take full advantage of this opportunity. Through the programme I have been able to explore the park to familiarise myself with the park itself and one the best parts of it all was discovering the range of activities available here that as a local individual I hadn't ever been aware of. I have also been able to develop a variety of skills which have proved beneficial for the world of work such as public speaking skills through distributing propaganda and team-work while participating in the efforts to improve the centre. Another great experience has been the chance to meet a bunch of great new people including our fantastic supervisor.

This has been one of the most motivating experiences to really participate with the local community and independently think up new ways to improve it.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Our monthly gardening session

Thank you very much for your help today – especially in such hot weather.
For those who couldn’t make it this time, we weeded along the front path and hedge, litter picked, filled in a large hole left by removing a tree stump and looked out for butterflies. 
We saw a cabbage white, common blue and small tortoiseshell today.  At least we think we did! 
If any of you know any butterfly, bird or wild flower experts/botanists who might like to join us, to help with a survey then please let me know/bring them along. 
We all enjoyed hearing Kirsty talk about the bees – the existing colony failed to make their new queen so Kirsty and Croydon beekeepers and brought in 4 new baby queens, so the hives were humming!
Next on-site session is 12th June. Come along and join us for some great gardening fun.


Thursday, 21 April 2016

The Secret Garden - the raised bed is built!

It has taken 3 sessions with our wonderful friends - the Penge Men in Sheds group and 2 sessions with the amazing PULSE team but the raised bed has been built in the Secret Garden!

Now the Youth Group from Anerley Town Hall are going to take over.

Tonight they will finish sieving soil into the raised bed. 

And then we start planting which is the really exciting part. With an end of summer BBQ planned to use our veg and herbs it is shaping up to be an exciting summer in the Secret Garden.

In other Secret Garden news...
Our newts are thriving!
We have an additional bee hive and the bees are very busy making their Queen
We are all enjoying the butterflies we keep seeing all over the garden! 
And we can add cowslips and wood anemone to our wildflower count of bluebells (both native and non-native); marsh marigold; daffodils and primrose which we missed in our Sunday session.
There are lots of photos, too many really, but I just couldn't delete any. Enjoy....


Sunday, 10 April 2016

Secret Garden Monthly Gardening Sessions

Well as you can see from the photos we had a very busy session in the Secret Garden.
 this month

We moved a big pile of mud to help with the raised bed construction

We also completed a wild flower count

See you next month

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Listening and Sharing Events and Egg Hunters

We had our last listening and sharing event over the weekend. Even though the weather wasn't great we had lots of people come down to share their views on the future of Crystal Palace Park.

There was great support for the new community led trust, although as with previous session people want clarity on how the trust will be funded especially in it's first few years.

There was also great support for the Friends of Crystal Palace Park with lots of people wanting to get more involved and real support for our move to a charity.

We also held a Easter Egg Hunt in the secret garden which was a great success! We had at least 30 egg hunters searching for eggs with great success! See below…

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Save the Sphinxes - Success

Conservation of the Sphinxes and the South Terrace Steps is beginning. 

The works are being undertaken by Skillington Workshop. They are a leading conservation company and specialise in sculpture restoration.

The original survey work was undertaken because of the Save the Sphinxes volunteer project led by Mehul, from the Community Stakeholder Group and Crystal Palace Transition Town and was funded by Historic England.

They are also funding the conservation works, thanks to a grant application by Bromley council. 

The first pair of sphinxes will be restored by early May and the conservation works will conclude with the South terrace steps and the sphinxes that guard over them in August.

A great example of the community coming together for the good of the park.

Well done to all those involved!

Friday, 5 February 2016

Doesn't Iggy Look Good

Well the work is completed on Iggy and doesn't he look good. We especially like his manicure.

Photo by Lynn Hilton

There are still lots more to do though.

Find out how you can get involved by visitng

Friday, 29 January 2016

Guy the Gorilla gets Listed

When I heard that the Gorilla Statue in the park had been listed I thought it was great news.

Then I thought why do we have a Gorilla Statue in Crystal Palace Park.

I have learnt so much about Guy the Gorilla - he even has his own Wikipedia page

The best article I read can be found at which is one of our wonderful local blogs.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

First Volunteering Workday of the year

We had our first volunteering work session today. We had an open committee meeting to plan for the exciting year ahead and then we all headed to the Secret Garden.

We did some much needed litter picking. The wind has been bringing in all sorts!

We also did some general site management with our TLG representative Penny.

Next session is 14th Feb, 2pm meeting outside the Information Centre. Why not come with your loved one...

Two great events by the London Wildlife Trust coming up...

There are two great events coming up in Crystal Palace Park hosted by the London Wildlife Trust….

The first is a
Bird walk at Crystal Palace Park

Tue, 16/02/2016 - 8:00am - 9:30am

Peregrine falcon (Neil Aldridge)Peregrine falcon by Neil Aldridge

Event details

Tue, 16/02/2016 - 8:00am - 9:30am

Guided bird walk in one London's most famous parks
Join London Wildlife Trust for a guided walk of Crystal Palace Park in search of some of the amazing birds found there
The top of the park is one of the highest points in South London which means that it supports a number of birds which drop in during migration
Birds like the whitethroat, blackcap and chiffchaff arrive in April from as far away as Africa to breed in the scrub and woodland on the Crystal Palace Parade ridge
As a relic of the Great North Wood, Crystal Palace Park has a rich natural and cultural history. It was Penge Common until 1827, a 500 acre common with ancient woodland and grassland
Local people once travelled specifically to Penge Common to hear nightingales, an African migrant songbird which is now lost to the local area

The second is a

Tree walk at Crystal Palace Park

Sat, 27/02/2016 - 11:00am - 12:30pm

Sessile oak trees (D. Greenwood)Sessile oak trees (D. Greenwood)

Event details

Sat, 27/02/2016 - 11:00am - 12:30pm

Guided tree walk in one London's most famous parks
Join London Wildlife Trust for a guided walk of Crystal Palace Park and delve into the ancient woodland history of the Great North Wood
As a relic of the Great North Wood, Crystal Palace Park has a rich natural and cultural history. It was Penge Common until 1827, a 500 acre common with ancient woodland and grassland that took in Anerley
Penge is a Celt word meaning 'the end of the wood'
The oak tree is the symbol of the Great North Wood and many can be found at Crystal Palace
There are also a number of non-native, ornamental trees which tell a story of their own about the history of the park