The LGSFGN (shortened to the LFGN) is the voice of the dynamic and inspirational grassroots movement of over 600 local Friends of Parks groups – the volunteers who act on behalf of the communities who use and care about our vital public green spaces throughout London.
Local Friends Groups are independent community organisations set up by park users and local residents to promote, protect and improve a local green space – in essence to ‘take ownership’ of the space on behalf of local communities and park users. Friends Groups are responsible for a wide range of highly positive achievements, including: organising local events of all kinds, planting bulbs and helping increase biodiversity, disseminating information and news, producing publicity and history pamphlets, working closely with parks staff and managers, getting key user groups to work together, developing visions for improving local spaces, accessing and lobbying for resources and funding, and so on.
The LGSFGN exists to support and represent Friends Groups’ activities, issues and concerns, and to amplify their passionate and knowledgeable voices. We promote the formation and development of strong Friends of Parks Forums for every borough (around 17 so far) working in partnership with Local Authorities and parks management. We meet bi-monthly at City Hall to share news and views. We work in partnership with, or alongside, a range of key organisations including Parks for London, the London National Park City Campaign, Campaign to Protect Rural England (London) and others who care strongly about London’s public green space.
We are gradually encouraging the development of active Friends Forums in all 32 London boroughs. Nationally, there are over 6,000 local Friends Groups and the many local networks are linked together through the National Federation of Parks & Green Spaces – of which we are the London regional section. It now feels that our grass-roots (literally!) movement is fast-growing and fast-evolving into something very significant. We are aiming for a Friends Group for every urban green space, a Friends Groups Forum for every borough and area, and a statutory duty on all Councils and landowners to protect and manage all their spaces to Green Flag Award standards.