THE FRIENDS OF INGREBOURNE VALLEY & HORNCHURCH COUNTRY PARK

 

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING – 11 MAY 2013

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

 

Welcome to the inaugural Annual General Meeting of The Friends of Ingrebourne Valley and Hornchurch Country Park.

 

The Friends Group was officially formed on 21st April 2012 following an initial period of consultation with park users and local residents undertaken by the Ingrebourne Valley Project, a partnership between the London Borough of Havering and Essex Wildlife Trust.

 

The Friends Group has five key aims and objectives:

1. To promote the wide and responsible use of the Ingrebourne Valley and Hornchurch Country Park (The Valley).

2. To enhance The Valley for the benefit of the whole community.

3. To improve the recreational, environmental and educational facilities of the Valley.

4. To enhance, protect and promote the natural environment of The Valley

5. To protect and promote any historical artefacts and the heritage of The Valley.

 

Following its formation, The Friends Group has become increasingly active in supporting activities run and coordinated by the Ingrebourne Valley Project.  Monthly Committee meetings are held and plans are in place to further advance the above aims and objectives throughout 2013/14.

 

Highlights of the last 12 months have included:

 

  • Achieving Official Friends Group status with Havering Council.

 

  • Assisting with the planting of reed beds in Albyns Lake and the planting of over 1000 saplings throughout The Valley.

 

  • Staffing information stalls in The Valley at events such as the Olympic Torch Parade and Pedalling into the Past to promote The Valley and the Friends Group.  Members were also represented at a stall at the 2012 Havering Show.

 

  • Supporting events run by the Ingrebourne Valley Project such as the Halloween Spooktacular and Bugs are Brilliant Half Term events.

 

  • Attending training courses held by the environmental charity Thames 21 to enable members to lead a waterway clean up, identify and remove invasive non native species and undertake water quality testing.

 

  • Participating in consultation workshops organised by the Environmental Agency relating to the River Ingrebourne Catchment Development Plan and training to undertake river surveys.

 

  • Forming monthly work parties with members and volunteers.  These have included tree planting, river clean ups and litter sweeps and received positive coverage in the local media.

 

  • The successful application for a Community Chest grant to enable the purchase of equipment so that the monthly work parties and future shows and events are fully equipped and self sufficient.  A ‘seed fund’ donation was also gratefully received from The Ford of  Britain Trust, together with a successful Community Engagement grant and equipment has also been successfully obtained from the Capital Clean Up project.

 

  • The creation of the Friends Group website enabling interaction with the local community.

 

  • Early liaison with the Essex Wildlife Trust and Havering Parks Department so that the Friends Group may assist with fund raising activities and raising awareness in respect of the proposed Visitor Centre which is due to be built during 2013/14.

 

  • Consultation with Havering Council and Ingrebourne Valley Ltd, the company behind the proposed landfill extension at Ingrebourne Hill, so that members can be fully advised of the latest information on this development.

 

None of the above would have been possible without the tremendous support and guidance of the officers of the Ingrebourne Valley Project, for which we are truly grateful.

 

However, that project is due to come to an end in August 2013 and the Friends Group must now look to move forward.  The active support and enthusiasm of the Members will be crucial in helping the Group achieve its goals in the coming year as we put into place our plans to host shows and events, continue with the work parties and work in partnership with Essex Wildlife Trust.

 

We look forward to seeing as many people as possible joining us to contribute to what promises to be a very busy and important year for the Valley.

 

Dave Cook

Chairman

Friends of Ingrebourne Valley and Hornchurch Country Park