Another year seems to have “flown” by but first and foremost, I wish to pay tribute to the Committee, without whom this organisation would not function. We meet religiously on the first Thursday of each month and the “Classroom” at the Albyns Depot in the Park can be a daunting prospect in January and February when it’s cold, wet and just downright miserable at 7pm in the evening!
These meetings are just the place where our deliberations start and sometimes finish or are just reviewed to see how we are progressing. There continues to be much going on in the Park and the Valley and the Friends Group and its members perform some outstanding work at their regular “work parties”, which occur not only at weekends but during the week as well. Our members also act as volunteers for Essex Wildlife Trust in all sorts of roles which I am sure is very much welcomed by EWT.
The Friends Group were successful in achieving funding from Tesco towards our “heritage trail” project which was completed in April. The posts, with a plaque on each, depict the history of the Park during the existence of a military airfield and they can be seen spread around the Park. There will be a map available from the Visitor Centre so that the public can explore the Park and identify what used to exist in various places for the past 100 years or so.
At this stage, a mention needs to be made of our Park Rangers team. The Friends Group work closely with them and in times of almost constant cuts to Council budgets, the assistance we give goes a considerable way to making Hornchurch Country Park the best in Havering if not East London. Sadly, we again hear that funding from the Council for projects will continue to be in great demand so the Friends Group committee will attempt to get any future funding from any source that we can find.
As the Park becomes more popular as a place for Havering residents to spend their leisure time, parking continues to be an issue. There is again a plan to extend the car park but probably not until the autumn. We hope that Havering Council do not decide to impose a payment for parking in the Park, but in a day and age where National Government “squeezes” Local Government funding to the extreme, it will not come as a surprise if they do!
The Friends of Ingrebourne Valley & Hornchurch Country Park will, as in previous years, strive to keep the area at the forefront of local people’s minds when deciding to go out and see nature at its rawest. We look forward to the rest of this year and next in the hope that we can continue our working relationship with Essex Wildlife Trust and Havering Council and make the Ingrebourne Valley and Hornchurch Country Park even better in the eyes of the public.
Chair, Friends of Ingrebourne Valley & Hornchurch Country Park
23rd June 2018