As the Friends of Christ Church Green takes shape, Colin Cronin explains the new group’s aims and invites residents to the founding meeting. Photo by Geoff Wilkinson
The local playground on Christ Church Green has been a source of enjoyment for so many of our junior residents of Wanstead, but also a source of pride for their parents, fellow residents and local businesses too. It is a facility that the community crowdfunded for back in 2015, raising over £100k.
It was heartbreaking, therefore, to learn that a mindless act of vandalism late one Saturday night in April could see such a community asset go up, at least partly, in smoke!
Whilst there has been a very admirable, laudable and well-supported crowdfunding campaign to replace the damaged equipment, I believe the proper course of action should have been to put the onus back onto Vision RCL, who manage our open spaces in Wanstead. Vision RCL are now a profitable charity, so should not have required money in excess of our Council Tax to replace the damaged equipment. I applaud the good intentions of our superb community, however, I fear it sets a dangerous precedent in allowing Vision RCL to abdicate their financial responsibility in such a way going forward.
Christ Church Green needs a number of improvements to protect it, not least of which should include CCTV coverage of places like the playground and the now newly installed café kiosk. After years of just doing ‘upkeep’, it has become clear that Christ Church Green requires serious attention from Vision RCL. Sadly, examples of graffiti in and around the Green are on the rise as are examples of bad lighting in places and vandalised trees and benches.
Our community’s engagement and interest in our local Green and ensuring its protection and ongoing improvement is exactly why the Friends of Christ Church Green is being formed.
The Friends of Christ Church Green will seek to act as a lobbying group that is governed by local residents with the purpose to liaise with local councillors, council officers and Vision RCL. It will ensure our Green is protected from any unwanted activities, is invested in and maintained accordingly.
A draft constitution is being drawn up and a public meeting will be called after May’s local elections to debate that constitution, what we as residents want and expect from this important group and to elect the Friends’ committee members.
We all have an individual voice, but sometimes a collective shout can be more effective. I hope you will join us at the Friends of Christ Church Green founding meeting (date to be confirmed) and voice how you want our Green to look for the future.
For more information on the Friends of Christ Church Green and to get involved, email email@example.com