Local Kingston group restores recreation ground with tree planting

The Friends of Kingston Road Recreation Group met on Sunday January 28 to plant trees around the Kingston Road Recreation Ground in one of many projects that are making greener spaces for the community.

Kingston local, Barbara Gorrie, saw a need for more green community spaces and set up the group in 2019.

The Friends of Kingston Road Recreation Group is a community group established by local residents to help protect and improve Kingston Road Recreation Ground.

Kate Shrimpton set up the Facebook group to connect with local likeminded people in 2020.

Shrimpton said: “When we first set up the group, the park was just flat grass. There was no nature, no trees, and it was a monoculture. Not only were there no animals, but there were no humans either.”

Once organised, the group dedicated their time to making a once abandoned recreation centre into somewhere families can go to experience nature and biodiversity.

“For me, it is about the environment,” said Shrimpton. “Something as small as planting a tree helps.”

Shrimpton is passionate to do something about climate change and said that the number of mature trees being cut down for housing cannot be replaced by a few saplings being planted by the community.

She said: “The small trees we are planting are not going take out any of the carbon a mature tree does every year.

“Kingston Council thinks it can cut down a big tree and replace with a small sapling.”

Shrimpton said that she enjoys the “little things” in working with the group as well as thinking about their environmental impact.

She says she enjoys coming out on a Sunday afternoon to plant trees and appreciates seeing the improvements that have been made on the Kingston Road Recreation Ground.

Children’s playground at Kingston Road Recreation Grounds that was recently renovated. Credit: Madelyn Herrera

The community has received help from Kingston Councillor Olly Wehring in getting the funding to add amenities such as a playground, a mural, and a café.

Councillor Wehring also helped the group secure the funding for the boxing studio and says none of these changes could have happened without dedicated community members fighting for change.

“If someone came to us and asked for something, then from a councillor perspective, we’d be mad to not get involved in that,” he said.

In response to trees being cut down to make way for more housing, Councillor Wehring said there should be a preservation of green spaces in Kingston to keep them available for the growth of population that is expected.

“It is really important to give the green spaces the love that they need,” he said.

The group has more plans for the future, including a pond installation to increase biodiversity.

The Friends of Kingston Road Recreation Group post their events on their Facebook group and invite the local community to join them in improving the area and environment.    

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