Blooming Gold for Barnard Park Gardeners

Top marks for volunteer gardeners


Barnard Park have received a gold award in Islington in Bloom for the second year in a row. Gold is a very high standard. Hundreds of hours of work and much skill by volunteers make the park’s creative gardening areas bloom. It’s a challenging environment but the efforts are worth it. Park goers enjoy the beauty spots which provide colour and interesting foliage throughout the seasons. They tell us!

So congrats to volunteer gardeners who now tend four garden areas in the park. The growing areas include a street-long spring border on Barnsbury Road, a vibrant bed in the children’s playground and a central bed of contrasting shrubs and flowers. Residents of Charlotte Terrace cultivate the fourth area – garden spaces near their flats planted with fruit trees and roses. It’s lovely to have cared for landscaping to enjoy when you walk through the park.

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Two in a Row! More Pop-Up Fun on June 9

Drums and dance from Amberliegh

It was another sunny Saturday for the second Barnard Park pop-up with live music and loads of activities for kids. Our partner Barnard Adventure Playground offered its own special brand of fun. On the green, children were enchanted with Mr Bubbles and his bubble extravaganza. There were bouncy castles for small fry jumping and a bike to create spin art. Kids made pots with Pauline from Happy Pots.

Oxjam hosted live music throughout the day. Amberleigh Drummers were a percussion hit. There was dance from Afrobeats and the Young Actors Theatre. Les and Tina bought mellow sounds from the Cally Road. From Oxjam, performers included Graham Jones, Patty Paige, Unique Technique and the Argonauts.

For flower lovers, there were self-guided tours of the park’s three volunteer garden areas included in the Open Garden Squares Tour.

All in all, it was a fab day for 300 plus children and adults. Families enjoyed a relaxed afternoon picnicking across the park. See you next year!

Mr Bubbles, the pied piper of bubbles



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Summer Fun at June 2 Pop-Up

Great times in Barnard Park at the Pop-Up on Saturday, June 2. Three hundred visitors enjoyed the sunshine and free activities organised by the Friends of Barnard Park in partnership with the Adventure Playground.

Mrs. H and the Sing-along Band had the children singing and dancing in the aisles of the Playground amphitheatre. Big birds from Falconry UK delighted parkgoers who could hold an eagle, owl or vulture on a gauntlet. The Islington Swifts Project was there too.

Nearby in the park was Scruffs dog show where local pups tested out an agility course and offered their best trick. It was a lovely to see children enjoying animals in a friendly environment. Corsican Brass performed in the afternoon serenading parkgoers in the café. The bakers went all out to produce tasty treats. Lovely day.

The joyous sound of Mrs H and the Sing-along Band

Making friends with an owl by Falconry UK

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What’s On at the Pop-Ups

It’s a great line-up for the Pop-Ups on Saturdays June 2 & June 9. Enjoy some old favourites and new attractions too.

THIS Saturday children will be dancing in the aisles of the Adventure Playground amphitheatre with Mrs. H and the Sing-along Band at 11am. Falconry UK will be there with a Big Bird display. Get up close to an eagle. The Adventure Playground will be open for families with their own brand of fun. Will the kids be toasting marshmallows or making slime? Local dogs get a chance to strut their stuff on the obstacle course at Scruffs. Corsican Brass add some brass in an afternoon performance. Tea and delicious cakes will be waiting at the cafe. All in the park!

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2018 Barnard Park Pop-Ups June 2 and 9

Summer dog fun at Scruffs


The two Barnard Park Pop-Up events this year will be on Saturday June 2 and 9 from 11am to 4pm. Save the date! We have a terrific line-up. It’s free fun. Attractions include a brass band, Mr Bubbles, Scruffs dog show, bouncy castles and a big bird show. Ms H and the Singalong Band will perform on June 2. The events are in partnership with the Adventure Playground which will lead their own brand of exciting play.

We’re always looking for volunteers to help. Contact us at Join the party.

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Back to Nature at the Adventure

It’s creepy crawlies that fascinate young gardeners from Thornhill School

Children from Thornhill School are learning gardening skills at the Adventure Playground in Barnard Park. Jo Murray from the Friends of Barnard Park is leading a group of young gardeners. Fourteen kids from Year 5 and 6 alternate weeks in a school programme aimed at greater community involvement. There were lots of winter chores to do at the Playground – litter picking, leave raking, composting and weeding. And the kids are up for it.  There is a particular fascination with worms which improve the soil. The school children have made bird feeders with Jazz and Karon from the park department. With spring coming, the next tasks will be planting up the wooden boxes around the playground amphitheatre and a terraced area nearby. Edibles plants – potatoes, green beans and chilies – will be put in the ground soon. Children in the Playground will then use these plants in cooking. There’s an outdoor pizza oven and herbs now growing will be a delicious addition

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Friends of Barnard Park AGM

The Friends of Barnard Park will be holding their Annual General Meeting at 7:30pm on Thursday 15th March at Church on the Corner. The Church is located on the corner of Barnsbury Road and Copenhagen Street, opposite the Adventure Playground.

The agenda will be:
1) Presentation of accounts
2) (Re) Election of committee members
3) (Re) Election of officers (Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer)
4) Plans for Pop-Up events in June
5) Update on community gardening
6) Any Other Business

Tea and coffee will be served. Come and join us. Support your local park!

*Due to a lack of availability of booking dates at the Church on the Corner, our AGM is two weeks later than constitutionally indicated.

What’s happening at the pop-up events in June?

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Park Planning Application Withdrawn

As you may already know Islington Council’s park department, Greenspace, decided on Friday to withdraw its planning application for proposed regeneration of Barnard Park. Sport England had objected to the park plan submitted, which led to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government “calling in” the plan and a Public Inquiry being organised for next year.

However Greenspace has now reached a compromise acceptable to Sport England based on a 9-a-side football pitch, not a 7-a-side football pitch, as was in its proposal. This means that there need not be a Public Inquiry, and also that the regeneration of the park could take place in one phase instead of two (as was previously anticipated). It will allow also the Council to bring forward plans to provide a community hub building that would include new park toilets.

LBI’s press release suggests that the detailed design of the compromise has still to be worked up, but it is to be consistent with the key elements of the plan in the application (see below). It will involve a new planning application and further community consultation.

Although the Friends of Barnard Park supported the application, we are open minded as to what is now proposed and are relieved that there is no longer a possibility of an 11-a-side destination pitch in our community park. We will be following these new developments over the next few weeks and will post updates on our website as we have more information.

Meanwhile we would like to thank everyone for all their support to date.

Design will be consistent with key elements of the existing plan

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Adventure Playground Gets Major Spruce Up

Lloyds team free dragon

The Adventure Playground received a serious dose of TLC from a volunteer work group from Lloyds Bank. Katie Walsh, the manager of the playground, had a long list of tasks for the group of 30 plus volunteers from Lloyds branches in London and far beyond. The very able volunteers painted amphitheatre seats, built a mud kitchen and sorted the container storeroom where playground tools and equipment is stored.

But the most visible transformation was on the gardening front where paths were cleared and a sea of nettles plucked from next to the big swing. Jo Murray, from the FoBP gardening team, supervised the pruning of overgrown shrubs on the site. Invasive buddleia was cleared from the playground wall. Cllr Rowena Champion lent a hand in this super tidy. The beloved dragon artwork appeared again after a wall of neglected shrubs was tamed. The totem pole is now visible too. The children are thrilled and will paint their newly emerged dragon friend. Job done!

Mud Kitchen for Outdoor Fun


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Barnard Park Volunteer Gardeners Take Gold

Barnard Park has received a gold award in the Best Community Park category in Islington in Bloom. Congratulations to our volunteer gardeners who put in hundreds of hours every year to make the park bloom. A gold award is a very high standard. The volunteers achieve this level of proficiency while gardening with all comers – dogs, foxes, children and all manner of visitors. Dog walkers are among our biggest supporters!
The park came in third place in this category. Caledonian Park was first with also a ‘Champion of Champions’ award. Penn Road Gardens, a lovely space off the Caledonian Road, came in second. With Frieightliners Farm and Culpepper Gardens, there is a real horticultural skill flourishing in our area for the public to enjoy. We’re all working together to create a natural environment in a crowded urban space.
Islington has a knack for this. The borough has the least amount of green space in London, save the tiny City of London. Islington was selected this year as a candidate for Britain in Bloom, bestowed on the best urban  growing displays in the county.
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