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Three Decades of (Friends of) Barnes Common

Three Decades of (Friends of) Barnes Common

It is Small Charity Week so we’re taking a little time to reflect on how far we’ve come since our formation thirty years ago. We started out as a small, informal group of volunteers, and then in 2013 formally incorporated as a not-for-profit, limited liability company with charitable status.

Over the past decade FoBC has grown dramatically: from a purely volunteer group providing conservation on the Common, with turnover of a few thousand pounds (and membership hovering around the 150 level), today we have over a thousand members, and we are helping to conserve and manage three sites including Leg o’ Mutton and Vine Road Park. We are supporting community growing and the Barnes Community Gardeners, gearing up for a major role in local Flood Resilience and providing formal and informal outdoor learning for all.

Our annual budget is now over £250,000 and in addition to our team of volunteers and trustees, giving over 6,000 hours a year, we have a brilliant team of seven full and part-time staff. But we’re still a small charity, relying on support from the Council, volunteers, funding schemes and generous donors.

Our goals have expanded from simply preserving the Common as it is, to conserving and managing the Common and other local spaces; and we have gone from asking members of the community to come and help us, to moving into the community and actively engaging. We ourselves are constantly learning and our plans are constantly evolving.

Our vision – Conservation, Biodiversity, Wellbeing and Lifelong Learning – runs through everything we do, for all the community.