Carole Stanley led the revamp of a wildlife garden and organises regular litter picks – here she talks to Olivia Devereux-Evans
Carole Stanley has been co-chair of Friends of Bush Hill Park for four years and in that time has helped transform the park’s previously rundown wildlife garden into a haven for nature.
Local residents have called the wildlife garden a “lifeline” for them during the coronavirus pandemic. It is one of four parts of the park the volunteers help maintain and had begun as a neglected space often subject to vandalism but, after numerous meetings, the idea to transform the garden came to fruition.
There were volunteers with learning difficulties from the charity One-to-One, schoolchildren from George Spicer Primary School, and local residents who volunteered with the friends group. The pupils even drew pictures of what the area could look like.
Carole said: “At first I was just doing voluntary gardening there and then I started to realise that there was nobody with a vision for it. The aim was to make it somewhere where people can have a bit of peace and quiet and somewhere children could learn a bit more about nature.”
The garden is for everyone who wishes to use it. It features educational activities for parents and children to do together. Each section of the garden has a sign with information to read. It includes a bug hotel, ponds, and a seating area.
Carole said many people visiting the garden live in flats without outdoor space and have praised the wildlife garden as somewhere for them to enjoy nature. “It’s a place to take the children – they are very grateful.”
Volunteering sessions are paused during the current lockdown but will resume as soon as restrictions are lifted. The garden also relies on donations. Carole added: “We could always take on more volunteers. Anybody who loves the park, we can find you a job that will suit your skills.”
Enfield Council’s new ‘blue and green’ strategy aims to make Enfield the greenest borough in London, but Carole said more help was needed in future. “We are hoping they will treat us a strategic partner. It is left to us to get on with it now [which is] a bit of a shame.”
This article is the first in our ‘Enfield Community Heroes’ series, sponsored by Edmonton Green Shopping Centre. Dispatch readers are welcome to nominate their own local hero – someone who has gone above and beyond to help support the local community. Simply email your nomination to [email protected].