Guide Volunteering with Parks and Gardens & Creating a Friends Group

Show all parts of this guide

2. Why Create a Friends Group

Why Create a Friends Group

There are several Friends Groups in existence across East Devon. Each group fulfils a different role, performs different tasks and has been formed differently, but all play a pivotal role in improving our environment and their local community.

Setting up a Friends Group gives all members of the community the opportunity to develop their local park or green space in line with the needs of the community. Friends Groups are key in offering a range of facilities, events and activities to the local community. Although this is sometimes hard work, the rewards are more than worth the efforts.

Our Friends Groups are formed by local people who want to volunteer their time to improve East Devon’s green spaces, with each group acting as a link between East Devon District Council and the public users of our parks or green spaces. Anyone can join and volunteer as much or as little of their time as they wish.

Friends Groups are a voice for their communities and have been important in supporting developments and improvements in our parks and gardens. They do this by:

  • Helping to maintain the various green spaces.
  • Accessing funding streams that are unavailable to the local authority
  • Helping to propose designs to improve our green spaces
  • Creating a sociable community environment for charity days and community events
  • Engaging with and encouraging other community members to become involved, thereby enhancing community cohesion.

Friends Groups bring together all the strengths of local communities to make a real difference to local parks and green spaces, thereby enriching the lives of those who use them. The work of a well-organised Friends Group can be extremely beneficial to both the volunteers and the green space they support.

Group members can learn new skills, meet new people and gain a sense of achievement and ownership of the park. The green space itself benefits through the work the group completes, such as practical management and maintenance, receiving funding for improvement work, gaining Green Flag awards, or holding events to increase public awareness and enjoyment.

By forming a Friends Group, you can help EDDC to identify the needs and priorities of the local community and improve your local green space.