About The Friends Group
The Friends of Berrylands Nature Reserve was established in September 2018 by a small group of core volunteers after over a year of community conservation work at Berrylands Nature Reserve. It is a not for profit community group (an unincorporated association), working in consultation with the Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames and other local conservation and community organisations.
The Group was formed so that the local community has a stronger voice in deciding the direction and strategy of activities and improvements at our wonderful little nature reserve, as well as allowing us to apply for small community grants. A group like this is only ever as successful as its members, so we would encourage as many supporters as possible to sign up as members. Membership is open to everyone and there are currently two types of membership: Full and Youth. You can check out the benefits of each membership here.
The aim of the Friends of Berrylands Nature Reserve is simple: To improve Berrylands Nature Reserve for the benefit of both wildlife and the local community, and where possible support other local green spaces.
There are several objectives that the Group strives to meet, which you can read in the official constitution, but what is key to us at this early stage is the input of all local residents and visitors so that we can ensure future activities are in line with community desires. As such, we will shortly be arranging a community meeting to give people the opportunity to meet the founding committee, hear an update on the restoration project and ask questions about the Friends of Group. The intention is for this group to be an exciting and fun way for the community to be involved with leading improvements and activities in Berrylands Nature Reserve. The desire is to have a 21st century, highly productive and transparent group with limited bureaucracy but good oversight and governance. We want community involvement in the nature reserve, collaboration with the council and other local organisations, exciting projects to enhance the biodiversity of wildlife, educational and volunteering opportunities for all those interested and community events to inspire people and add to the community spirit of Berrylands. If you hadn’t gathered, we’re really excited about what can be done here!
You may be wondering who founded the group. Well, in order to get a Friends of Group up and running, a few regular volunteers decided to begin the process of establishing a formal group before inviting additional core volunteers to join them on the Management Committee; currently we have a Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary and two other members. Collectively their role is to govern and run the group, making decisions on its behalf. The three officers have specific roles and the two additional members are there as representatives of all the group’s members and to scrutinise and advise the committee on their behalf. The committee members are also liable for the group as it is not an independent legal entity. You can find out about who is helping to steer this group through its early stages here. There will be opportunities in the future for other members to volunteer to sit on the Management Committee, as per the constitution.
Although the Friends of Group is run on a purely voluntary basis there are still costs involved, in particular to cover things like compulsory insurances and tools for conservation volunteer days but also for running events at the nature reserve and promoting the nature reserve to the local community and beyond. These costs will primarily be covered by membership fees (assuming we get enough members!) and donations, and we are also pursuing a number of small grant opportunities. We are pleased to say that within 2 weeks of founding the group, we were successful in applying for a small grant for some tools!
Whilst the nature reserve is a public space owned by the Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames, and therefore open to anyone to visit for free, we really do encourage supporters to sign up to become members in order to financially support the important work of the Group; conservation, land management, improvements and enhancements to the nature reserve, wildlife talks, bat walks, as well as other events to help foster local community spirit. It’s important to remember that the Group is fully reliant on volunteers to manage and run it, as well as for conservation work – there are no employees and no direct income stream to pay for things. Small membership fees are therefore essential in allowing the Group to have a basic level of funding in order to operate successfully so that we can look after the nature reserve for present and future generations, and never allow it to become overgrown, unmanaged and awash with anti-social behaviour as it was a few years ago. Can you support us by signing up today?
Full Member– £10 per annum
|Open to anyone aged over 16||
Youth Member– £4 per annum
|Open to anyone under 16*
(*requires guardian approval)
We are so excited that you wish to become a member of the Friends of Berrylands Nature Reserve, a group whose aim is: “To improve Berrylands Nature Reserve for the benefit of both wildlife and the local community, and where possible support other local green spaces.”
Whether you are a local resident or a supporter of green spaces or a passionate conservationist, we welcome your application. As a voluntary association we rely entirely on donations and grants in order to cover running costs, items like mandatory insurances and equipment for voluntary events, and fund improving and caring for the nature reserve. This is why there is a cost associated to membership. By becoming a member you can directly contribute to the future direction of the group, propose ideas and vote at members meetings.
The current committee was elected at the first Friends of Berrylands Nature Reserve AGM on the 2nd March 2019.
Founding committee members Andrew, Emma & Derek were joined by Kay, Paul & Phil.
The 6 committee members are all local, committed, enthusiastic volunteers who have been involved at the nature reserve for a significant amount of time, and have been active supporters of the Friends group since it’s formation.
All are invested in donating their time, skills, knowledge and creativity to help improve the nature reserve for the local community, while also enhancing it for the benfit of it’s wildlife.