Peckham Rye Park is a 21 hectare Victorian park, which acts as a green lung for the Nunhead, Peckham and East Dulwich areas of London, and serves a diverse demographic.
The park is Grade II Listed on the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens and has been a vital area of open space for local people and the wider borough of Southwark for 120 years.
idverde has been responsible for grounds maintenance in Peckham Rye Park since 2004, when its legacy company Quadron Services was awarded the London Borough of Southwark’s Integrated Parks Grounds Maintenance Contract.
This popular park receives over 800,000 visits a year and offers a wide range of opportunities for formal and informal recreation for all ages and abilities. The two children’s play areas, Japanese Garden and Arboretum are popular with young families. The skate park, outdoor gym and table tennis provide a focal point for those needing to burn some energy, while the restored Sexby Garden and rolling grasslands provide a quiet haven for relaxing. There are also plenty of opportunities for organised sport, with soccer, Gaelic and Australian Rules football, and bowls being just some of the sports catered for in the park.
The park was awarded a Green Flag Award for the first time in 2007, and idverde has worked in partnership with the Council and local stakeholders to contribute to it being retained ever since.
idverde employs eight permanent staff at the park, including a Park Supervisor, two Park Attendants, and Head Gardener, Sissel Dahl, who is assisted by three gardeners and a Horticultural Apprentice. This team is supported by two seasonal workers, plus tractor, sweeper and Faeces Intake Disposal Operation (FIDO) operatives, who are shared with nearby Dulwich Park. Qualifications held by our staff include Diploma (Distinction) in Practical Horticulture, NPTC Level 2 in Work Based Horticulture, and CIEH Level 2 qualifications in Health & Safety in the Workplace, Emergency First Aid at Work, Conflict Resolution & Personal Safety, Principles of Risk Assessment and Principles of COSHH. Sissel Dahl, has also passed a Work Based Environmental Conservation training programme incorporating volunteers management, developed in partnership with The Conservation Volunteers, and all staff have received training on various items of small plant and equipment from Quadron’s in-house Lantra trainers.
Typical tasks carried out by the idverde team on a daily basis include mowing and maintenance of ornamental, general and conservation grass areas, rose and shrub bed maintenance, herbaceous border, flower bed, container and rockery maintenance, and sports pitch and hard surface maintenance. Our contract also provides for three litter picks per day, a FIDO machine for the removal of dog faeces and a sweeper that visits on a weekly basis. In the summer, extra litter picks are organised to deal with the debris generated by those staying later to enjoy the summer evenings, all going to ensure that the park is a clean and welcoming place for visitors, every day of the year. Testament to this is the number of compliments received by the Council regarding the park’s appearance, and the recent end of year Client inspection scores, which showed the park received an average score of 92% over the year, against a target of 90%.
As an ISO 14001 accredited contractor, idverde aims to carry out its maintenance activities in the park with consideration for the environment. Two electric ‘E-Gator’ vehicles are deployed in Peckham Rye Park, specially selected for their zero-emissions and their quiet operation. Green waste produced by our maintenance operations is also composted and returned to the park as mulch. To aid biodiversity, an area of grassland in the south western section of the park is currently mown annually to provide a grassland habitat. Stag beetles, smooth newts, sparrow hawks, song thrushes, and green and greater spotted woodpeckers are just some of the species that have been sighted in the park.
Peckham Rye Park has strong links with the community. The Friends of Peckham Rye Park are extremely active, and act as the representatives of park users’ views. idverde staff regularly attend their meetings, take part in site walkabouts, and support their activities, including their monthly maintenance day, which sees volunteers get involved with maintenance and ecology tasks in the park.
A recent project has seen an old depot site within the park transformed into a fernery, with the help of a £10,000 Fields in Trust grant. idverde worked in partnership with Southwark Council, the park’s Friends group and other local volunteers to manage the project, from clearing and preparing the area, to planting the new ferns. Many local schools also make use of the park’s sport facilities both for PE classes and sports days, and the park acts as a home ground for two local football teams.
The many activities taking place in the park, along with the permanent on-site presence of idverde’s staff ensures that the park is ‘self-policed’ and provides a feeling of safety. The park is also actively maintained to ensure that there are no pockets of darkness or shrubbery that can be hidden in, and levels anti-social behaviour in the park are very low.
idverde pleased to be able to work in partnership with Southwark Council to ensure Peckham Rye Park remains a safe, secure, well-maintained and horticulturally diverse place, which continues to meet the needs of its diverse local community.