Just like that over-used swan analogy, the Lee Valley Park runs a really smooth operation on the surface but underneath…well things can be, shall we say, a bit frantic: a bit political. There are levys that some London boroughs want to stop paying (understand that one ) and then there’s an expectation in terms of legacy from the Olympics that wants a delivery of service that frankly, money can’t afford.
It’s funny, well it’s not but that’s how I’m starting this para, that most people wander through the park enjoying the scenery and the wildlife and the amenities without really thinking about the effort and work that goes into making that happen. Nobody has to pay to enter and at no time does someone jump out of a bush asking for a donation (this isn’t the RSPB). There is a task force of people who manage the landscape, run the farms, run events, run marketing, run volunteers and run themselves into the ground to make sure everything works for anyone who’s anyone who comes to the park.
I would probably have given up by now. Of course, people are pleased and grateful (see website) and keep coming back but things are changing. Funding is not so easy and the London council tide is turning. The park is going to rely more and more on volunteers. Volunteers that aren’t just interested in nature but are truly interested in giving people a great experience and engaging with them because that builds a better brand for the park and adds weight to the parks reputation and standing. This in turn will give it the energy and arguments to win the fights it needs to win with banks, investors, charities, other stakeholders and local government.
In the meantime, people like me can volunteer, meet fascinating folk and still have time to fill a memory card with magical images. Ron Swanson may have his boat building workshop but I have my birds. Look it up stupid.
|Male Orange Tip|