Welcome to the website of the Friends of Lake Meadows Billericay
An independent local charity, with volunteers working in partnership with Basildon Borough Council, Billericay Town Council for the benefit of the Billericay community. We help to care for the park, to promote its benefits, improve its facilities and encourage conservation and wildlife.
Park users should note that Basildon Borough Council's By-Laws preclude the use of Barbeques in the Park. Unfortunately, a few days ago a small party used a barbeque and thoughtlessly deposited the hot embers in a hedgerow causing a fire. Other park users collected water from the lake in whatever containers they had and prevented the fire spreading, the fire brigade attended.
The Gardening Volunteers are Back Again
June 4th marked the day when the volunteer gardeners were allowed to return to the Park to work. Initially there was some despondency because of the amount of weeds that had grown despite the drought but very quickly the sixteen volunteers started to work, keeping to social distancing and in small teams consisting of no more than six people.
For our first day we concentrated on weeding and tidying up the three rose beds and the large rhododendron bed. Although more work is still required we made good progress and managed to remove over forty barrow loads of material ready for disposal.
It will take another few weeks before we get the gardens back into some order. As well as the main gardens and rhododendron bed, we will have to address the Garden of the Child, the cornus beds at the east end of the lake, the grasses and rockery near the play area and the entrances at the main gate and Hillhouse Drive gate.
The Friends of Lake Meadows Tuesday Gardening group
Many of you will know that the majority of the garden areas are looked after by the Friends' Gardening volunteers, Having had to take ten weeks leave they have now recommenced their Tuesday sessions. Happily, before lockdown, the gardeners had five productive weeks working in all the various garden areas preparing the beds for the Spring growth. This has meant that the various beds have been lovely
We have looked for a progression of interest in all the areas and we hope that they can be enjoyed as you walk round.
Please don't look too carefully for the weeds!
Things for Children to Do
How many of you have had your children complain about having nothing to do?
We had hoped to have some suggestions as to what you could get them to do in the park, but they would not have followed the current guidelines.
So we have put together some activity sheets that may occupy them for a few moments at home.
Commemorative Oak Tree
As part of Billericay’s commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower in 1620, the Friends of Lake Meadows have planted an English oak (Quercus Robur), which we hope will be in its prime at the 500th anniversary. Luckily we were able to complete its planting on our last group day for our volunteers before the stand down.
The Covid-19 crisis is unprecedented in most of our lifetimes. The government announcement on March 23rd stated that parks will remain open for the time being and if used responsibly can provide physical and mental benefit to users..
Lake Meadows at this time of year can stimulate the senses at the same time as a providing a relaxing atmosphere and opportunities for keeping active.. We hope that you are able to enjoy the Park and to keep to the rules of "social distancing", by keeping at least a minimum distance of 2 metres (6ft 6ins) from other park users.
Unfortunately, the swimming pool has had to close, but the cafe is managing to provide a take-away service. The Council have closed the childrens' play area and the toilets will not be opened. All group activity sessions, both formal and informal, are banned.
If you know of people short of food, the Billericay Food Bank at St Johns Outwood Common may be able to help. The number to call is 07707 466262.
Billericay COVID-19 Group...
We are a community group with a coordinated set of volunteers. If you are or know of a vulnerable person and need help during this isolation please contact us.
We can provide food and pharmacy collection and delivery services, over the phone IT support or just a friendly ear.
Click the 'Send Message' button and give us your location and request and we will do our best to accommodate you. We also have am email address firstname.lastname@example.org and phone number 01277 295977.
The rhododendron walk
If in the Park, do take a special look at this area, as it is already a blaze of colour, with the primulas, daffodils and cherry trees. In a few weeks the rhododendrons and forget-me-nots will be adding their beauty and colour.
The grasses and rock area by the lake
The grasses have provided interest throughout the winter. They have now been trimmed & thinned and new growth is showing and will provide an attractive display in the Summer brightened by the orange California poppies.
We would like to plug our annual Photographic Competition and this current crisis may well provide you with the time and opportunity to take some exciting photographs in the Park. As well as being possible entries for the competition we are sure that many of your 'virtual contacts' would love to have their day brightened.up at this dire time
If you are interested in the Competition with its great cash prizes, more details can be accessed through the panel below.
Early Morning Bird Walk
Sunday 17th May 7am
'Jazz in the Park'
Saturday 4th July - 4pm
Swimming Pool is Temporarily Closed in Lake Meadows
Unfortunately Firststrokes have had to close the Lake Meadows Swimming Pool.
We leave this link as First Strokes will have their own updates.
2019 Photography Competition
Prizes were presented on January 4th to the winners by representatives of our four local service organistiions who kindly sponsored the competition.
An exhibition of some of the finalists' photographs will be on display in the Library for the month of January..
At this time of year, little gems of nature appear in the form of fungi. This year there is an especially great display in the Park, keep looking and you will see some lovely examples.
A small selection can be seen below
The Friends of Lake Meadows - Water Station Project (UPDATE)
The Water Station has been delivered but will not be installed until after the emergency is over
The Station will consist of a drinking fountain, a dog bowl and a bottle filler. This will hopefully enable park users (and their dogs) to keep hydrated also reduce the use of "single-use" plastic bottles.
Thank you to those who took the trouble to complete our survey. In the six days the survey was up we had 377 responses indicating that they thought that a water station would be a welcome addition to the Park and all except 5 said they would use it.
Carols in the Park
About 180 people attendind Carols in the Park which was held on Saturday December 14th. The afternoon was chilly with a strong breeze, the worst of which was avoided with the protection afforded by the boathouse. The mulled wine nibbles and mince pies went down well and got those attending in a Christmasy mood.
We would like to thank Liz who played keyboard and the Forging Men for adding depth to the singing.
A big thank you to Waitrose who donated the mince pies
‘Art in the Park’
The event was held over half-term when nearly twenty children together with their parents/carers had great fun
For some of the younger children they got their fun kicking through the fantastic selection of coloured leaves.
Others enjoyed using their creative skills with leaves, cones, twigs and feathers.
We would like to thank the Ecology Group for arranging and running the event
A New Grove of Elms
A small grove of six elm trees has been planted on the old pitch and putt course. In the centre is a rustic bench from which there is a good view of the east end of the Lake.
The planting is to mark the 40th anniversary of the Lions Club of Billericay . The project was carried out in association with the Billericay Tree Wardens.
The photo by BTW
The Children's seats in the Garden of the Child
The mushroom stools have been re-instated in the Garden of the Child. When they were initially put in place they only lasted ten days before some of our less responsible teenagers had deposited them in the lake. Having been cleaned and oiled we are pleased to see them back where they belong and being used by some very happy children.
The Friends wish to publicly thank Shaun and Harvey from "Garden Fencing Essex" coming on one of the hottest days of the year to re-insatll them. They volunteered to do this work at no cost to help our charity out; a truely public spirited gesture
Each of the mushrooms is etched with creatures; worms, bees and a butterfly. They were supplied by "Forest Crafts"
The funding came from patrons of the Co-op Store who generously put money in our buckets at the checkout. A big thank you to those who contributed and the Store for arranging
Lake Meadows has won the award for the "Best Park 2019" in the East of England.
A big thank you to Park Users who took the trouble to vote for Lake Meadows as thier favourite park.
The Fields-in-Trust charity organised the competition as part of its remit to to ensure the importance of parks and green spaces in the UK is recognised. Over 38,000 people showed how they beleive this, by voting in the competition
Monthly Working Party
Please note that we have had to cancel working parties until firther notice
Hopefully you have appreciated the various garden areas.
The gardeners deserve a pat on the back for their efforts this year, with the vagaries of the British weather.
The gardeners started again on February 5th and will finish on December 3rd.
Pansies have now been planted in the raised bed and we hope for a colourful display in the Spring
Californian poppies add colour to the grasses area
The Wizard and Dragon
You may have noticed that the dragon had to be put in a cage whilst some major surgery took place. I am pleased to say that she did not suffer too much and that is delighted with her new "coat". Dragon says that she looks forward to meeting her young friends again.
The Child in the Park
We are delighted to say that the "Child in the Park" has been re-installed onto its plinth in the Garden of the Child.
"The Child in the Park" and some of the FoLM Committee
We wish to thank all those individuals who made donations and to Billericay Town Council for their contribution. The money was used to repair the statue and re-fixing. In addition we would thank the sculptor, John Doubleday and Paul Joyce of Silverback Bronze Ltd (the foundry) for returning "The Child" to its former glory.
Funeralcare,who kindly sponsor our newsletter printing, inform us that they are holding Bereavement Meetings on the 1st Wednesday of each month at their office, 30 High Street. For more information call 01277 658007