Enabling and Empowering Groups

South West London has some amazing green spaces, ranging from local authority managed parks and recreation grounds to nature reserves, community orchards and allotments as well as sites managed by the National Trust, English Heritage, Royal Parks, Gunnersbury Park and Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.

Many people are surprised to learn that local authorities in the UK have no legal duty to provide or look after parks and green spaces. Community involvement is a vital way to support parks, and community groups and ‘friends of’ groups play a key role.

We use our years of local and sector specific experience to support voluntary groups in South West London. If you are looking to set up a new project, expand and grow an existing one, network, fundraise or troubleshoot issues then talk to us about how we can help.

We are commissioned by Richmond and Ealing Council’s to provide extensive support to environmental groups in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and Ealing Borough.

We are also funded by the London Borough of Hounslow to organise a ‘Friends of Parks’ Groups Forum. You can find out more about the Forum here.


What are Friends Groups?

An inclusive and diverse group, with representation from all areas of the community achieves greater credibility in the neighbourhood, helps solve problems and increases awareness.

If you are asking new, what are the benefits of forming a Friends group? Read our downloadable PDF Why Start a Friends Group

How do we help?

As an independent charity, all our services are available for free or at a subsidised rate. We provide best practice guidelines for volunteers, covering health and safety, insurance, first aid and risk assessment and other guidance if you hold volunteer workdays ultimately, aiming to ensure your organisation is successful!

SWLEN can support by:

  • Providing support and advice via telephone and email
  • Providing template constitutions and policies
  • Helping you develop your own website through our e-voice platform
  • Providing training and support in areas including setting up and using social media, websites, creating e-news circulars etc.
  • Providing a geographical address (our office) should you need one
  • Facilitating networking opportunities with other groups in the region and access to our online forum to share ideas and good practice
  • Signposting to specialist support services, such as legal advice
  • Promoting your group and any events you undertake through our website and social media sites/platforms
  • Helping to find and secure funding
  • Running an organisational/group health check and help you develop areas if needed
  • Lending items for free from our library of resources (situated in East Twickenham)
  • Access to our bespoke Crowdfunding platform for environmental projects (currently only for groups in Richmond-upon-Thames – not in Richmond but have a potential project? Please contact us!)

Your group can receive our regular e-news bulletins providing news, information on good practices, funding sources and much more.

If you are looking to set up a ‘Friends of’ or a different kind of group or would like to develop an existing one, give us a call or email us at hello@swlen.org.uk