The Friends of Friary Park was formed in 1990 as the result of local discontent with the deteriorating condition of the Park. More than 200 people attended the inaugural meeting from which an informal committee was chosen. The intention was to put pressure on Barnet Council to maintain the Park to a high standard and to make sure that it was kept as a well looked-after facility for all to enjoy.
Whilst maintenance is a priority, the Friends Group is always keen to work with the Council on new projects for the Park. The Group has organised numerous litter picks with the help of volunteers, produced newsletters, run display stands at the summer show, and donated trees and roses to the Park. We have a regular column in the Friern Barnet & Whetstone Residents’ Association newsletter.
With its limited resources, the Friends have helped to raise funds for the formation of a multi-sports area marked out for tennis, basket and netball. The Group contributed money for the refurbishment of the clock on Friary House, provided the Union Jack flag for the pole outside the House, obtained grants for a concrete table-tennis table and hopscotch grid and is proud of its adopted flowerbed featuring a red robin tree, spring bulbs and shrubs beside the main drive. As a result of a joint project with the Council a skateboard park was installed, which has proved so popular that it was expanded in 2015.
In 2011 The Friends Group worked with the Wren Academy to plant dozens of saplings provided by the Woodland Trust.
Our partners include the Friern Barnet & District Local History Society, The Friern Barnet & Whetstone Residents’ Association, and the Finchley Society (which has provided a plaque dedicated to the Peacemaker statue). More recently we have been working closely with Community Focus, a multi-arts centre offering activities for those of all ages, backgrounds and abilities which occupies part of Friary House.
In common with all local authorities, Barnet has been forced to cut back its spending on parks and open spaces. This means that the commitment of the Friends is even more crucial in the current financial climate and voluntary help to undertake tasks like litter picking and tending the flowerbeds is essential.