I’m very happy to say I was elected as the new Chair of the Friends of Finsbury Park at our AGM on Tuesday 19th January. It was a great evening with a fantastic turn-out.

I have not been involved with the Friends for very long, compared to many people, but in the eight months since I joined I have been working on the website and social media side with a view to letting people know who we are and what we want to do to protect and improve the park.

As you know we are fortunate to have been chosen by the Stroud Green WI as their charity for the year, and I’ve been working with them closely recently, helping with their winter fair, which resulted in a very generous donation of £1,500, and we are discussing future projects.

It is no secret that the Friends has been trying its best to get Haringey Council to listen to the many concerns raised by park users and local residents about large events, such as Wireless, with unfortunately little effect, probably because Haringey has identified the park as a way of generating income, much of which is not spent on the park.

This is an ongoing situation but we are gaining more members, thanks to a raised public profile, and my plan is to continue to do that, making links, so that the council is in no doubts about the wishes of Park users and the local community.

Despite the obvious frustration caused by all of this we must not lose sight of the fact that we love Finsbury Park. It’s a great place, and I honestly believe it has a great future, but it needs to be helped. We cannot assume that it will always be there for us to use and enjoy. We each have to take responsibility for its future.

I am looking forward to taking that responsibility on, building on all the hard work that Kevin has put in, and I want to help the Friends grow stronger in order to ensure the park is not just protected but is able to thrive.

Many thanks,

Tom Palin