[Posted by Francois]

Met with council Parks officers

This week I met with the Council's Parks Officer, Pauline McCormack, and the Parks Tree Officer, Tom Bach. They are very happy that Fulham Cemetery finally has a volunteer group! Here is what we talked about:

Tree planting in the cemetery has started, and the plan is still to plant 36 trees this winter. (I plan to visit this weekend to see what's new.)

The Council has a long list of things that need to be done in the cemetery, the main constraint is their budget and manpower. This is why it takes so long for things to happen. Besides trees, the other main issue is the condition of the paths – many need resurfacing. They are working on a maintenance and habitat management plan that they will share with us.

The Friends will have an important role to play in bringing issues and residents' concerns to the Council's attention, that we think are most urgent.

The tree contractor, Red Squirrel, is responsible for watering the new trees for the first two years, but this will not be frequent enough to guarantee their survival, so a volunteer tree watering rota will be vital. We can work out what this will be later.

The Council can give us keys to their storage area in the cemetery, that can be used to store watering cans and other tools. They may also be able to fund the purchase of a water bowser, basically a water container on wheels, that would make it easier to water trees.

The Council's grounds maintenance contractor, Idverde, has a community engagement programme. They are able to help with resident activities such as planting days, education, and fundraising.

The Parks and Tree officers will be happy to participate in a walkabout with the Friends, where we can ask questions about the new trees and other matters.

It is useful to understand what the Council and its contractors' responsibilities are, and what the Friends can and cannot do. Generally, the Parks and Tree officers will want to know before we plant anything, or make any changes to vegetation. (For example, to avoid damaging underground structures, or to preserve biodiversity.) There are also guidelines regarding protecting the monuments. (For example, cleaning monuments is not permitted as they are private property and this can damage them.)

The Council's Parks Forum has a "memorandum of understanding" regarding how they work with Friends groups, which they will share with us. I will also put this information on the FCF website.

I have asked permission to affix Fulham Cemetery Friends signs on the 2 entrance gates, and they will arrange with their contractors that the signs are not removed. I will also create more flyers to place in nearby shops and so on.