FOTC Virtual Pumpkin Parade

The Friends of Tooting Common present the 2020 *VIRTUAL PUMPKIN PARADE* on Saturday 31 October 2020

As in previous years, there will be classes for the Funniest, Scariest and Most Artistic carved pumpkins!

Unfortunately, given the restrictions imposed on physical gatherings, this year it will all be done online. But, it’ll still be fun.

There is no charge for entry, but if you are able to, then please consider making a donation to Wandsworth Foodbank, who are helping many people during the crisis. You can make a donation here: https://bit.ly/2GXXSrY; and find out more about what your donation will help them to do here: https://wandsworth.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/donate/

To enter the competition, please send us a photo of your carved pumpkin (and tell us which category you’re entering – Funniest, Scariest or Most Artistic) by 5pm on Saturday 31 October. You can enter by doing one of the following:

Results will be published on www.friendsoftootingcommon.uk/virtualpumpkinparade from about 10pm on Saturday 31 October.

FOTC-Pumpkin-Parade-poster-Oct-20

  1. Usual FOTC rules & disclaimers apply.
  2. If you don’t tell us which category you’re entering, we’ll pick the most obvious one for your pumpkin.
  3. The judges’ decisions are final.

Photos of Tooting Common in August/September

A number of people post photos of the Common on the FoTC Facebook page, particularly of trees and plants.

A set of photos from over the last few weeks, is here:  FOTC, august-september2020

As before, we (FoTC) hope these photos will help celebrate the Common, particularly for people who aren’t often able to get out onto it.

Many thanks to all of the photographers, and particularly to Roy (Vickery) for his very informative posts, and for sharing his botanical expertise with us.  Many thanks also to Eamonn (Richardson) for drawing these photos together.

We are producing a similar ‘compendium’ of photos of the Common and posts every few weeks, so we have a longer-term record of how the Common looks at different times. Some photos for previous months are:

FOTC JULY-AUGUST 2020

FOTC-June-July-2020

FOTC-May/June2020

 FOTC April/May 2020

Alongside circulating these photos, we are also running a ‘photo of the month’ competition. (See separate blog post on this.)

FOTC – August ‘photo of the month’

Congratulations to Jesse Kornblum for winning Friends of Tooting Common’s ‘photo of the month’ competition for Tooting Common for August, with this photo:

Many thanks to everyone who entered the competition for August. There were a lot of very good photos, and choosing the winning photo was not easy! A link to all the photographs received is here: POTM-August2020

Friends of Tooting Common’s ‘photo of the month’ competition runs each month.  The arrangements are:

  • The photo can be of any aspect of Tooting Common, particularly one which brings out its distinctive character. It should be taken in the month concerned.
  • It can include people, but any photo including children should be from a distance and not identify faces.
  • No-one can submit more than 5 photos for any month
  • Photo(s) submitted for the competition are then in the “public domain” and may be used publicly
  • We announce the winner early in the following month. The prize is a copy of the hand-drawn map of Tooting Common by local artist Joanna Canessa.

Please submit your photo(s) for September by Wednesday 30 September to fotcinformation@gmail.com! Please entitle the email “Photo of the Month”

Previous winners

The winners of FOTC’s ‘photo of the month’ for previous months were Norma Kearns in July, and George Mills in June.

Anti-social behaviour: late-night noisy events


There have been concerns recently at a number of late-night noisy events and parties on the Common, and other antisocial behaviour. We understand that the police are aware of this and are taking action.

If anyone witnesses antisocial behaviour of any kind please report it to the Metropolitan Police Service by calling 101.  If it feels like the situation could get heated or violent very soon, if someone is in immediate danger, or if a person needs support right away, please call 999.

Ecological impact on wildlife of current use of greenspaces

Valerie Selby (Parks Development and Biodiversity Manager at Enable) has written this very interesting article on the ecological impacts on wildlife of the current increased use of greenspaces in Wandsworth, including Tooting Common.

Among other things, Valerie refers (in the final paragraph) to the “30 days Wild” challenge from the Wildlife Trusts in June: https://www.wildlondon.org.uk/news/30-days-wild.   You may like to consider participating in this.

FOTC Virtual Fun Dog Show 2020

Friends of Tooting Common were not able to run our usual annual Fun Dog Show on Tooting Common this year, because of coronavirus. Instead, we ran a ‘virtual’ Fun Dog Show, which we broadcast on Sunday 17 May. It was a very enjoyable event, with a total of about 120 entrants across seven classes – Best puppy; Best rescue dog; Best looking hound; Best looking bitch; Best veteran; Best trick or action video; Dog that looks most like its owner.

A report on the Show – which lists the winners in each of the classes (with photos) is here:

The Show itself is here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-esB9nb8cs 

Many thanks to everyone involved, particularly our judges: Councillor Jane Cooper (Mayor of Wandsworth); Mark Callis (of the Wandsworth Council Animal Welfare Service); Jacqueline Said (of Dogs of Tooting Common Facebook Group); Tim and Sally (of Downtown Woof); Matthew Billson (of the Tooting Commons MAC); Nick Heath (broadcaster and sports commentator); and Constable Selina Hill of the Wandsworth Parks Police.

The Show fundraised for the St George’s Hospital Charity’s Coronavirus Appeal, and we raised £475. Many thanks to everyone who contributed to this.

We hope it might be possible to run an ‘actual’ Fun Dog Show on the Common later in the year, but this will of course depend on developments on coronavirus.

Stay safe and well!

Tooting Common: “Virtual” bluebell walk

In most years, around the end of April Friends of Tooting Common arrange a walk to see the bluebells in Graveney Woods. This walk isn’t possible this year in the current circumstances: but with the photos at link below – which are of both Spanish and English bluebells – one can do a “virtual” walk: 

Bluebells Graveney Woods

Many thanks to Leonie (Cooper) for these.

Stay safe and well.

Friends of Tooting Common

FOTC comments on Triangle planning application

Reflecting our consideration of the application, and following consultation with our members, Friends of Tooting Common have not either supported or objected to the application for development of the Triangle site overall.  We recognise that there are a number of welcome benefits to the plans, but there are also significant concerns about the impact on the Common and some users, if planning conditions/mitigants are not applied.

We therefore indicated, in the comments we made, as below, that if was decided to approve the application, a number of conditions should be added, including free access by schools to the redgra pitch when enclosed; reduced charges for the “play and stay” facilities; measures to ensure that noise from the site is kept to a reasonable minimum; and measures to ensure that the adjacent children’s playground can remain fully in operation, safely, throughout the building work.  

The application has now been approved by Wandsworth Council’s Planning Applications Committee.   FOTC are very disappointed that these additional conditions we proposed have not been added, nor were they considered at the PAC meeting.   We will seek to engage with further consideration of the operational arrangements for the development, to try to ensure that these concerns are covered there.

Using Tooting Common during the Coronavirus outbreak

Wandsworth Council’s latest guidance on using greenspaces is in this open letter from Neil Blackley (Enable Head of Parks) to everyone visiting greenspaces in Wandsworth over the end-May bank holiday weekend, stressing the need to observe social distancing:

https://wandsworth.gov.uk/news/may-2020/open-letter-from-head-of-parks-on-need-to-maintain-safe-distancing/?utm_source=Wandsworth%20Borough%20Council&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=11559583_May%2022&dm_i=XWH,6VRFJ,76W0WI,RN22A,1

Friends of Tooting Common strongly support the comments in this letter.

Among other things, given the heavy usage of the Common at present, and consequent levels of litter, we encourage all users of the Common to take litter home with them, and certainly not to leave litter adjacent to bins which are full.

We are though raising with Enable and the Council the need for an increase in litter collection.

Wandsworth Council have also issued several previous Press Notices for people using greenspaces in Wandsworth during the current COVID-19 outbreak:

  • on maintaining ‘social distancing’ (2 metre gap between people) :

https://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/news/march-2020/two-metre-rule-vital-in-keeping-safe-and-preventing-spread-of-virus-in-parks-and-open-spaces/

  • on keeping dogs on a lead:

https://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/news/march-2020/why-must-dogs-be-kept-on-leads-in-parks/?utm_source=Wandsworth%406&utm_campaign=c318eaa9e4-Wandsworth%406&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fbd64a91fa-c318eaa9e4-398471425

  • on joggers and runners giving other people space

https://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/news/april-2020/joggers-please-give-people-space/

All information from Wandsworth Council on Coronavirus – both for people needing help, and for those volunteering to help – is here: https://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/coronavirus

Similar information from Lambeth Council on Coronavirus is at https://www.lambeth.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19

Stay safe and well.