FOTC’s AGM: Sunday 15 November

FOTC’s Annual General Meeting is on Sunday 15 November, by Zoom, from 3 to 4pm.  The agenda is here.

All FOTC members are of course very welcome to attend, and we would encourage everyone to do so.  Can members who would like to attend the Zoom meeting please let us know, by email to fotcinformation@gmail.com

If you are not an FOTC member, we would certainly encourage you to join, and help support our work, and attend the AGM!  Membership is only £6 a year for individual membership or £10 for a family.  You can join easily via this website at www.friendsoftootingcommon.uk/join-fotc.

FOTC Virtual Pumpkin Parade

The Friends of Tooting Common present the 2020 *VIRTUAL PUMPKIN PARADE* (Hallowe’en, 31st October 2020) … results below. Thank you to everyone who entered, everyone who spread the word, and to the judges and organisers … Peter, Fio, and Geraldine.

So we couldn’t be out & about on the common, which was a shame as it was a lovely evening, but we did the next best thing & hosted the pumpkin parade in cyberspace. As in previous years, there were classes for the Funniest, Scariest and Most Artistic carved pumpkins!

Funniest Pumpkin results … In reverse order (although they’re all very funny) …

Funniest pumpkin: Highly commended for Holly
Funniest pumpkin: 3rd place for Olivia (not sure what the pumpkin was surprised by!)
Funniest pumpkin: 2nd place for “Boris and Donald” (Jen)
Funniest pumpkin: 1st place for Yvonne

Scariest Pumpkin results … In reverse order (and, I don’t know about you, but they all scared the heck out of me) …

Scariest pumpkin: Highly commended for the second from left, although they are all great! (Harriet)
Scariest pumpkin: 3rd place for a very greedy pumpkin (@Junctionmum)
Scariest pumpkin: 2nd place for another hungry pumpkin (Lily)
Scariest pumpkin: 1st place for the pumpkinosaurus (Eve)

Most Artistic Pumpkin results … And finally, in reverse order (and everyone has really gone to town in this category, so it was very difficult to judge) …

Most Artistic pumpkin: Highly commended for a traditional witch pumpkin (Maya & William)
Most Artistic pumpkin: 3rd place for an original face (Joseline)
Most Artistic pumpkin: 2nd place for the Lion King transformed into a pumpkin lantern (Ben)
Most Artistic pumpkin: 1st place for a clever and powerful piece of sculpture (Andrea)
And to finish, a montage of entries! Thank you in particular to all the children who entered – that’s Olivia, Rosie, Holly, George, Phoebe, Rory, Ben, Felix, Lily, Riley, Oskar, Eddie, Olie, Rosie, Jonny, Yvonne’s family (and sorry if we missed anyone) – and we’ll send you your certificates very soon – hope you had a fun Hallowe’en and managed to save some sweets to eat today.

So that’s all from us.

Thank you so much to everyone who entered their pumpkins in the Friends of Tooting Common virtual pumpkin parade (and a spooky BOOOOOOOO! to all the pumpkins that didn’t enter the parade, hope you are all having a fun Hallowe’en too.)

We’ll send out certificates as soon as we can, and we hope to see you all on the commons at our events as soon as we are allowed.

Stay safe.

Thanks from the Friends of Tooting Common

FOTC-Pumpkin-Parade-poster-Oct-20

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.