Friends of Love Lane Green (South Drawood exhibition)
- Year Invented: 2018
The Friends of Love Lane have put a great amount of time and effort into changing the green space at the end of Love Lane. The organisation started in 2015 although one of their members has been campaigning for the land for over 30 years. When the council wanted to sell of the land around three decades ago Joan would do sit ins on the land to stop the council from selling it off. She is still heavily involved today saying for her it is about ‘taking pride in my community’. The group started by clearing the fly tipping in the area over when Emma organised a cleaning day and over 30 people attended and the group has grown from there. They now have 10 committee members and run a series of volunteering days, facilitating the development of the space.
The group make are self-described ‘opportunists’ who use of a lot of the objects which are left on the land for their projects. For example, their water butt and compost bin were fly tips which they repurposed. They have also recently made a pond out of an old sandbox which is seeing toads start to visit. Their volunteers come from all walks of life and are a variety of different ages. Most of their funding comes from donations but they have also been supported by WeLoveSE25. Every year they enter the RHS London in Bloom competition and are confident that one day they will win!
Words by Elizabeth Walters
Interview with Emma, Chris and Joan, Committee members of the Friends of Love Lane, April 2022
Friends of Love Lane
Love Lane Green, London, SE25 4NG
This project was part of the South Drawood exhibition in 2022 by artist Jonny Kemp. A community art project celebrating the people of South Norwood, SE25.
From autumn of 2021 to summer 2022, Jonny drew 40 portraits of independent business owners, volunteers, and other movers and shakers from South Norwood, his local area. His partner Lizzie interviewed them.
South Norwood is regenerating yet doesn’t want to gentrify: it wants to keep its character and support people who already live in the area to prosper. This was Jonny and Lizzie’s way of ‘giving South Norwood a hug’: by representing the diverse people of SE25 through portraits in fine liner pen, and their own stories.
The portraits were displayed in Stanley Arts, a beautiful Edwardian arts venue on South Norwood Hill. Over 150 people attended the opening night: Friday 29th July 2022.