Volunteers are crucial to our work and help London Parks & Gardens in a myriad of ways: coordinating events, including the flagship London Open Gardens weekend; conducting research and supporting our planning work.  

Our volunteers find their involvement rewarding, sociable and fun, so if you have some spare time and are interested in our work, come and muck in!  

What unites our volunteers is a passion for London and its historic green spaces, as well as a desire to work together to increase understanding and concern for them.

Volunteer Profile: Emma Sweeney – Planning Conservation and Working Group

Emma has been volunteering with LPG since July 2022 as part of the Planning Conservation and Working Group (PCWG).

The PCWG works to ensure planning policies protect London’s parks, gardens and green spaces by responding to planning application consultations on behalf of London Parks & Gardens.

Emma joined as a volunteer initially while completing her Historic Environment Advice Assistant (HEAA) apprenticeship developed by Historic England.

We spoke to Emma to find out more about her volunteer journey:

Why did you decide to get involved in volunteering at LPG?

During my apprenticeship I was looking for experience responding to proposals for change to the historic environment / casework that could be part of my portfolio. I have a role at World Monuments Fund (WMF) Britain however, casework is not part of this job. I have an interest in gardens/designed landscapes and value access to public green space, so volunteering for LPG was the right fit! Although my apprenticeship has finished, I am continuing to volunteer.

What does a usual week of volunteering at LPG look like and what planning case have you been most proud of working on?

The borough I am responsible for is the City of London. A usual week volunteering involves checking the weekly consultation database, planning portal and curating responses to planning cases in my borough. The cases I have enjoyed working on the most have involved the Barbican Estate as it is one of my favourite places in London. The designers of Barbican Estate, Chamberlin, Powell and Bon considered the social fabric of the community who would occupy the Estate when designing the landscape. I feel this ethos is missing in a lot of today’s housing developments. 

Thank you to Emma for sharing her volunteer story with us. To find out more about volunteering please email: Office@Londongardenstrust.org

Duck Island Cottage
Duck Island Cottage, Headquarters of London Parks & Gardens © Colin Wing

The charity is fortunate to have use of Duck Island Cottage as its h.q. and office. The Cottage is owned by The Royal Parks.