"Looking after Bexley's little river"
The group was formed by a core group of Thames 21 volunteers in 2012. The loss of funding for Thames 21’s Shuttle Riverkeeper Joanne Bradley meant that the active group she had been leading on the Shuttle for several years was put at risk. Keen to ensure that their good work could continue Joanne formed the Friends group. Friends of the Shuttle are a group of volunteers keen to conserve and promote the wildlife and biodiversity of the River Shuttle and to give people a chance to get involved.
FotS volunteers meet at various points along the River Shuttle to clear litter from the channel and keep it clear for wildlife and for those who enjoy walking along its banks. But FotS are involved in more than just litter picking. Our work also includes river enhancements, wildlife walks and surveying, removal of invasive species and talking to the general public about what the River Shuttle has to offer. FotS has also done work on the wildlife pond at Parish Wood park. Children’s events are also held at least twice a year to introduce a new generation to the importance - and fun - of nature conservation.
Volunteers are able to learn new practical skills, see a part of Bexley Borough that they may not yet have discovered, enjoy fresh air and exercise, and all in the company of very friendly, like-minded people. There is of course always the promise of tea and biscuits at the end of every event, an essential element of all conservation work.
Having led two very successful and well-attended Danson lake clean-up operations with volunteers in summer 2014 and early 2015, FotS has expanded its operations and is also now running Danson Park events on a regular basis including more clean-ups and wildlife walks here. Danson Lake drains into the River Shuttle in Bexley Park Woods.
Two years ago Bexley Council asked FotS to take on the maintenance of the pollinator-friendly borders in this beautiful garden opposite Danson House which were at risk of being turfed over as a result of budgetary constraints. The resulting group now meet every Thursday from 10am-1pm and has made a huge difference.