A crowdfunding campaign by Merton residents to restore Cannizaro Park raised over £6000 in just five days.
The Friends Priority 2020 project is the first to be carried out on the grade II listed Wimbledon park for 20 years and is expected to take five years to complete.
The campaign was launched on 1 October and has already hit its £6000 target that was set for the end of the month, with a new stretch target of £7500 now in place.
Chair and Trustee of Friends of Cannizaro Park, the group that organised the funding, Catherine Nelson said: “We are hoping that this restoration will bring pleasure to many people.
“We know that public spaces have become increasingly important to people during Covid, it is one of the few places that people can go to meet friends and family.
“What we are hoping for as much as anything is that lots of people get involved and help out.”
Nelson also stressed the importance of public parks in today’s uncertain times, as well as speaking about the therapeutic benefit of being outdoors.
She said: “What we are seeing is that it has become an important part of their lives, I think being outdoors is very calming for people.”
Work on the first stage will start this autumn and is slated for completion by Spring 2021.
It will transform the main entrance of the 300 year old estate and will cost an estimated £13,500.
Friends of Cannizaro Park had already raised half of the funds, and set up the crowdfunding campaign to secure the other half.
A team of 50 volunteers will carry out a variety of gardening tasks, from planting an avenue of trees, to extending yew hedging.
Further 2021 projects, with funds raised by the stretch goal, will improve the Rose Garden and Valley Path.
The transformation is being executed in collaboration with Merton Borough Council as well as two Chelsea Flower Show gold medalists.
The restoration comes at a time when parks around the country have seen increased footfall due to restrictions on indoor gatherings.
This summer on a typical weekend Cannizaro Park welcomed over 1500 visitors.
The park was originally the grounds of the 18th century Warren House before being transferred into public ownership in 1948.
Feature image: Crocus garden at Cannizaro Park. Credit: Laura Nolte