Volunteers had another successful tidy up in the park today – see photos below. We were joined by a team from CWaC so we made good progress.
We will be out again on Wednesday 5th November if anyone else would like to come along and lend a hand. Please bring any appropriate gardening implements.
And here we were again on another bright sunny morning – clearing the footpath, cutting back, weeding and new planting. Weather permitting, more again next Wednesday if anyone would like to join us!
Thank you to all our volunteers who generously donated their time to make a difference to our park.
As I receive more photos of our efforts I will upload to the website but here’s a selection.
Going forward and as Government advice changes, could we suggest to all that we continue our efforts in small groups (6 or less) on an ad hoc basis, advising either Sue Britton or Steve Telford in advance so that the FoWP insurance covers the activity. We’d welcome before and after photos.
Thank you to all our helpers today – great effort and it has made such a difference.
Many thanks to the dozen volunteers who turned up today in very blustery conditions to shift tree and hedge cuttings to various sites around the park. We didn’t quite finish the job but pretty close and it all looks much better.
Many thanks to all the helpers who turned up for our FoWP Volunteer Day on 13 January and put in a tremendous amount of effort. There were 40+ volunteers in attendance during the 3 hour period and a lot was achieved including the clean-up of the Lache Lane and Cliveden Road entrances, removal of the nettles within the young children’s play area, clearing of the pathways next to the play area and the fence which protects the young children’s football pitches, and planting of a large number of daffodil bulbs. As a result of this tremendous response we shall be planning a further Volunteer Day later in the spring.
Despite rather mixed weather, Westminster Park has been a hive of activity during the summer months. Local residents and visitors have been making good use of the wide range of sporting and recreation facilities. Clubs and sports groups that meet in the park have all had full programmes of games, league matches, training and coaching, and the children’s play area and BMX track have been busy throughout the holiday period. Even on grey, damp days, there are always hardy dog walkers and exercise enthusiasts to be seen. And everyone has welcomed the improved range of food and beverages at the café.
In July there was a national Love Parks Week to celebrate public open spaces and recreation areas. As its contribution to the event, the Council sent out members of its Green Space team to local parks with special heart-shaped notice boards for park users to write their own personal message “I love my park because … ” The team happened to visit Westminster Park when a weekly croquet session was in full swing. Mustering all their literary skills, the players gladly obliged and were duly photographed displaying their completed heart-shaped notice boards.
Following unauthorised incursions by travellers last year and again earlier this year, a height barrier and other preventative measures are being considered by the Council and we are waiting to hear the outcome. The Council has also initiated a project to renovate the changing room area in the central café block but as yet there is no information as to when completion is expected and how it will operate.
In response to incidents of vandalism and anti-social behaviour, park users will have noticed increased patrols by our local police, PCSO and community safety wardens.
Looking ahead, the main challenge is how the attractiveness and standards of the park can be maintained in a context of ever tightening constraints on Council spending. There has been an increasing number of comments and complaints about falling standards of upkeep: grassed areas being cut less frequently, nettles and other weeds spreading across paths, the children’s play area and the BMX track, and maintenance and repairs taking a long time or not being done. Greater community involvement by volunteers may be a way forward but volunteers will undoubtedly want a say in how the park is managed.
Friends of Westminster Park
Westminster Park has enjoyed another good year. A fine spring followed by an unusually warm and sunny summer and then a very mild autumn has resulted in the park being a hive of activity. There was one sunny weekend in September when all the football pitches were in use with lots of spectators, cricket was being played, there were croquet and bowls matches in progress, the Glan Aber and the newly refurbished public tennis courts were fully occupied, there were people exercising in the outdoor gym and in the multi-use games area, a bevy of energetic cyclists on the BMX track and lots of children, parents and grandparents in the children’s play area. The grassed areas and the fine turf lawns and pitches have been well maintained, the annual plantings at the Hough Green entrance and in the café area have looked very attractive, and the foliage on the park’s wide variety of trees has looked particularly splendid in the spring and autumn sunshine.
In addition to ensuring that standards are maintained at a time when council finances continue to be squeezed, the main challenge facing the park is the future of the café and the nine hole golf course. Both have been managed by Brio but have not lived up to earlier expectations. Our understanding is that the Council is currently reviewing other options for future management of these core assets. There is a high level of local voluntary participation in the various sports clubs that meet in the park and it would be nice to see the formation of a similarly active and enterprising community golf club as well as a café offering a much more attractive range of food and beverages. The door is wide open for local initiatives but, unless new ideas and proposals are forthcoming, there is a real risk these facilities will wither on the vine. To repeat the message in the last newsletter, if anyone has an interest or knows of anyone else with an interest in developing these facilities, the Friends of Westminster Park would be delighted to hear and to discuss possibilities. Keep in touch and feedback is welcome though the FOWP’s website at www.westminsterpark.org.uk/ .
David Guyton – Chairman