Friends of Springfield Park in Kidderminster
Springfield Park covers 42 acres and is sited between two areas of 'high need' in Kidderminster. Since its inception in 2009, the volunteer group Friends of Springfield Park (FoSP) has had a huge impact on the health and well-being of the children and families in the surrounding areas. The group is run by enthusiastic and able members who are determined to improve the park for the benefit of the local residents. FoSP has worked hard in tandem with Waltham Forest District Council (WFDC) to improve the environment in the park and to engage the local community and young people and this has already had a positive impact Anti-social behaviour has decreased. Many more people are using the park for recreation and exercise. More events and activities are organized by the FoSP on a regular basis such as the Spring into Summer Fair, Easter and Xmas Treasure hunts and Nature experiences, and local school children join us to plant bulbs, and enjoy Picnic in the Park events. In view of the catchment area, all these are provided free of charge by FoSP through fund raising and grants. Money raised has also been used to improve the park by providing notice boards, benches, picnic benches, a mural and three wood carvings.
Where are we now?
FoSP intends to continue to get more people out of their houses and into their park to help combat poor health and increase social inclusion in the area. The group are planning to provide a fitness trail, cycle/walking track and community cafe with disabled toilet to maximize use of the park to the community, with the cafe acting as a much needed centre for meeting and socialising. FoSP intends to run this as a Social Enterprise and have just registered as a Community Interest Company. The multi-purpose venue will be a resource for after school activities and clubs for the young people as well as day-time activities for elderly residents and young families.
The park is a hub of community life, getting more people involved in their local area. There are loads of different ways that the volunteers are involved in running the park:
- Fund raising – finding and applying for grants and other funds
- Raising money to provide the free activities through car boot sales, bric-a-brac and raffles
- Administration – meetings, accounts, minutes, park bookings
- Organising and hosting events and free activities for local children
- Liaison with WFDC, councillors, other voluntary groups, partnership groups, the community
- Maintenance of park- keeping it clean and tidy, paths, undergrowth removal
- Enhancing park - woodland garden, sculptures, paths, notice boards, picnic benches
- Promotion of group - newsletter, website, Facebook, press releases, flyers
- Supporting other voluntary groups
- Organising and supporting educational walks and talks on the nature of the Park
- Provide refreshments at events
- Maintaining an informative website (www.friendsofspringfieldpark.weebly.com) and Facebook page(FOSpringfieldPark)
Read what volunteering at Springfield park means to the people involved:
Keith (Ben) Bendall:
I joined FOSP in the Autumn of 2010. I had previously lived on an 8 acre smallholding in the depths of the Vale of Leadon (very few people know where that is!) and, having been obliged by circumstance to move to the town, I very much welcomed the opportunity to spend time working and walking in the glorious open countryside amidst the varied flora and fauna of Springfield Park. The group is the best I have ever joined. Everyone shares the same love and concern for the park. We're well-organised, hard-working, dedicated, effective, inventive and supportive; our time-keeping is exemplary; the many improvements we have brought about in the park have always been greatly appreciated by our public and of particular note in this regard has been the response to the artworks we have commissioned. We are never short of ideas for new events and attractions to encourage more and more people to come and enjoy this wonderful facility so very close to Kidderminster. Our only failing is that most of us are Senior Citizens and we'll need replacing.
I will try and explain what volunteering means to me - It gives me a wider outlook on community life, and you get a great feeling of achievement when, as part of a team of other volunteers, a project or event is successful.
I found that becoming part of a volunteer group helped me to replace the friendships I left behind when I retired from work. In my case I also volunteer on the Severn Valley Railway and this allows me to use and maintain the skills I learned as an engineering apprentice 50 years ago.
Jo Knight (Chair) and Megan
I see two huge benefits from volunteering, I love being part of our group it gives a real sense of belonging and I have got to know some wonderful people who I know class as friends. I also thrive on helping to make the park more accessible to the community through organising and hosting free events to maintain and enhance the park for all . My 16 year old daughter, Megan is also an active volunteer and was involved in the development of our web site.
Jayne Nicholl (Vice Chair)
When I moved to the area 18 months ago I knew no one. As a single person it is often difficult to make new friends. Joining the Friends of Springfield Park has been a real lifeline. I now have a group of great friends of all ages. I enjoy volunteering to help make our Park a better place for all the neighbourhood. While the roles we undertake are so varied it is never boring, the most rewarding for me is when we do nature events such as pond-dipping and watch the delighted faces of the children as they learn more about their environment. In the group we each contribute differently, I have found my skills have been of use in the areas of promotion and PR for our group.
Friends of Springfield Park www.friendsofspringfieldpark.weebly.com