Newsletter – Aug 18
What have we been up to?
It might not look like ‘The Friends’ have been doing anything major in the last few months, but rest assured we have been trying to plug away on various things behind the scenes.
Following the 2017 public consultation, we fed your thoughts and ideas back to Preston City Council with regards to how to proceed with any improvements on the park. However, because of Government austerity measures, the Parks Department is under-funded and short-staffed so understandably are having to prioritise urgent health & safety related matters in Preston’s parks, rather than long-term capital improvements. What this means for Conway Park is that any major works are going to take longer than we want to secure funding for and get underway.
That said, we have made progress with some of the smaller stuff….
- A successful Community litter-pick and balsam bash took place in the Spring.
- The Council are now maintaining the brook valley path on a regular basis.
- Soft landscaping will hopefully take place in the Autumn within the main park grassland area. This will replace some of the trees that have been lost in the storms over the last few years.
- Investigations on the drainage for the playground have taken place using a camera within the pipework underground, so that we can assess potential costs to fix the current boggy conditions.
- We are in the process of applying for various grant funding.
What are our future plans?
As a result of the public consultation, we have determined the following priorities, which we will endeavour to push forward with, once funding is secured. As a rough guide, approx £200k will be required for these two major improvements:
- Installation of a perimeter path around the park on the west side alongside the railway line, running from the Pavilion Building down to the north end of the park to the existing brook valley path (several local concerns have determined that it will not run along the east side of the park behind the houses).
- Improvements to the children’s playground equipment and ground cover, including drainage of the area.
Some of the initial ideas for park improvements will not take place as a result of the feedback we received (eg adults exercise area, events area, zip-wire, trees near the main entrance gate). The Council’s Landscape Architects will draw up revised plans to show these revisions and we will share these once we have them.
When do we meet?
The Friends of Conway Park Committee Group meet up every 6-8 weeks, usually on a Thursday evening at 7.15pm. We currently have 9 regular members who try their best to share the tasks required. We are all volunteers. Help and support is gratefully received, especially in the run-up to any fundraising events we organise. New members to the committee are ALWAYS WELCOME to share the load. If you have a vested interest in Conway Park (perhaps you walk your dog or have grandchildren who visit the play area) and have a bit of spare time, please come and join us and help us move the project forward. Our next meeting is on Thurs 20th Sept at 7.15pm – get in touch if you would like to join us or if you have any ideas/issues you would like us to discuss on your behalf.
Why do we need to fundraise?
Gone are the days where investment projects for our parks plugged into a central pot of money and the Council simply got on with it. The way it works now is that we have to secure grant funding. For example, we apply to an organisation offering grant ‘match-funding’ but in order to secure that grant, we need to prove it is a worthwhile cause. Often this means that we have to put up the first part of money (perhaps 10% of the total cost) or show that another funder is willing to provide finance. This is why we arrange fundraising activities and events…. We are trying to build up that initial pot of money.
Upcoming events to look out for…..
- Picnic in the Park & Family Fun Day. Bank Holiday Weekend (Sunday 26th August) from 12 noon.
- Cheese & Wine evening (Date TBC but probably early-mid November) including the AGM
Check our website or facebook page for more event information.
OTHER NEWS – DRAINAGE WORKS
Cadley FC have employed a contractor to improve the drainage on the football pitches, therefore various heavy machinery will be present on the park over the next few weeks. Please take care when using the park.