September 2013 ....

WHY VOLUNTEER?

The Friends of Eastfield Park are again looking for volunteers to take part in an Autumn Tidy-up of the Park. The question may arise, “Why volunteer?” Well, people volunteer to work with the Friends of Eastfield Park for many reasons. The work we do helps to maintain and improve Eastfield Park, a valuable open space within the neighbourhood. This, in turn, enriches the local community by providing a place in which residents can find healthy exercise or quiet relaxation. Volunteering provides an opportunity for people to ‘make a difference’ by using their skills and experience to sustain and enrich the local area. Volunteering also gives participants the opportunity to meet new people, some with similar interests and others with interesting pastimes they might not otherwise encounter. You may even make new and lasting friendships. Volunteering is fun and fulfilling, allowing people to experience many diverse opportunities not always available elsewhere. For those out of work, there are the additional advantages of having something positive to put on a CV while unemployed and the possibility of gaining valuable experience and learning new skills.

In this instance we are looking for people to pick up litter, do some gardening, trim back unwanted vegetation or improve paths, but there are lots of other ways of helping the Friends. We desperately need people with administration skills to assist with fund-raising, either by organising fund-raising activities or by making applications to grant-awarding trusts. We need people with research skills to carry out further investigations into the Park’s history and wildlife. We need people with education skills to produce literature about the Park. We need people with computing skills to help maintain our websites and we need people with political skills to liaise with local councillors and council officials concerning the management of the Park. But most of all we need people with energy and enthusiasm, willing to join in a range of activities and learn from each other as we set about our aim of ‘improving the Park for the whole community’.

Undoubtedly, some people will be concerned about the level of commitment expected from volunteers; involvement with an organisation like Friends of Eastfield Park can indeed become very time consuming. But this need not be the case. We value contributions from those who can only give one hour a week, one hour a month or even one hour a year!

There will also be those who think that looking after the Park should be the job of the local council and not left to volunteers. To some extent we agree with this sentiment and we actively encourage the council to do more to take care of the Park. However, we also acknowledge that no council will ever be able to do everything we would like to see done and that local people need to take ‘ownership’ of the Park and get involved in their own actions to bring about improvements.

OTHER NEWS

Councillor Mike Hallam has promised two new litter bins for Eastfield Park. One will go near the Booth Lane entrance where we hope it will be used by students who eat lunch in the Park. The other will be located near the outfall from the lake where we hope it will be especially useful to people feeding the birds.

The public consultation on the proposed footpath across the Park from Eastfield to Lakeview has now closed. Early results suggest overwhelming support for the path though the precise route it should follow is a little more controversial. As has been pointed out elsewhere, although the path is being proposed by NBC in consultation with the FoEP, it is not yet certain that funds will be made available for the project.

The Friends of Eastfield Park now have a regular item, 'Comments Received', on their standard agenda for Committee Meetings. Members of the public are invited to notify the FoEP Chair, either directly or through this website, of any issues or concerns relating to Eastfield Park and they will be mentioned and minuted at the next meeting. More urgent matters can be reported directly to Park Ranger Jason Toyne. Jason works for NBC's Public Protection Division at the Westbridge Depot in St James Mill Road (Northampton NN5 5JW) and can be contacted on 01604 838000 (email: jtoyne@northampton.gov.uk). Of course, all criminal acts should be reported to the police; the more they are reported, the more likely it is that the police will take appropriate action.

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