Our Projects in Marple Memorial Park
The Friends of Marple Memorial Park have had amazing success with their projects in the park, thanks largely to the great support from local people, other voluntary organisations and the Marple business community. You can read more about these successes here.
Pavilion Roundels Art Project success despite Lockdown!
In April 2018, during discussions about maintenance of the former bowling pavilion in our park, we realised that by removing an old disused noticeboard we could create a large blank “canvas” for a potential artwork project under the pavilion canopy. Our committee of volunteers loved the idea because the pavilion was build by soldiers who returned from WWI in memory of their comrades who were lost and it would be a wonderful commemoration.
So Friends of the Park joined forces with Art Stop CIC to develop a new project to link-up with and build on this success by creating more platforms for different generations to connect through community art and to enhance the appearance of the former WWI Bowling Pavilion within our busy Community Park.
The Covid 19 pandemic stopped much of what we do in its tracks in 2020 but not this project, which has been a great success!
Refurbishment to the top section and creation of a MUGA
It seems an incredibly long time ago now that we first revealed our ideas for the top section of the skatepark and the basketball court. It was actually during the Team Extreme event at the 2017 Marple Carnival, which celebrated the successful completion of the skatepark improvements that we'd been working towards since 2011.
A phase II wasn't initially envisaged but as we neared the end of the project it became clear that we wouldn't really be finished until the old top section was brought up to the same standard as the new part of the skatepark, and the basketball court had been way past its best for a very long time. Phase I had been a huge success, with fantastic community support, and we hoped to build on that and maintain momentum.
New Bird and Bat Boxes in Marple Memorial Park
Not long after we were formed in 2003 Friends of the Park installed quite a lot of wooden bird and bat boxes around the park.
We noticed over the last few years that many of these had deteriorating badly, quite a few of the bird boxes had enlarged holes caused by Woodpeckers or Squirrels and several of both had fallen down.
In late 2019 we decided it was time to do something about this again and since December we've installed 18 new Woodcrete Bird Boxes and 8 Woodcrete Bat Boxes funded by our 50-50 Club and help from Stockport Hydro and Marple Senior Citizens.
Improved setting for Cpl. Danny Winter's Bench
As explained in our first article about Danny Winter's Bench, we can't take any credit for its original installation in 2009 - that was all down to his family - but we do think it instantly became a key feature of the park and we've always felt it was very important to care for it as part of our task days as best we can.
Back in June 2016 we enhanced the scene with the addition of what have become known to us as "Danny's Pots", which we make a big effort to keep well planted and watered during our task days. More recently, in the summer of 2019, we arranged for the worn grass in front of the bench to be replaced by cobbled setts.
Marple Town Centre Bench Refurbishments
Did you know all 17 Town Centre Benches were refurbished by Friends of the Park?
In 2013 we realised that we could utilise the skills we learnt in the park to refurbish the neglected benches in Marple Town Centre. By 2019 we had found sponsors for all 17 town centre benches and completed the last full refurbishment. Each refurbished bench has been fitted with a plaque acknowledging the sponsor and identifying that it was refurbished by Friends of the Park. The surplus income over expenditure boosted our skatepark project fund raising and helped with other projects in the park too.
It took two years of persuasion from when we first offered to venture outside of the park and refurbish the benches on Market Street, Derby Way and other areas of the Town Centre before the council allowed us to get started. The main obstacles of power-tools and risk assessment training were finally overcome and in August 2015 we were at last in a position to be able to do the work while covered by the council's insurance.