Friends of Memorial Park Task Days in 2015
Here are details of our task days in 2015.
Weather was very November-ish for our last scheduled task day of 2015, although we may hold an ad-hoc one over the Christmas period if volunteers (and the weather) are are up for it.
Today we focused mainly on cutting back and clearing out the main park flowerbeds and the Garth Road shrub bed. We also did some trimming of the roses in the Bandroom garden and shrubs along the path leading to Station Road, litter picking and planted some donated ferns in the wildlife area behind the library.
Although we forgot our donation bucket this time a lady approached one of our volunteers and handed over £50, insisting that we spend it on our volunteers' Christmas Do! She said she uses the park regularly and has been watching what we do all year and wanted to say thank you. A lovely gesture, that is very much appreciated!
Park tidy-up for Remembrance Service helped by Brabyns Prep Pupils
Friends of the Park always put in a big effort just before the Remembrance Sunday Service to try and ensure that the park looks its best but wind and fallen leaves always make this a challenge! This year we had a special two-day clean-up on Friday and Saturday with extra-special help from pupils of Brabyns Preparatory School on the Friday afternoon. We were very impressed with the children's hard work and also how the older ones took care and chaperoned the young ones.
On Saturday volunteers continued the battle, focused on the park entrance and the road leading in to the car park. We also tidied around the War Memorial and surrounding flower beds and ensured the park was clear of litter.
A beautiful autumn day in the park on Saturday planting crocuses and clearing leaves. The leaves were taken to a composting area in the park and we hope that we'll get some great compost from them to feed back into the flowerbeds. The crocuses were donated to us by Marple and Goyt Valley Rotary and were planted in swirls alongside the main pathway. We've looking forward to them bursting into life in the spring.
Another great effort from local volunteers as we look towards the Remembrance Service on Sunday 8 November and try to make sure the park is at its best for this. Paths were weeded and swept, leaves raked and moved to our new leaf composting area and flowerbeds trimmed and tidied. We extended the WWI display on the railings of Hollins house as the first section is now full and replaced the commemorative flag on the pole nearest the building too. We also repaired guttering on the Bowler Hut, as we're fed up of waiting for the council to do it, picked litter and treated benches.
We had a fantastic response from park users today, who left more than £52 in our collection bucket. One person left a note with their donation asking for the money to be put towards the flowerbeds and we can clarify that all money collected in the park during out task days is allocated to our general fund for the plants and tools we need to keep the park looking its best. We feel that people add money to our bucket in response to the work they see us doing and that is what we should use it for.
Hard working Marple volunteers continued their good work in the park with multiple tasks including hedge and shrub trimming, bulb planting, bench treating, flowerbed maintenance, picking up leaves, litter and dog mess.
It was a glorious day in the park and passers-by donated almost £12 in our collection bucket, thank you!
Volunteers braved the rain that continued in fits and starts throughout today's session with work on the main flowerbeds, the library bed and toilet bed. A good dose of pruning back was also carried out at the Garth Road shrub bed too. General litter picking and clearing of dog mess from around the War Memorial and flowerbeds was also unfortunately necessary. The park was much quieter than normal due to the weather but visitors still managed to pop more than £5 in our collection bucket.
It was good to note that repair to the edges of the safe surfaces in the Junior Play Area is currently underway and we should soon have that new roundabout we campaigned for earlier in the year.
Our first task day using power tools was another productive day, as we tried out our brand new standard and long-reach petrol-driven hedge trimmers. It's taken a long time to get to this stage but it should make many tasks much easier.
While some played with new toys, others were grafting hard to keep the flowerbeds in great shape. We received lots of wonderful and encouraging comments about them and park users dropped nearly £25 in our donation bucket to show their appreciation. Work on park benches and litter-picking too means that the park is still looking its best thanks to Marple volunteers.
It's been two years since the Friends Group first offered to venture outside of the park and refurbish the benches on Market Street, Derby Way and other areas of the Town Centre. With the main obstacles of power-tools and risk assessment training finally overcome, we are now at last in a position to be able to do this work whilst covered by the council's insurance.
Trial bench completed
After a prolonged campaign, lobbying the council to help us get into this position, we're delighted to have completed our first trial bench at long last on Sunday 23 August. This is the one on Market Street, near to the NatWest Bank, and we hope that people who see it will agree that it's a huge improvement. You can see the transformation in the photos below:
Why do a trial bench?
The objective of doing a trial bench was to show people what we could do and also to learn for ourselves how easy or difficult the task would be. We learned a great deal while doing this first bench and would now like to tackle the remainder with our trained volunteers, however, there is now the issue of funding to tackle. We don't feel that funds raised for the park should be used to refurbish all of the town centre benches.
Funding needed to tackle the rest of the benches
So we now need to find some funds to allow us to get stuck into the remaining benches. We need to cover the cost of sanding materials, paint, brushes, preservative, fuel (for our generator), replacement tools and maintenance costs for the next couple of years (we will need to treat them at least once a year to keep them looking their best).
We are hoping that local shops and businesses will be prepared to sponsor the refurbishment of a bench near to their premises. We are proposing that a donation of £100 will cover the refurbishment of one bench plus ongoing maintenance for two years. We can also offer an option where the sponsor can pay to have a plaque fitted to the bench they have sponsored. This will increase the cost to £160 to include the provision of a plaque saying "Sponsored by Your Business, refurbished by Friends of Memorial Park", just like the one below, which can be seen on one of the refurbished benches near to the park entrance:
Any surplus funds left over will be used by the Friends for improvements to Marple Memorial Park.
Get in touch if you want to help us smarten up Marple Town Centre!
If your local business would like to sponsor the refurbishment of a Town Centre Bench outside your premises, please get in touch with Mark Whittaker or Patrick O'Herlihy of Friends of the Park.
A productive day as a dozen volunteers beavered away in the park weeding beds and paths, planting new plants and shrubs, treating benches and sculptures, trimming hedges and shrubs and picking up litter and dog mess. Marple Allotment Association were out in force too. We had our donation bucket out and also gave away some tiny potted Christmas trees for kids to grow on. Generous park users contributed over £16 to our gardening fund. It's good to be appreciated, thank you!
Glorious weather for this weekend's task day and mostly all hands to the shrub bed near to the Bowling Green, which we hadn't realised was quite so overgrown! Other tasks included treatment of benches and sculptures, planting in the Garth Road shrub bed, weeding and leveling of the French Boules Court, a few plants added to the flowerbeds, litter picking throughout the park and, frustratingly, picking up quite a lot of dog mess!
It was good to chat with new local councillor Annette Finnie, who was very complimentary about the efforts of our volunteers, and several other park users too. One chap returned after talking to us with a huge bag of copper coins. We've still to count this yet but other members of the public donated nearly £8 in our bucket too.