Welcome from Friends of Marple Memorial Park
Friend of Marple Memorial Park are a volunteer community group formed in December 2003 to care for and help make the park in Marple Town Centre a better place for everyone in the Local Community: The group's aim is to provide opportunities for community members to improve and promote the use, awareness and care of facilities within Marple Memorial Park in order to make it a more welcoming, safe and enjoyable environment for all. Our full constitution is published here.
What Friends of Marple Memorial Park do:
There are several elements to the group's activities. These include park maintenance, undertaking projects of all kinds to improve the park and its infrastructure, organising events and activities and raising funds to support the group's aims and objectives.
The group is managed by a committee of 7 individuals elected at an Annual General Meeting, including the key roles of Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer. The management committee generally meet once a month and minutes are produced as a record.
The group has approximately 40 registered volunteers who work in the park and huge support from the community including residents and local businesses.
The first key element is the maintenance of the park's flowerbeds, shrub beds, benches and other fixtures, fittings and infrastructure. This is carried out by volunteers during an average of two regular task days per month. There is a full record of all our task days here.
In the early years, following the group's formation, task days were led by the council's Parks and Recreation staff, who provided the expertise and experience to organise and manage the activities undertaken by our volunteers. In those days, the efforts of our volunteers were like the “cherry on top”, making the park look its very best.
In more recent years the council has made progressive and extreme cuts to their park maintenance budgets, resulting in withdrawal of support at task days by all of their staff and contractors. In order to keep things going key volunteers had to receive Task Leader training and now risk assessments, task day applications and and all aspects of task day activities are managed and undertaken by the volunteers themselves.
The council's cuts have also meant a reduction in the extent of park maintenance undertaken by their own operatives, resulting in the Friends Group volunteers having to step up and fill the gaps that were appearing to avoid a decline in standards.
Saving the Flowerbeds:
In 2011, when we learned that the Council planned to save money by grassing over the flowerbeds in our park, we campaigned to stop this and adopted them ourselves. We raised funds to re-plant them with perennial plants, also receiving many plants donated by the public, and did all the work with volunteers. We also persuaded the local Allotment Association to adopt a couple of the beds and they now grow fruit and vegetables in the park for the public to help themselves. We understand that we were the only group in Stockport that managed to stop our flowerbeds being grassed over.
We have now also taken over the management and maintenance of the War Memorial beds, all other flowerbeds in the park and most of the shrub beds too. We are always getting compliments about how good the park looks and often receive donations from the public to help us keep on top of things. Read more about saving the flowerbeds here.
Projects in the Park:
Another key element to the group's activities is the initiation and implementation of both large and small projects to improve the park. These includes fund-raising, grant applications and working in close partnership with Stockport Council's Greenspace Team, the owners of the park, to meet our various project aims and objectives.
The group has successfully completed numerous projects in the park, sometimes fully funding them ourselves, and at other times helping and supporting the council or working together to gain access to a variety of funding sources.
Key project successes:
We’ve achieved some fantastic improvements to the park for people of all ages since we were formed and our many project to date have made a big difference to the park. The Projects Section of our web site highlights our key project successes.
Events in the Park:
The group also organises events in the park and attends those arranged by others in the park or at other locations in the area. Events in the park have included WWI guided walks, an annual Treasure Hunt, now in its 5th year, skatepark fund-raising activities and celebrations, and taking part in Marple's Carnival, Locks Festival and Open Gardens.
In 2018 We helped organise Open Gardens in Marple and had a gazebo and displays in the park for 2 days over the weekend of the event in July, which raised £13,000 for Cancer Research UK. We also sold plants at Marple Carnival 2018 and raised £518 for CR UK.
In 2018 we introduced a scheme called “Little Growers”, which engages children in springtime to plant a seed in a pot, take it home, nurture it, and then re-plant it in the park when it has grown large enough. We provide compost and a biodegradable pot for the children to plant their seeds in and they are invited to come back to the park to replant whatever they manage to grow on any of our Task Days during the summer.
In 2015 a series of six guided walks led by tour guide Andy Cook were organised that showed local people where many of the soldiers killed during WWI lived. These were provided free of charge but collections raised £400 towards the Poppy Appeal.
The group has an enviable track-record of fund-raising and at the end of 2018 the total money raised since the group began reached an amazing £113,686. This is just the money raised directly by the group and passed through our own accounts. It does not include other grants, income and match-funding we have helped to bring into the council's own coffers for the park, which amounts to a further £281,600+.