Friends of Huntingtree Park

About Us

The Committee

Officers:

  • Chairman: Alan Hackett
  • Vice-chair: Chris Matthews
  • Treasurer: Margaret Bond
  • Secretary: Jane Matthews

Members:

  • Terry Cutler
  • Sue Kirk
  • Carol Matthews
  • Linda McLennaghan

Why did we start a ‘Friends’ group?

To help tackle the problems of anti-social behaviour on the park. There were problems with young people drinking, setting fire to trees and bins, drug taking, graffiti and throwing glass bottles from a recycling facility onto the children’s play area. As a result people were not using the park and this behaviour was spilling over onto the streets of the local area.


Our Aims

To make physical improvements to the park, to address the problems on the park, to create a sense of community pride in the park and to increase the number of people using and enjoying the park.


How did we start?

Our local councillor lived near the park and walked his dog there every day. He was well aware of the problems on the park. He was very supportive of the local residents and also sympathetic to the interests and well being of all users of the park especially the young.

He invited a few local people to a meeting on Wednesday 26th July 2006 where we discussed:

  • The problems on the park
  • The role of the Council
  • The role of the Greencare team
  • The police response to problems
  • The dangerous and excessive litter caused by a recycling facility.

A Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary were elected and we were given a Draft Constitution.


Involving the Local Community

We attended the AGM of the Dudley Association of Friends of Parks and this was a truly scary occasion for us! Individuals from Dudley and the other ‘Friends’ groups were very friendly but our overall impression was of efficiency and achievement. We felt completely overwhelmed and inadequate!

On the 31st January 2007 we attended a meeting held by Hope Street F.O.P. They were a newly formed group who were slightly ahead of us in their planning and development. We were greatly encouraged by their sincerity and by their commitment to involve the whole community in the plans for their park. Kate Green, from Dudley CVS, spoke at the meeting in an advisory capacity and we felt that here was someone we could understand and relate to. We invited her to our next meeting and from that day she has helped, guided and encouraged us.

We visited other parks in Dudley, Nottingham and London and this helped us to see what was possible. We took photos of these parks and showed them at fund raising occasions. We had help to design a Logo and this gave us a sense of identity.

We made a Development Plan of short, medium and long term goals and a ‘Wish List’ of things we wanted in the park.

Officers from Dudley Council came to the park, and with representatives from Greencare and the local police we looked round the park and discussed our ‘Wish List’. Following this meeting Dudley sent us more professional development plans.

We knew that we had to seek the opinions of the local community if we were to make any changes on the park. Questionnaires were hand delivered to local residents, the Youth Club, Mums with young children, dog walkers, bowlers, footballers and other people who use the park. These were then collected personally and any one who filled in the form was invited to be a ‘Friend of Huntingtree Park’. They were reassured that this involved support and not work!

In order to apply for funding everything in the group has to be set up correctly. Ishrat Mohammed from the Local Involvement Programme was assigned to us and she checked through our Constitution and all the documentation we had with regard to the Consultation process and our findings.

We were given a list of possible funders and told that many were interested in the benefits for young people and would only provide money for these projects. For a time we had a close relationship with the local Youth Club and one of their members was on the committee.

We approached the local Primary School with our ideas for the park and invited the Year 6 children, who would be next years teenagers, to join us on a project in the park. They agreed and made the project part of their Citizenship Curriculum. It is a very successful ongoing project which we hope will continue. So far we have planted over 2500 daffodil bulbs with them.

As it was the schools 50th Anniversary we funded a competition to design a suitable plaque for the park. The three winning entries were used by the Borough Artist, Steve Field, to make a beautiful coloured enamel plaque and this was placed in the park and unveiled by Mrs. Sylvia Heale, our local MP.

Armed with the details of this project we approached local businesses, garden centres, banks etc. and wrote to the funders on Kate’s list. Kate gave us excellent sample letters which we adapted to suit our project. She gave us literally hours of help and advice with our appeal to Awards For All and we were successful at the 3rd attempt.

Our own fundraising has been very successful. The events we hold on the park are very happy social occasions. They are also an opportunity for the local community to keep up to date with the changes planned for the park and to put forward their own ideas and to question the committee on the work they are doing.

Park Photos

  • The Park signThe Park Sign
  • The sign with a park mapSign with a park map
  • The flower tubThe flower tub

Links