People in the Park - January 2013 Update
Have you noticed there are three new benches on the Country Park? These are the first three People in the Park benches, a joint initiative between the Community Forum and the Youth Forum, funded by the Community Centre and Trowbridge Area Board, and installed by Community Payback.
10th Anniversary Community Centre Bench
One of the benches was funded by Paxcroft Mead Community Centre management committee to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Community Centre opening. This bench is also dedicated to the memory of late resident Grace Edna Collins (known as Edna) whose bequest to the Community Centre contributed to the cost of the bench.
This bench is positioned looking across the brook on the south side, near to footpaths leading onto the park from the Cornbrash Rise area, a useful stopping off point for residents accessing the District from this area.
Youth Forum Benches funded by the Area Board
The other two benches are the result of an initiative by Paxcroft Mead Youth Forum to provide benches on the park to benefit the community. The funding was provided by Trowbridge Area Board.
The members of the Youth Forum decided to make the application for Area Board youth funding to support the Community Forum's People in the Park initiative. The members of the Youth Forum were keen to demonstrate that local young people cared about other members of the community. Local residents had pointed out that the lack of benches on the park was making it harder for older people to access the park and walk to the district centre.
Sam Bolwell and Dan Tate worked together to make an application to Trowbridge Area Board in February 2012. Sam used his IT skills to prepare an excellent PowerPoint presentation and Dan presented the application in front of local councillors and community members at the Civic Centre.
Dan showed remarkable poise and presence of mind on the night in answering some tricky questioning from the floor.
One of the Youth Forum benches is positioned on the footpath near the top of the playing field near the Mead School. This is a good stopping off point for residents making the walk from the roads to the north of Hilperton Drive, as well as being useful to parents and grandparents waiting to collect school children and to the many dog walkers and families for whom the playing field is a popular destination.
The other bench is near the footpath on the other side of Paxcroft Brook near footpaths leading from the Moyle Park area. This is a nice spot to view the brook and a useful stopping off point for residents accessing the District Centre from roads in this vicinity.
Organising the benches
The task of organising the purchase and installation of the benches was undertaken by Community Forum committee member Gordon Rees. Three benches might seem like a relatively small project, but it turned out to be something of an epic quest. Prior to getting the funding confirmed from the Community Centre and Trowbridge Area Board, we thought we had an arrangement with Wiltshire Council to install the benches and provide accompanying litter bins free of charge. But once we had the funds in place, this proved not to be the case. Confirming that this was so, rearranging the finances to allow the purchase of bins and installation materials and getting the necessary permissions to do the work ourselves took the best part of nine months. Lesser men would have given up. But Gordon is made of sterner stuff.
In the meantime, thanks to Forum committee member John Taylor, we had developed a working relationship with the local Community Payback team, who have been coming onto the park to do litter picks on a regular basis since spring 2012. As soon as Gordon had got confirmation from the council that we could make our own arrangements to install the benches, John was able to arrange with Community Payback that they would do the work. This was done just at the end of November 2012.
Each bench has a plaque recording its provenance and detailing its sponsorship and each one has a new litter bin close by. These were installed by Gordon himself in very cold weather.
Only ten days later, he was shocked to find that the litter bin beside the bench next to the Mead school had been burnt out overnight by vandals. You may have seen the report in the Wiltshire Times
The Forum committee refuse to be daunted by this and discussions are underway as to the best way forward to replace the bin and avoid a repetition of this vandalism. Budgens were kind enough to host a collection tin on their counter over the Christmas period, which raised £10 towards the cost. A small but notable sum: thank you to all who contributed.
If you would like to download copy of this report, you can click here to download the PDF file.