FoEP: Improving the Park for the benefit of the whole community
The FoEP has been using 'Moonfruit' to develop and host its website since 2012. We have increasingly experienced difficulties with the site which relies on Adobe Flash Player browser plug-in to edit. Adobe will end support for Flash Player on 31st December 2020 and new versions of browsers such as Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome have Flash disabled by default. (Every time this site is edited Flash has to be enabled.) Recently, there have been times when our site has been down for lengthy periods and it seems that the time is right to look for an alternative to Moonfruit. A recent review of Moonfruit stated, "While anyone can build a functional and good-looking website at very competitive rates using Moonfruit, this builder still lacks the ease of use and seamlessness exhibited by more modern site builders." Having experimented with building a site using Wix.com, Vic Smith decided to open a new FoEP site at foep.co.uk. This site will be used to promote our summer activities (see next column) and will eventually become the main (only?) FoEP website.
Although the Coronavirus lockdown restrictions are now easing, it was not possible to hold face-to-face meetings during June. The FoEP committee meeting (that would have taken place on 16th June) and the Eastfield Park Management Committee (EPMC) meeting (scheduled for 9th June) did not take place. However, Vic Smith (who chairs both meetings) did produce a set of up-dated notes about progress in the Park and these were circulated to all EPMC members.
We also plan to organise small 'private' volunteer task groups to carry out defined conservation work at specified dates and times during July and August. By 'small' we mean up to about six members and by 'private' we mean that members of the task group will need to sign up for the activity ahead of the specified dates. Members of the public will not be allowed just to turn up and join in. This gives the team leader much better control over activities. Group members will also be expected to read health and safety notes based on a current risk assessment of the work. Volunteers will be encouraged to join the FoEP but we will not insist on this provided they agree to follow instructions when working in the Park. Although we want to encourage more volunteers to work with us it is important that they only carry out work covered by the Eastfield Park Action Plan and that they always follow correct Health & Safety procedures.
Detailed information about the activities and downloadable activity sheets can be obtained from our new website at:
The FoEP will not be organising any public events during the summer of 2020 but we will be encouraging people to take part in our 'ACTS in Eastfield Park' programme. This programme is aimed at older children and younger teenagers (say, 11 to 16) but anybody can participate if they wish. We hope that families will join in the activities together and that parents or older family members will help younger ones to complete the tasks. The activities have been designed with Eastfield Park in mind but similar activities could be carried out in other parks.
A widespread public consultation revealed considerable support for the suggestions:
The Borough Council agreed that the suggestions were sensible and in 2017 costed three of the proposed paths (1a, 1b and 2). The estimated cost for just these three was in excess of £100K! Needless-to-say, funds were not available to provide the paths. Recently, the County Council has carried out a survey under the 'Safer Streets Northamptonshire' banner, asking the question, "How would you improve walking and cycling in your area?" Vic Smith, Chair of the FoEP, suggested the construction of footpaths 1a & 1b arguing that "a footpath from [the Booth Lane] entrance, across the Park to Apple Tree Walk, would not only improve access to the Park, it would provide a valuable link between footpath networks, providing a link from the eastern area to other parts of town." At the time of writing, 35 people have agreed with his suggestion. If you agree, and have not already done so, please show your support by clicking on the following link and then on 'Agree' at the bottom right of the interactive map. It is completely anonymous.
Task Groups will also be promoted on our new website (see www.foep.co.uk).
Click for larger view.
Click for larger view.
Administative work has continued using email and social media. For example, a meeting of Park Management Committee Chairs was held on 17th June by Zoom. Although rather poorly attended, some usuful ideas were put forward concerning 'Love Parks Week'. It was agreed that an emphasis should be put on 'virtual activities' and communications concerning three issues: litter, cycling in parks, and the need for more volunteers.
We are delighted that we have now paid NBC for a new bench for the Park using funding provided from the Tesco 'Bags of Help' scheme. We are equally delighted that we have been awarded £1,000 from Cllr Joyce's community fund for the purchase of another information board.