FoEP: Improving the Park for the benefit of the whole community
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Little progress was achieved in the Park over the winter months, mainly because of the wet weather and waterlogged nature of much of the Park. The management committee considered a number of out-standing issues, including repairs to Mallard Walk, the uneven surface of the Junior Play Area, the 'self-closing' gate to the play area that doesn't close and the lack of tree planting in the parkland area. Outstanding work planned by the FoEP was also reviewed. Some time was spent discussing possible sources of funding for future projects and a proposal from the Eastfield Residents Association to provide an additional bench for the Park (see later news about this).
Our ‘Spring Cleans’ in Eastfield Park were planned to be part of ‘The Great British Spring Clean’ that was scheduled to run from 20th March to 13th April. At the time of the EPMC meeting, it seemed that we would go ahead with the litter picks but with increased precautions, such as using disposable gloves and plenty of full-strength hand sanitiser. However, by the time of the FoEP Committee meeting, just a week later, the ‘Great British Spring Clean’ had been moved to September (11th to 27th) and we were asked to reschedule our own clean-ups to dates during that period. The Committee decided to cancel our planned events but not to reschedule them for the time being.
The Eastfield Residents Association (ERA) also have funding for a bench in the Park. However, the available funds do not cover the cost of installation. The FoEP have agreed to meet the costs of installation on a full slab base, although we again hope that NBC will cover at least part of the cost.
The new FoEP Management Committee elected its officers for the coming year. Vic Smith will continue as Chair with Tony Mallard as Vice-Chair. Carole Morrison will continue as Secretary and Mark Boyce becomes the new Treasurer. Other issues considered by the Committee are mentioned in the news items that follow.
During March, the activities of the Friends of Eastfield Park became severely restricted by the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. A meeting of the Eastfield Park Management Committee (EPMC) took place on 10th March and the first meeting of the new FoEP Committee was held on 17th March. It was not long after, however, that the Government introduced stricter rules and we have not been able to hold face-to-face meetings since. We did carry out some work in the Park, marking out set-asides, but that had to stop before we had completed the work. Both of our planned 'Spring Cleans' have had to be cancelled.
Voting in the Tesco 'Bags of Help' scheme was suspended some weeks ago as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Tesco decided that the available funds should be divided equally between the three competing community groups. Consequently, the FoEP will receive a grant of £1,166 to spend on the proposed project. This will be enough to purchase another bench for the Park and also cover part of the installation costs. We want the bench to be installed on a full slab base (six slabs) and hope that NBC will cover part of the cost. The full project would include a waste bin and information board as well as some nearby planting. We consider that the waste bin is no longer necessary and we will seek alternative funding for the information board.
Before the coronavirus lock-down, FoEP Chair, Vic Smith, was able to mark out the extension to the planted meadow and the main set-aside area (an area not to be mown until late summer or autumn). He was unable to mark out the smaller set-aside which has a good variety of wild grasses but relatively few wildflowers. We hope that the regular tractor driver will remember where the smaller area is, and avoid it, but if he doesn't, the loss would not be too great. We will not be able to do the planned work on the meadow extension because of the lock-down.