An army of volunteers that’s clocked up more than 4,400 hours of work inside 12 months is being thanked for supporting South Kesteven District Council keep its award-winning parks in tip-top condition.
At Wyndham Park, volunteers have together put in 3,611 hours, which includes time spent running events, supporting RiverCare and biodiversity work, staffing the visitor centre and working on the Heroes Commemorative Orchard.
Meanwhile, over at Queen Elizabeth Park, volunteers have contributed 822 hours of their spare time to maintain visitor facilities and improve the landscape.
SKDC Cabinet Member for People and Safer Communities, Cllr Annie Mason, said: “These are impressive hours given the difficulties of the past year. We are truly grateful for their contribution, and for the way our own staff work with them to maintain and improve all areas for residents and visitors alike.
“Volunteers are an integral part of the wider parks team, and bring a wealth of skills, knowledge and experience with them, in addition to hugely increasing the capacity of our busy staff. They are highly valued by the SKDC staff who have the pleasure of working alongside them.”
Cllr Rosemary Trollope-Bellew, SKDC’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy, said: “We are delighted to welcome these hard-working, committed, volunteers who often have a real connection and fondness for the parks, perhaps having used them as youngsters themselves.
“Volunteer numbers have increased year on year thanks to active recruitment by the SKDC parks team, although the recent pandemic has had an impact on this.”
Volunteers have been supporting the management, development and maintenance of the Grantham parks managed by South Kesteven District Council for more than ten years – since the first ‘Friends’ group was formed.
Parks Community Engagement Officer Julie Ashworth said: “We value their input and, where possible, invest in their development. For instance, volunteers have received training in emergency first aid and welcome host training, made possible by Heritage Lottery Funding which helped transform Wyndham Park into the WWI Memorial Park we see today.”
Volunteer involvement across the parks is wide and varied, with many different opportunities for members of the public and organisations to get involved. They:
help run the Wyndham Park Visitor Centre – welcoming and interacting with visitors
produce artisan crafts for sale in the Visitor Centre shop which fundraises to pay for volunteer expenses (food at events, coffee, biscuits etc on a day-to-day basis)
support the development and delivery of events run by SKDC
support funding applications to external bodies, for areas such as the Sensory Garden and water play facilities
support £12,000+ of crowd funding for the Heroes Commemorative Orchard
undertake practical gardening work, clearing and planting
support with historical research
Their efforts have helped secure Green Flag Status for both parks, a national benchmark for quality which showcases well-managed parks and green spaces.
Wyndham Park comprises a formal riverside park and play areas across almost 10 acres and includes a National Cycle Network route, sensory garden and WWI Memorial Park features.
The 25-acre Queen Elizabeth Park was established in 1980 to mark the 80th birthday of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, when local school children planted 80 trees.
Dysart Park is currently undergoing improvements ahead of a 2022 application for Green Flag status. It is intended to run more events in the park, and volunteers are being sought to support with this, in addition to the maintenance and management of the park.
The three parks always welcome new volunteers. If you have spare time and would like to put something back into your community, please contact the Parks Community Engagement Officer on 01476 406033 or email firstname.lastname@example.org