The Park & Friends: 1995-now

  • Posted on: 10 August 2014
  • By: Maria Novelly

1995 – A community rising to a challenge

A group of local residents, disillusioned by the minimal maintenance of the park and the anti-social behaviour it was attracting, formed The Heaton Moor Park Action Group (HMPAG), with the aim of restoring the park to its former glory.

March 1996 – Bringing back the sparkle

The HMPAG  held their first “workday”, pruning and clearing overgrown shrubs, planting bulbs and greenery.

April 1996 – HMPAG host first Easter Egg Hunt

This would be the first of many events held by the group at the park, including an annual Carols in the Park event and summer fair.

1997 – The Friends of Heaton Moor Park formed

Heaton Moor Park Action Group became The Friends of Heaton Moor Park.

July 1997

The Friends held a centenary celebration in the park to mark the 100 years that the park had been enjoyed by local residents.

1998 – First Friends' Community surveys

Surveys showed people’s aspirations for the existing tennis and bowls provision to be supplemented by children’s play areas, new park railings, seats, flowers and a management presence.

1999 – Deterioration despite efforts by Friends

Despite the efforts of The Friends, the park’s tennis courts fell into disuse due to a lack of nets; and benches, walls and other fittings in the park fell into decline and disrepair through vandalism and wear.

2000 - Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council Millennium Grant won

The Grant was awarded to clear the derelict base of the old greenhouse. Three more years of fundraising ensued to raise money to build the Toddler Play Area in this quadrant of the park.

2002 – Lottery National Heritage Grant application

Friends of Heaton Moor Park applied for a Heritage Lottery Fund grant which would allow for total renovation of park facilities and landscaping. Unfortunately the application was not put forward by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council.

2003 Clover Leaf Green becomes open use area

Due to a lack of funding, a decision was made to cease the high level of maintenance required to keep the Clover Leaf Green as a usable bowling green.

2004 Toddler Play Area opens

The group was successful in gaining grants from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Living Spaces, Manchester Airport Community Trust Fund, as well as matched funding from SMBC. This enabled the group to build a toddler play area on the site of the old greenhouse. The play area officially opened 5 September 2004

2005- Railings Resurrected

After further fund raising, railings and gates to be installed around two quadrants of the park. Some paths were also restored.

2007- Community Parks Officer

s a result of campaigning and representation from the Friends, Tom Kay was appointed as Community Parks Officer at Heaton Moor Park. This was the first time the park had dedicated local authority presence since the cuts of the 1980s.

2007 – Heritage Lottery Funding – A Second Shot

An application to the Heritage Lottery Fund was resubmitted, aiming for full restoration of Heaton Moor Park.

2008 – Plans for Tennis Court rejunvenation go forward

Despite securing of £40,000 to support the planning necessary to make a bid for £1.2 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the group found out in September 2008 that they had not successful in their second attempt. However, efforts Immediately turned to fundraising and putting together plans and applications for work on the Tennis court quadrant.

2008 – 2009 – Woodland Walk

Friends of Heaton Moor Park obtained funding from BBC Breathing Places for the development of a Woodland Walk in the wooded area of the Clover Leaf Quandrant. In August 2008, landscape architects Randall Thorp began work on one of their company Team Days. After a series of intense workdays, the Woodland Walk was completed in 2009. It incorporates a bulb area,  bird nesting boxes and specially carved wooden sculptures.

2009 – Community Parks Officier Changes

Tom Kay was appointed Chargehand for the Heatons Team and  Peter Ismanyckyj  was appointed Community Parks Officer in Heaton Moor Park.

2010 – Cause for Celebration - many improvement finalised

Work began in January 2010 on a new tennis court, a picnic area and ball play facility. The replacement of railings (taken down during WWII) was finally completed, with funds secured by Friends of Heaton Moor Park. This had taken 18 months and much hard work fundraising led by Pauline Randall, with support from SMBC.

Funds were received from the following sources:

  • Groundwork Community Spaces (Big Lottery)
  • Foundation for Sport and the Arts
  • Manchester Airport Community Trust Fund
  • SITA Trust
  • Grassroots Fund
  • Rotary Club of Stockport Lamplighter
  • SMBC Reddish and 4 Heatons Flexibility Fund
  • SMBC developers commuted sums

Local hero and NBA basketball player John Amaechi officially opened these facilities on 1st May 2010.

March 2011 – Rockery completed

The rockery at the Elms Road gate was completed over several work days.

March 2011- Friends Gate gates locking plan

SK Solutions stopped providing gate locking services. In response, the Friends organised the locking and unlocking of the 4 gates on a rota system, with the help of local residents. This continues for the forseeable future.

April 2011 - Friends Web site developed

Friends of Heaton Moor Park opened a website to offer information about the park and the future of this much loved green space.

Summer Fair 2011

A range of postcards and sustainable carrier bags started to be on offer.

August 2011 - Knitting Friends Group formed

The knitting group started life in August 2011 and continues to meet weekly in the pavilion throughout the year, on Fridays between 10:00 and 12:00.

Refreshments are provided for a small donation to support of the Friends of Heaton Moor Park. 

September 2011 - Green Flag Award

The Green Flag Award Scheme was launched in 1996 and provides a benchmark for the best green spaces in the country. Any spaces that are open to the public and free to enter are eligible to apply.SMBC made an appliction for this award to the Park with support from the Friends of Heaton Moor Park. Heaton Moor Park was awarded the Green Flag in September 2011.

November 2011 - Noticeboard installed

The funding for this addition to the park came from the Friends and from the Heatons andReddish Area Committee and is a welcome addition to the park used specifically for Friends’ news and information.

Year of 2012  -  Varied improvements

This year saw the welcome addition of 7 new benches, 3 birch trees, summer and winter bedding and spring bulbs around the park, along with shrubs and plants for the circular bed.

Posts and chains were added to access paths to the bowling green .

January 2013 - Knitting Friends donate a bench to the park

Fundraising through 'elevenes' cake sales at the regular Friday Knitting Friends gathering enabled the group to donate a bench to the park, which is located outside the bowling pavilion.

January 2013 - Moor Running Friends started

Free running fitness sessions for all ages and abilities  started in Heaton Moor Park on 19th January 2013, taking place every Saturday at 11am for one hour. The sessions are delivered by Chris Hodkinson who is a qualified Run England / UK Athletics’ Run Group Leader.

February 2013 - Bowling Green Flower Bed Improvements

New fencing was installed and a yew hedge was planted in the flower bed along the path leading from Peel Moat Road. 

March 2013 - Friends join Facebook and Twitter

The Friends get social with a Facebook page and a Twitter account.

May 2013 - t.stop starts

The weekly t.stop cafe starting serving a wonderful range of cakes and drinks at the pavilion on a regular basis.  

November 2013 - Decorative obelisks add to park ambience

The Knitting Friends donated two obelisks to the park.

January 2014 - Friends bid farewell to a driving force for Heaton Moor Park

John and Carol Yeomans, who had been started the original Park Action Group and contributed massively to the success of the Friends of Heaton Moor park, decided to take their retirement years elsewhere and left the Heaton Moor area. They were passionate about the park and supported with unstinting energy and generosity the efforts of the Friends to secure the future and beauty of this very special park.

April 2014 - Easter Egg Hunt

The ever-popular Easter Egg hunt took place the Saturday just before Easter Sunday. The hunt for the corks started right at 10 AM and by 11:45 most had been found, with children receiving a chocolate egg for each 3 found and a special bunny for finding corks with a little bird fixed on top of it! As usual the local Rotary Club chapter pitched in the help.

May 2014 - Annual General Meeting

A new Chair (Sally) and Secretary (Carol) were elected.

Summer 2014 - Heatons Summer Festival

The Heatons Summer Festival was a popular and packed out event. Many thanks fo the Heatons Four Traders Association who organised the event and made a donation to the Friends of Heaton Moor Park.

June 2014 - Workdays start to be scheduled on a monthly basis

Workdays had usually been scheduled on an ad-hoc basis. Starting in June they now take place each month, normally the second Saturday of the month, 11 am - 3 pm, with refreshments in the pavilion or outside, weatther permitting.

July 2014 - Professional gardening services commissioned

Due to budget cuts,  the council severely cut back horticultural services to the park. To help close this gap, the Friends commissioned a 1/2 day of work by a professional gardener twic a month.

December 2014 - Carols in the Park

The air was filled with the lovely music of the Carols in the Park Event on 20 December, 2pm - 4pm. While Santa was seeing children in his grotto (gardener's shed!) and mince pies and mulled wine was being served up by volunteers in the Bowling Pavilion, the Stockport Schools Brass Band and the Do Your Thing Choir performed a series of carols and other songs and the crowd joined in.  The Heatons Art Trail provided some beautiful lanterns and sculptures to look at as well. The spirit of Christmas gently settled over the area!