You may wonder what the Friends get up to, besides organising and running popular annual events: Carols in the Park, the Easter Egg Hunt, Teddy Bear’s Picnic as well as and holding a monthly Garden in the Park Day.
What is the main focus?
As many of you know, the Council has cut back its park services to a ‘cut and clear’ service. So any horticultural work, e.g. weeding and tidying the flower beds, planting bedding plants, removing leaves from the grass (where they have been cleared from the paths – that is a story in itself) must be done by someone else or not done at all. Many parks in Stockport are now just green spaces, with no flowers and little care.
At Heaton Moor Park, the Friends have stepped in to fund the services of a professional gardener to complement what we do on the Garden in the Park Days. These services alone run to a couple of thousand pounds each year, which the fundraising activities of the Carols and Easter Egg Hunt just about cover. Any other park improvements require separate fund-raising or grant-writing.
If you would like to contribute to the ongoing care of the park, a good way is through Local Giving.
What else have the Friends done?
Over the 25 years the Friends of Heaton Moor Park have been in existence, they have completed a number of major projects, along with the required fundraising, grant writing, liaising with the Council. These include the Toddler Play Area, the Woodland Walk, the demolishing of the old unusable tennis courts and the installation of a new tennis court, ball area and picnic table area, cleaning up the corner at Park and Buckingham to create a wildflower area.
Recently the Friends have, along with the Ladies Bowling Club, have improved the interior of the Pavilion, with new flooring, cabinets, insulation and better toilet facilities, all which required fund-raising and grant writing. We are very grateful to the Knitting Friends and the Running Friends. Both groups use the park on a regular basis and have contributed generously to the efforts of the Friends to improve the park.
Putting in new facilities is sometimes the easy part – you also need to maintain them! We have been lucky enough to enlist the Heatons Men in Sheds in repairing posts in the Woodland Walk and restoring the fascia of the Pavilion to its former glory.
To help visitors and event attendees identify Friends, we have invested in Hi-Viz vests (purple, which is the colour of the Royal Horticultural Society). We have also bought more tools for Garden in the Park days and secured council funding of a very useful leaf blower.
What is in our sights now?
- Bottle re-fill station. To reduce plastic waste, we have been trying to get a bottle re-fill installed. There are some hygiene issues around fountains/bottle fillers, and it’s not clear the council will support the idea. We will continue to work on this idea. In the meantime, we hope to support the ‘Refill’ scheme in the Heatons.
- Better drainage. With all the rain, drainage can be a real challenge. We are looking at ways of improving this, especially in the football quadrant.
- Playground for older children. The Friends have supported installing this amenity in the new Peel Moat Park, where at least two bike racks will also be available. Work is due to start this spring. We would like to make a corner of the football pitch into a natural play area as well…
- Improving the Toddler area. Council funds have been earmarked for a number of years. Work is due to start this spring.
- More shrubs or trees. There are several empty spots around the perimeter of the park and we hope to fill them.
So, the Friends do keep busy! Do think about joining the Friends at a meeting or Garden Day, or helping out with an event, so we can keep improving the park and also providing community activities that everyone seems to enjoy.