A presentation to the Council Environmental Panel by the Parks Manager on volunteering was followed by a question from the floor asking why there was no group in place at Barclay Park. Three ladies at that meeting decided to start recruiting interested people, a meeting was set up to officially start the group on 16th May 2011 and 14 people attended. 21 attended the second meeting in August 2011, 26 attended in November 2011 and by the end of the first year we had over 70 members. We currently have 53 postal members and 102 email members with a committee of 7.
The groups’ initial priority was to restore the lake and deal with a very wet area of the park. This was achieved in 2012 by the successful delivery of a project funded by the heritage lottery. The next priority was to achieve Green Flag status for the park; this was achieved in 2013 and retained in 2014. The group have also been responsible for encouraging Herts. County Council to make repairs to the surface of the car park.
The group meets twice a year at an open meeting, once at an AGM and the committee meet every month. The group works with the local authority to help with the development and delivery of the management plan. The group take on their own projects and apply for funding to deliver these projects, apart from the lake restoration and the wet meadow, the group also developed an area of the park into a Jubilee walkway commemorating the diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth 11, the group secured all the finances required for this project and all labour was donated by volunteers. The group have also added a woodland extension area which is now being extended into a second area in the park, the finances required for this was again secured by the group and labour again donated by volunteers.
The friends also arrange fundraising events in the park the most popular of which is our Easter egg hunt which in 2015 attracted over 300 children and their families. We also have the great garden Birdwatch, big lunch, history walk and new to 2015 a Halloween event.
Being a member of the group is free of charge but all donations to the Friends are gratefully received. Members are all sent by post or email copies of the minutes of all meetings plus information on all volunteering opportunities in the park however this will shortly be changing as we are in the process of creating our own website and minutes will then be available on the website. The group have contact details of the Park Manager, committee members and park guard and are encouraged to report any issues. Friends are informed of all events taking place in the park and are encouraged to be involved with all aspects of the park maintenance and management. The group aims to develop and promote the sense of being part of a community with Barclay Park at the centre and therefore the heart of the local area.
Challenges faced by the group have been changing in committee members, trying to fill posts after previous holders have resigned and continuing to think of different fund raising ideas. We currently have vacancies on the committee for a secretary, media officer and volunteer co-
Staying politically neutral when local issues affect the park and ensuring that whatever the Friends own personal opinions maybe when they are acting as a Friend that they stay true to the constitution and act in the best interests of the park.
The future is very exciting the Friends are going from strength to strength. A new development of houses, school, village green, sporting facilities gives opportunities to increase membership, develop new looks and encourage new schoolchildren to be involved in the park. Current plans include the provision of directional signage from the High street paid for by the Friends; a further application is being prepared to restore the second side of the lake and the island in the same fashion as previous project. Work done so far has resulted in new species of birds and invertebrates being seen in the park, e.g. wood duck, brown hawker dragonfly and common blue damselfly. We have started to turn the area next to the jubilee walkway into a commemorative meadow celebrating the 100 year anniversary of World War 1.
Name: Peter Grant -
Local Authority: Borough of Broxbourne.
Park Manager – Jenny Sowter
Mobile 07970 832983
We have a separate spin off group The Barclay Park volunteers who meet in the car park on the first Saturday of each month from 10am to 1pm. The volunteers carry out physical tasks such as cleansing, planting, weeding, coppicing, mulching and bird box making. Everybody welcome so please feel free to come along and join us even if it is only for half an hour, you really can make a difference!