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Background:

Discussions prior to 2006 at the Hasland and St. Leonard’s Community Forum highlighted the concerns that several members of the community had about the deterioration of the park and its facilities.

The public toilets had been closed, the crazy golf removed, the tennis courts in a state of disrepair and the management of the bowling greens given over to a group of ‘bowlers’ to manage on behalf of the Council in the absence of a Park Keeper.

Local school children were involved in a project to outline their plans and wishes for the park and the Forum tried to engage with the wider public in an attempt to gather suggestions for improvements.

In May 2006 an Open Meeting was held, chaired by the Com. Forum Chair, to garner public opinion and measure the depth of commitment of the community to set in motion the establishment of a formal ‘Friends’ Group. At this meeting a list of ‘Friends’ was collected. In June 2006 a further meeting was held to elect the Officers of the Friends of Eastwood Park, Hasland.

The Officers immediately engaged with LINKS to write a Constitution, seek initial funding, construct a Business Plan and open a bank account. An IGM was booked for October 2006…allowing time for the production of the various necessary documentation and advertising of the meeting.

In the meantime, in August 2006, the Chair and Treasurer met with members of the Leisure Services Department to discuss the role that the Friends Group might have and how it might engage with Leisure Services in the regeneration of the park.

At this time it was made known that the Council was seeking to create another project within the Borough like the successful Queen’s Park project and the Friends were very keen to encourage the Council to consider Eastwood Park!

 

The IGM and establishment of the General Management Committee:

 The Hasland and St. Leonard’s Community Forum made a £100 start-up grant to the Friends officers in order that the IGM could be held in the village hall, sited in the park.  Every effort was made to notify the widest possible community audience of the IGM and the meeting was well attended.  The Constitution agreed and four further committee members elected.

It was agreed that the Committee would provide regular updates to the Community Forum, post notices, as appropriate, on community notice boards and other places and hold a mid-year meeting, prior to the AGM, which would be in October 2007.

The IGM was followed by regular committee meetings and further meetings with members of the Leisure Services Department.

 

Gala Day 2007 – A First Attempt!

During the autumn of 2006 it became clear that the Council was likely to be selecting Eastwood Park as the next project for major regeneration., grant success willing. In support of this the Friends Committee set about  engaging with the community as any bid to Heritage Lottery Fund has to demonstrate a firm and lasting community commitment. It was decided to stage a Gala Day, linked into Love Parks Week, with a focus on Heritage and Community involvement.

The Gala Day had five main components:

  • A Heritage Display showcasing the history of the park and Hasland

  • Local Community Groups, including churches, schools, park and hall users and many others

  • Further Community and Public Service groups, eg: The Fire Service, The Big Bus

  • Limited commercial concessions

  • Entertainment – Brass Band, Line Dancers etc.

Funding was awarded from the Community Forum and Awards for All.  The Programme was sponsored by local businesses and many donations of prizes came from local sources eg: Hasland Working Men’s Club

A private security company, engaged to manage the crowds, estimated over 3000 members of the public attended.

 

The current position and the future:

Following Gala Day 2007 a full review was undertaken and all accounts settled.

The AGM was held in October 2007 and it was suggested that Gala Days be held every two years – leading up to the Centenary of the park in 2013.

In late 2007 it was announced that CBC had been successful in a funding bid to carry out a Feasibility Study of the park and The Friends were included in meetings with the Study team.

The Friends offered to help and support to bring about a rigorous study.

In support of the study and in an effort to showcase, once again, the community commitment to the rejuvenation project the Friends decided to stage a Gala Day on 15th June 2008.

The Focus points for Gala Day 2008 were:

  • Heritage, The Park and Hasland Village

  • Youth and the Park

  • Mobility Matters 

Funding was awarded by The Community Forum; Derbyshire Community Foundation; Funding for Youth and Hasland Working Men’s Club.  Additionally over 30 local businesses sponsored the event.

Gala Day 2008 also provided the Feasibility Team with a stand to display the proposal for regeneration of the park and collect public opinion.

The Gala Day was a great success.  It was followed by further public meetings to allow greater participation by members of the public to express their opinions on the redevelopment proposals.  The final meeting concluded with a large measure of consensus for the proposed upgrading of the park.

Apart from staging successful Gala Days The Friends committee meets regularly and addresses other, more mundane, matters related to the park and its users. Recent correspondence has related to dog fouling; nuisance drivers; youth ‘activity’ at night and access to the tennis and bowling facilities. The committee continued to give updates to the Community Forum. AGM 2008 was held on October 9th, 7.00 in the village hall.

In 2009 a third highly successful Gala Day was held on 14th June.  The theme Try Something New was chosen. Funding was awarded by Derbyshire Community Foundation – Grassroots Grants; Coalfields Regeneration – Bridging the Gap; DCC Community Priority Programme; Hasland Working Men’s Club and many local traders. The funding was used  to provide  Steel Drum workshops; Circus Skill activities; Climbing Wall and Bouldering Wall;  Pottery workshop; Grafitti Art workshop and Balloon Modelling…as well as Game On and Sports Legacy mini-olympic activities and Hasland Community Football Club. All these activities providing a myriad of opportunities for everyone to Try Something New.  The event was also supported by a host of local community groups and many local business and concessions.  Two local allotment groups staged beautiful displays of home-grown plants and veggies!

The Musketeers Show Band and The Morris Dancers provided wonderful displays to delight the crowds and Carlo the Clown had everyone shouting ‘he’s behind you’ at the top of their voices as they enjoyed the Punch and Judy show.

The 2009 AGM was followed by a well attended Community Christmas event which the Community Safety Team and The Friends worked together to arrange.  Funding was awarded for a Healthy Lifestyles Event, held in early 2010.  Gala Day 2010 saw the return of Gala Royalty. This event was extremely well attended. Funding was awarded by DCC Bringing Communities Together; DCC Community Leadership; DCC Youth Opportunities Fund; Hasland WMC and many local traders.

The 2010 AGM took place on October 12th at 7.00 in Hasland Working Men’s Club. In the following years the Friends continued to organise events and activities to promote the park and its use by the community. Gala Royalty returned with a very successful Court of Queens and Royalty Arena, this has continued.

In 2012 the rejuvenation project finally got underway after funding was awarded by Heritage Lottery. The major make-over of the green space and village hall were completed in time for the Centenary of the park in 2013. The play area and exercise equipment  have  been significantly improved and the Community Garden, behind the village hall, is proving a great success.  2013 Gala Day was a massive success with guests from the Eastwood Family in attendance. Various plaques and naming stones were unveiled.

Work continues, the pavilion will be ready for use in 2015.  Once complete this will enhance the offer for sports in the park and the public at large as it will include public toilets.

The Friends continue to work closely with the Council and support all initiatives of the Parks Development Officer as well as continuing to organise events for the community to enjoy.

2017

In late 2016 we were, finally, successful in obtaining funding for a skate/wheels park to be built. This funding was from Viridor Credits and Grassland Hasmoor – Big Local. This facility has long been an aspiration of the development of the park and was mentioned in very early meetings with the young people of Hasland. After months of design and survey work the build was completed in time for the 2017 Gala Day when the Mayor, Cllr. Davenport, cut the ribbon. Many youngsters are already enjoying the skills and thrills of using this facility.

 

2018 – 2020

 The Friends have continued to work with Chesterfield Borough Council to augment and support all improvements to the park.

Grassland Hasmoor – Big Local has funded several improvements to the park these include:

A Petanque Terrain, to allow for the creation of a local Petanque Club. This was initiated by The Green and Open Spaces Working Group. This group also organise the activities of this highly successful club.

A de-fib in a coded cabinet was located on the side of the pavilion, it is linked to the EMAS system so available for public use in an emergency.

Pull-up bars have been provided following a request from a number of park users.

The Friends funded FREE tennis sessions in 2019 and more sessions are booked for 2020…take a look at the events diary for details.

Holiday Activities run by the Parks Development Officer are supported by The Friends who provide refreshments in the pavilion.

In the summer holidays FREE activities are provided by Grassland Hasmoor – Big Local and The Friends attend to support the activities and provide refreshments. Check the Diary for details.

Currently we are joining with the Community Safety Team in an effort to upgrade the CCTV on the pavilion aiming to reduce the ASB that causes damage to the toilets. We do hope that this behaviour ceases as it reduces the availability of the toilets for ALL park users.

The latest initiative is to designate two benches as Happy to Chat Benches. These will have signage encouraging users to ‘sit and chat’.

This initiative is being rolled out across the nation so we do hope it proves successful in our park.

The Park continues to gain Green Flag status and The Friends work with the Council to promote and support this award.

The 2020 AGM will be on Monday 14th September, 7.30 p.m. in the pavilion in the park…do come along and join in the conversation.

 

If you would like to become a member of the Friends of Eastwood Park, Hasland committee and help to continue to work with the community to develop our park get in touch.