Preservation Society News
A NEW FRIENDS’ GROUP FOR FRENCHAY PARKLANDS?
Some two years ago, at the November 2019 AGM of Frenchay Preservation Society (FPS), it was proposed that FPS should sponsor the formation of a Friends’ Group to support the long-term management of the 20+ acres of hospital land being handed over as a Voluntary Village Green (VVG).
There was unanimous agreement at the AGM to this course of action after presentations from a South Glos Officer and representatives of Page Park in Staple Hill, where just such a Friends’ Group was able to bid for additional funding not available to local councils. At this point I must stress that this is a complementary activity to the planned management of the VVG as one of the ‘Parish Council Assets’ and is not in any way a criticism of the available budgets! In fact, these additional funds will help to ensure that we can optimize our response to the generally acknowledged ‘climate emergency’ in the way that we are able to look after a major addition to our natural environment as ‘Frenchay Parklands’.
So, fast-forward two years and where are we? Unfortunately, the answer is still struggling to come to terms with delays caused by the covid pandemic and various legal issues which have prevented the handover of the VVG. However, I am feeling reasonably confident of better news in 2022, which is why I am now setting out a summary of what needs to be done - in three clear stages:
The good news is that the unanimous backing at the AGM of Frenchay Preservation Society means that we have already achieved Stage 1 - the identification of a ‘sponsor organisation’.
Stage 2 is to arrange a public meeting, with some display boards and relevant information which will encourage local residents to show support by simply adding their names to a list. If we manage to persuade at least half of ‘Frenchay’ to drop in and show support then we can move on to Stage 3…
Stage 3 is to actually set-up the Friends’ Group - if the support is there! Offers of help are already available with such matters as constitution (vital when bidding for public money) and setting initial aims & objectives. In an ideal world, and subject to stage 2, we will be able to recruit a representative range of volunteers who feel able to make all this happen! (Whilst promoting Frenchays Best Interests at the same time.)
Meanwhile, back to Stage 2. I am looking for ‘short-term volunteers’ who would like to join a small group and help to organise a public meeting in the spring of 2022. The tasks are fairly straightforward: prepare some information boards (eg; what friends groups do, the 20 acres of land, examples of what others have achieved). We also need to set-up on the day, ‘meet & greet’ and make a record of those attending, with any comments. If you would like to help, my contact details are shown below.
Thank you in advance for your interest!
Hugh Whatley (Chair - FPS and vice-chair of FRA)
Mobile = 0777 552 2689
E-mail = HWandCo@aol.com
PS - One of our local inspirations is ‘Grow Wilder’ (part of Avon Wildlife Trust) who are located just down Frenchay Park Road on the corner of Stoke Lane. They are holding a pre-Christmas Market on Saturday 4th December (10am to 4pm) with various craft stalls, demonstrations & refreshments.