We started work towards the park in autumn 2003, finally buying the land at the end of February 2007 and opening the park in the summer of 2007. We started with nothing but energy and enthusiasm. Years were spent consulting the people of the parish, setting ourselves up as a charity, finding land and finance, and learning from many helpful and experienced people (which was essential) as we went along. It was a huge amount of work for the small group of dedicated people who acted as the charity trustees. The actual implementation took only 6 months.
This timeline gives the bare bones of the creation of our Park:
. Land Investigation started Autumn 2003 – letter writing etc.
. February 2004: First Open Meeting at the Village Hall.
. March – April 2004: Invitations to people interested in being involved and open meeting to set up the initial committee.
. Summer 2004: conducted survey of all parish residents ask if people wanted the recreation ground. The answer was overwhelmingly YES.
. Started the business of administration of an organisation – bank account, chair, secretary, treasurer, etc.
The Parish Council decided not to be involved in the creation of the park.
Maintained good communication with them to ensure they were kept informed.
. October 2005 gave Parish Council a presentation.Talked to many people from surrounding villages who’d had experience setting up their parish parks. This experience was invaluable.
Great deal of contact with RoSPA and the NPFA, with the local planning and highways departments. People from the district council (especially the planning, highways and parks offices) and the county council were very helpful over the several years our work continued.
Big Public USPRA meeting 26th Jan 2005.
Several open meetings were held 2004 – 2006 for local people to give input and ask questions about progress, policies and decisions. Had guest speakers from surrounding villages, the police and the district and county councils. (including 2/04, 4/04, 7/04, 1/05, 5/05, 9/05, 5/06)
. 21st February 2005: Requested a valuation estimate from the Valuation Office Agency on two parcels of land for the proposed recreation ground.
. March 2005 – applied for Big Lottery Fund Grant – letter from BLF saying we’d been successful July 2005.
. July – Sept 2005 Raised £1000 to qualify for becoming a reg charity.
. Summer 2005 Wrote constitution
Became registered charity Oct 2005.
. Sept ’05 – March ’06 wrote eight policies.
. Summer 2005 applied for planning permission for change of use of the land we proposed to buy from agricultural to recreational.
. March 2006 – received the actual offer from the Big Lottery Fund.
A newsletter was delivered to every household in the parish several times a year from July 2005 and continues today.
. Summer 2005 – serious project. planning started. Found a solicitor.
. Summer 2005 – late 2006: complying with the planning conditions.
. Summer 2005 – March 2007: gathered quotes for the work needed on the park – this was a huge learning process.
. Oct 2006 – Oct 2008: worked closely with the Big Lottery Fund during the two years of our “BLF Project”.
. Feb 2007: finally bought the land (discussions began in earnest Oct 2006).
. March – September 2007: park was created.
. August 2007: park opened.
. 15th September 2007: Grand Opening Event.
. Oct 2007 – current day: continue to maintain, to develop and improve the park.