News about the Tour de France

The Friends were lucky enough to have a City of York representative, Liz Topi, at the most recent Friends’ meeting, and she summarised what was known so far, as far as the Tour de France is concerned.

The Park will be one of 3 ‘hubs’ for activities on the day (6th July), including a big screen showing the Grand Depart in the morning and probably something like a family-friendly sing-along film in the afternoon. Local charities will be offered space for stalls, and there will be food offerings. There will be no alcohol licence in the park. There will be a site manager for the Park, and a health and safety manager.

Outside the park itself, camping pitches will be offered either side of the Millennium Bridge (booked and supervised by the Caravan Club), although if there are few takers not all the campsites will run. Additional toilets etc will be provided for campers (available to the public as well).

Liz could not be more specific about some aspects, because no-one could know how things would go. It is thought there will between 80,000 and 180,000 extra people in York that weekend. Roads will be closed from 3am Sunday, until about midday and then Bishopthorpe Road traders intend to close the road for a street party from midday. All 4 road bridges within the ring road will be closed. All leave has been cancelled for emergency services, with 1000s of volunteers being trained as helpers, by Asda.

There is an additional open meeting on April 10th 5.30pm at the Park Café, to allow further discussion of the Tour de France plans.

The Friends in 2014

winter 2013-14The park looks so beautiful with a strong frost and a clear sky, although it hasn’t always been quite so stunning this year!

The Friends had their first 2014 meeting in January, swiftly followed by the first 2014 meeting of the Birthday Party planning team, in the congenial setting of the Slip Inn. As the council is no longer able to run the Party, the Friends have decided to take it on theirselves. It’ll be a quite a big thing to organise, as a voluntary group but a good team of ‘party planners’ has built up, and we have an able co-ordinator, Sue Scott, who will keep us all communicating and exchanging ideas. At the meeting we were delighted to welcome a Friend of West Bank Park (they are also intending to run their own Fair this year), as well as Jenny (who was the Park Ranger) whose experience in running the Party previously will be invaluable. We are collating ideas of stalls and attractions. If you would like to join the planning group or just to volunteer on the day – or if you have ideas about the party, get in contact using the usual Facebook link or email info We’re looking for someone to help co-ordinate our musical offerings – could this be you? If you just want to keep in touch with how our plans are going, click on ‘Going’ on the Facebook event page. Meanwhile, make sure you put the date in your diary – Sunday 20th July.

Writers in the park

christine banham 2008Local writer, Karen Hill-Green, has worked with her fellow Creative Writing MA (York St John) students to collate beautiful new written pieces. So far seven pieces have been created, inspired by Rowntree Park, by being outside and by the wonder of nature. Each of these pieces (poems and prose) can be ‘found’ in the park itself, by looking for small cards with QR codes on benches scattered through the park; just scan the codes with your smart phone to read – for free, thanks to our new WiFi coverage! Follow this link, to find out more, and to read the poems and prose on line, from the comfort of your own home. Alternatively, there is a printed copy of all the pieces in the Reading Café, just ask at the counter.

The written pieces are a lovely addition to the park, which we hope local people will enjoy. All the works are copyright of the writers and of the Friends.

Art workshops for children

As a new venture for the Young Friends, we’re offering art workshops for children, on Saturday mornings, starting this Saturday, November the 9th. This week, Liz Collier, an exciting local artist, is going to be leading a session based on doodling. The sessions are totally FREE to Friends, and only £2 for others. 10am to 11.30 at Rowntree Park Reading Cafe. Suitable for all primary-age children. Booking essential; please email or phone 0758 290 2018.

Autumn colours

leaflet oct13 frontThe long summer of 2013 is finished, and now there is a beautiful blaze of autumn colour in the park. The British autumn always brings with it a crop of fruit, and a crop of Annual General Meetings – and the Friends of Rowntree Park are no different. At the AGM on October 10th, those present discussed the Friends’ work in 2013, and outlined their ideas for 2014.

Over the next few months, the Friends will be working with council staff to source new display/information boards for the park, which the Friends will pay for. We are proposing some children’s art workshops (free to Friends), in the lead up to Christmas, so watch out for further details.

We also discussed the new membership leaflet, created by local designer Katherine Semple (the October 2013 version is pictured here). A hundred copies of the leaflet had been taken by visitors to the park cafe, but without any noticeable corresponding increase in membership!

The major event in 2014 will be the Birthday Party which, this year, the Friends need to take the lead on, because the council no longer has a Ranger Service. If you are interested in helping either in planning the event or on the day itself, get in contact with the Friends as soon as possible - if we cannot create a Party working group, we cannot hold the Birthday Party next year! We are specifically looking for someone to co-ordinate the entertainments, and someone to be the main contact point for the event.

This year’s AGM also saw a new Chair of the Friends, Hugo Bentley, replacing Mike Heyworth, who retired after many years in the post. Hugo lives on Bishopthorpe Road, and is a regular park-user; he and his dog, Digby, are out everyday, at least twice a day, often with Hugo’s wife Rosemary (known as Bud). Many thanks to both old and new Chairs, and to all the active members of the committee, for all their hard work.

Very Young Friends in 2013

very young friends 2013

The Very Young Friends have been out and about! Each meeting has a different theme and the theme in June was ‘finding fairies’ – I’m not sure how many were found, but much fun was had with ribbons in the sunshine, as you can see.

Young ones and their parents/carers are very welcome to join in, for as little or as much as seems good at the time – this is an easy-going session for all! The Very Young Friends can’t guarantee the weather, but they’ll be there to greet you, at the little bridge by the cafe, at 11am on the first Monday of the month.

Next month (Monday July 1st), the theme is ‘All the busy insects’, so everyone will be creeping and crawling and buzzing about like bees … bzzzz!!!

Francesca leads the Very Young Friends, and she can be contacted on 07533 475 929.

Young Friends’ meetings this summer

This summer’s Young Friends’ activities involve story telling and crafts. They have the theme ‘Shaggy Dogs Tales’; see the poster below for details of meeting dates.



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