Birthday Party: cancellation

We’ve had to take the difficult decision to cancel the Birthday Party this year. This is due to the fact that 1) we do not have enough volunteers to organise it, and 2) we have not raised the money needed for several new ‘essential items’ (eg security, portaloos, a PA system), which are required on top of the usual costs (insurance, printing, licence, publicity etc). We have put out multiple appeals for volunteers and contributions, including crowdfunding and a YorkMix article.

The huge numbers of people (probably 5000) attending last year’s Party meant that we clearly need these additional volunteers and facilities; without them, we cannot run a safe and enjoyable event.  Huge thanks to Christina Nichols who has worked very hard trying to resolve these issues, and to all those who offered their time and money, this year. We are sorry for any disappointment caused. NB if anyone is interested in helping a team to organise next year’s Party, please do speak up: planning starts in January, but never too soon to volunteer!

birthday party 2016

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Free theatre in the Park

STOP PRESS: DUE TO CRAZY RAIN SITUATION, THIS HAS BEEN RELOCATED TO SOUTHLANDS METHODIST CHURCH We are delighted that the York International Shakespeare Festival are again putting on a show in the park; see the poster below. Many people enjoy coming to these events, and often embrace the whole atmosphere, by bringing picnics, blankets, deck chairs etc.

You can get tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/volpone-or-out-foxed-tickets… Although the show is offered for free, donations are invited.

volpone 2017


Help the Birthday Party 2017

birthday party 2016

The Birthday Party is the biggest event in Rowntree Park and it’s always lovely to see the park so full of people having a great time. The date for 2017 is Sunday July 16th.

However organising the Birthday Party is a major undertaking, with many hours being spent on planning, and on the day itself. A lot of the work is done by the Friends, as volunteers, but there are a lot of items which can’t be done for free. Obviously there is income from the stall-holders and various attractions, but this will not cover the anticipated costs. The costs this year will additionally include the hire of Portaloos, the payment of security personnel (to take care of car parking, in particular) and contributing to the costs of the event co-ordinator, as well as the ‘regular’ costs of paying First Aiders, event licence, event insurance, printing flyers/posters etc.

If we are to go ahead, the Friends need to be able to cover the costs, and so we are trying to raise £2292 using a crowdfunding scheme called Spacehive, and you can see our appeal here: https://www.spacehive.com/rowntreeparkbirthdayparty

If you would like to help by making a pledge, I hope that you find the system fairly easy to use (it is quite similar to sponsoring people via Justgiving) and that you can pass the idea on to friends and family. Because we are trying to demonstrate the level of support, your pledge can be a very token contribution – the smallest amount is £2. And, if the total amount is not raised by 1st June, then you will not be charged at all. Cheques/cash are not practical in this situation, I’m afraid. Additionally, if you know of any businesses that might want to sponsor the event, do let them know about this appeal.

Thanks for your help!


Round up for 2016

World events may be getting you down, but perhaps we can cheer you up a bit by saying that the Park, and the Friends, have had a good year overall. At our AGM, we looked back at 2016, and noted some highlights:

  1. Very Young Friends have had a strong year, with an enormous turn-out for the Easter Egg Hunt, and a typical monthly turn-out 15 to 30 people. Sessions delivered have a range of entertaining but educational themes, including those led by the Bat Group and BugLife.
  2. The Birthday Party was very well attended, with large numbers of stalls, and only a few issues, one of which was toilets (portaloos will be booked, next year), parking (inevitably) and the need for more volunteers; many thanks to Christina who was the force behind another terrific success.
  3. Voluntary gardening sessions have been well-attended and well-received; Rosemary is now co-ordinating this. Emma had organised a plant sale in May, which raised our profile.
  4. Ruth has been supervising the bird food project, with good sales of food packets from the café. Christine has delivered a bird-related talk to Knavesmire School children, and laminated signs have gone up in the play area.
  5. The Friends sponsored a very popular yarnstorming project, by Hippystitch, with workshops resulting in a beautiful ‘Fantasy Fish’ installation in the park.
  6. Lara McClure organised two clothes swaps, in the Cafe.
  7. Friends’ membership numbers had gone up, possibly partly as a result of the 10% Friends’ discount at the Café; the Friends thanked Mel for suggesting and supporting the discount.
  8. Dave Meigh (CYC) reported that there had been a lot of running repairs recently (eg repointing, refurbishment of basketball court and the pergola). Committee members had met with Dave for a site visit/walkaround.

At the time of the AGM, the Friends were looking forward to the bulb planting event (October halfterm), and willow weaving (December), both of which were also very well-attended, and successful. We have also recently sited bird feeders and hedgehog homes in the Park.

So, if you would like to help us continue with our work into 2017, please consider getting a FRP membership (what a lovely Christmas gift?). If you would like to help with our activities (maybe to help with the gardening?), why not get in touch by email, or follow us (Friends and Very Young Friends) on Facebook.

All the best for the festive season, and for 2017

Friends of Rowntree Park


Crowning Autumn

We had a lovely time at our October meet up for Very Young Friends playing with leaves.  Sadly not enough leaves had fallen for us to make a giant leaf pile for jumping in but we still had fun looking for leaves and autumn colours on our leaf treasure hunt.  We also really enjoyed making autumn crowns by weaving willow branches into a ring and tucking leaves and other lovely finds into them.

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However, some of us – my very own very young friend especially – remembered that willow is good for lots of things and began making new adventures.  Willow lends itself to outdoor play very well because its so flexible and there are usually lots of long lengths of it under the trees (called whips).  You can twist it, wave it, tie it and anything else you can think of.  These are some of our favourite things to play with willow:

  1. Hours have gone by while my little explorers have dipped long lengths of willow in and out of the lake attempting to catch fish.  Unsurprisingly they’ve never caught one but it doesn’t seem to deter them!
  2. Scooter modifications. Take a piece of willow, tie it to a scooter and voila!  A go-faster leaver.  A teddy bear holder.  Use it to tie sticks on for extra features, maybe breaks or booster buttons.  And if you run out of power, a hanging willow branch makes for a excellent petrol pump.
  3. Weave more crowns like we did, or bracelets, or mini Christmas wreaths.  Make a stick frame and weave a picture.  Use other nature treasures to decorate them, maybe some coloured leaves or pine cones.
  4. Some of those willow whips are really long.  If you find a nice flexible one (and you’re not very big!)  you can use it as a skipping rope.
  5. Waving.  The ultimate in entertainment if you’re a toddler.  Grab a willow whip.  Wave it about. Job done

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Have a go next time you’re in the park.  Remember to only take willow from the ground and keep the trees healthy.

Next month we’ll be thinking about hibernation and getting ready for winter. Come along to find out about the sleepy animals in the park and make some lovely hedgehogs to take home. Join us on 3rd November at 11.30 by the log circle in the woods.

Christine Potter and the Very Young Friends

Pssssst.  If you like making things with willow look out for a special December event for all ages where you can make your own Christmas wreaths.  Saturday 3rd Dec, 10-12. £5 per wreath.

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Could 2015 be the year that you help us make the Park even more wonderful?

Step up! Make it happen!

The Friends of Rowntree Park aim to:

  • promote the well-being of the Park and its users
  • support increased and diverse uses of the park, by all sections of the community
  • represent the views of the park’s users.

A very small group of volunteers work together to support these aims. They also work to enable the Friends to exist as an organisation, by publishing and circulating newsletters, this blog, the Facebook site, the Twitter account (@Fr_RowntreePark), keeping the membership informed of developments, doing the admin for the group (collecting subs and maintaining membership details) etc.

There is plenty of scope for more activities under the Friends’ banner – whether it be related to conservation, creative/arts, sports, young people or something else completely new – but we need more active Friends to take on co-ordinating and promoting such activities. If you have ideas about more ‘stuff’ happening in Rowntree Park, and can take on an active role to make it happen, get in touch with the Friends!


Young wordsmiths sought!

Would you like to see your story on a bench in Rowntree Park? Writers in the park is holding a competition.

Now the writing project is open to under-18s too! If you are interested, please see the instructions for more information.felix's owl