Our first AGM as a charity took place last month. We were pleased to be able to celebrate lots of successes, and to discuss plans for the year ahead, in a wide-ranging meeting. You can read about some of our work in the Year in the Park document YitP 2019
Many of you will be intending to go to the Environment Agency’s meeting about the Clementhorpe flood defences, on Monday 15th July 7pm at Southlands Methodist church, to find out more about the impact on the park, and on Terry Avenue and Butcher Terrace. The Environment Agency has just realised this document: 2019 FAQ Edition 1 which answers some of the questions that have been already raised.
Over the past 12 months, our income has increased quite substantially due to grants, increased membership and income from events we run for the community. We are now in the happy place of having to apply to formalise our position with an application for charitable status as an Incorporated Organisation. We would like to do this as soon as possible after the next Friends meeting.
We have used standard documentation from the Charity Commission to put together a constitution for the Friends and which we would like to discuss and approve (possibly with minor amendments) at the meeting on Thursday. You can see this document here FRP constitution 20 03 2019.
We have defined our objectives as being to:
1 promote the conservation, protection and improvement of the physical and natural environment of Rowntree Park as a place of environmental interest and amenity value
2 advance the education of the public in relation to the history, biodiversity and other aspects of Rowntree Park and related Issues
3 work with others on the provision of facilities for public education, recreation and other leisure interests within Rowntree Park
4 Promote civic responsibility, volunteering, health and well-being among the users of Rowntree Park.
We do need some Friends of Rowntree Park members to help with the organisation of this, as Trustees. 5 – 7 people are needed for this, and we hope they will step forward/ be selected on Thursday. If you cannot attend the meeting but are interested in putting yourself forward as a Trustee, then please let us know. Similarly, get in touch if you’d like to find out more on what being a Trustee involves. General information on becoming a charity trustee is here.
The Friends of Rowntree Park meeting takes place on Thurs 11th April at 7pm in Rowntree Park Reading Cafe. All members are welcome.
October is our month for looking back over the last year, and for our AGM.
Everyone’s welcome to the AGM (18th October, 7pm at the Reading Cafe), so do come along and have your say about what’s going on in the park. This year we’re aiming to have a very brief formal element, where we review the year, confirm the financial situation and (re)elect the committee, followed by small group discussions on the key topics for the work of the Friends. Then we’ll get back together for conclusions and CAKE! Sounds like my kind of meeting …
We’re delighted to announce this year’s Artist in Residence is Nick Booth, a MA student studying Fine Art at York St John University. We met up to discuss his ideas on Saturday, and we were intrigued by his proposals. Partly inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry, Nick wants to explore some of the historical aspects of Rowntree Park, from its foundation in the aftermath of World War I, through the inter-war years and onwards, encompassing some memorable elements such as the swimming pool, the aviaries, skating on the lake and the millennial renovations. Perhaps Friends and other local people have ideas for what “absolutely has to be included” in a portrayal of the park? Nick will be spending some time in the park itself, getting inspiration, and will also be warmly welcomed in the Reading Cafe, where his art will be displayed in an exhibition this summer. We’re looking forward to seeing what he produces.
It’ll be a summer of Art (amongst other things) in the park, as we are also working with Sculpture students from York St John University, who are proposing some temporary installations for the park for the weekend of July 7th/8th (to coincide with the Bloom Festival). A curator from the Yorkshire Sculpture Park is helping with this project.
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.
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:
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Waving. The ultimate in entertainment if you’re a toddler. Grab a willow whip. Wave it about. Job done
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.
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 (@), 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!