Friends of Valley Park.

Rotherham

Your story

We, the Friends of Valley Park, are a local group of mainly pensioners, who live near to Valley Park. We do voluntary work to promote and maintain the park, for the good of the local community. We have a very active committee of seven who do all the work, as is usual with most groups.

Group introduction

The committee raise funds to provide additional amenities for the park such as picnic tables and seats. A heritage trail through the park woodlands and a children's play area. We promote and stage events in the park, and each year we have an Easter egg hunt for the children. At the hunt, every child attending has an Easter Egg to take home. We arrange for a professional circus member to demonstrate circus tricks, and teach the children to perform them, supplying the various equipment for the event. We also have a jazz band and a string ensemble concert during the summer.

Additionally we have an Halloween event, where we dress up and hide within the park's attached woodland. We then try and surprise the children as they walk around a woodland Heritage trail path, which was again promoted and funded by the group. We fund two weeks sports activities during the summer holidays, and pay for professional sports coaches with equipment to attend and teach the children various sporting activities. Members are always in attendance, and help to supervise the activities. This usually has an average of 50 children attending each day, free of charge, and we provide free refreshments at all our other events.

We have had bat finding walks, led by a professional park ranger, and we have purchased bat listening devices to loan out. At Christmas we have a local brass band come and play Christmas Carols. In the early days of our fundraising, all the concerts were held out doors, and we had our first Christmas band concert in the snow. Fortunately we were blessed with winter sunshine. Since then, we have purchased a marquee to accommodate players and audiences. We provide tea/ coffee, mulled wine and mince pies, for the adults, and soft drinks and biscuits for the children. All our events are free to attend, and tea, coffee, biscuits and soft drinks are provided and served by the friends group.

How would this funding have an impact on your community?

The funding would go a long way in ensuring the members were able to continue providing the valuable entertaining and sporting events, in the park.

The Events are open and free to anyone who wishes to attend, whatever their circumstances or ethnicity.

Most come from Rotherham's deprived areas, and we provide a safe environment to parents and families, where their children will be entertained and educated, in a healthy environment.

The various attendances are usually the Easter egg hunt with 200 children clutching their free Easter Eggs, plus there carers.

The Circus skills event is limited to 20 because of the equipment that the professional has to bring. This is also determined by his ability to keep an eye on the children juggling and throwing things about. Not only this but also, trundling around on the provided unicycles, and all the other implements available to try. The friends committee is always on hand to help. The summer jazz concert and string quartet concert attracts an audience of 30 or so, with free refreshments , as the players played under the trees in what each year so far, has been summer sun.

The Halloween walk attracts large groups of families, who travel along the heritage trail, and the friends funded footpath through the park woods. The numbers totalling over a 100 on the day.
The sports activities fortnightly, attracts up to 50 children each day, with medals, and certificates provided, along with all the professional sports coaches, by the friends group. The bat walk attracts families again, on the evening ramble through the park woodland, searching out the local bat population with the electronic Bat listeners. They then head back to the park pavilion for refreshments supplied and served by the friends group committee members.

The Christmas brass band concert, attracts families again, with Minced pies, mulled wine, coffee and tea, soft drinks and biscuits. these are being consumed by the 50 or so participants, along with the Mayor of Rotherham, who always accepts our invitation to attend, and enjoys the atmosphere, especially now we don't have to sit out in the open, having purchased our own marquee.

"We aim to bring friendship, entertainment and education to Herringthorpe Valley Park, where ever we are able to continue funding the events.

Colin Shaw. Hon. Chairman."