The Big Lunch is just the start . . .

Published on: 30 Jun 2015

A RECENT event at Page Park has highlighted just why the green lung of Staple Hill should be preserved for generations to come.
Hundreds of visitors flocked to the Big Lunch, a get together for communities which took place at the park on June 7.
As families and friends picnicked together taking in the air and enjoying the sunshine, it was clear to see how the park plays an essential role in community life.
The event was organised by Friends of Page Park, the group behind a recent bid to win £1.6 million of lottery money to return the park to its former glory whilst adding modern touches including a cafe and community room.
Steph Purser, Friends’ vice chair, said: “We had inflatables, face-painting, stalls and fair rides. Cricket was being played, there was music from the bandstand and people were out with picnics -  it was idyllic. There was a lovely atmosphere and felt like you were at a village green.
“It illustrated what the park is all about - bringing people together. People didn’t have to pay out lots of money for things, they could just enjoy being there.”
The group, which has been working closely with South Gloucestershire Council on the bid  had  previously won £117,000 to evolve plans and take them through to the next - and final - stage.
Plans for the cafe, community room and toilets were drawn up and have now been given approval by the council.
The application was resubmitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund on June 25  for final approval, the result of which should be know sometime in September.
“The lottery money will improve on what is already there and make sure the park is there for future generations,” said Steph.
“The cafe and community room will build on the theme of community and bring people together.”
Meanwhile the Friends have been busy fundraising to raise an additional £100,000, which is a condition of the bid which enables them to prove their commitment and dedication to lottery bosses.
The Big Lunch raised £407 towards the restoration fund. This has been further boosted by generous donations from Peter and Clare Page, great grandchildren of local benefactor Alderman Arthur William Page who gave the park to the public in 1910.
“They support us all the way and so does their mother Beryl. It’s lovely that after 100 years we still have that family connection,” said Steph.
With just a few months before the Friends find out if all their hard work has paid off, it’s a tense time for members.
Steph said: “There’s a good possibility we will be successful but you can never be sure as you are competing with other projects at every stage. There’s a lot riding on this but it’s just a question of waiting to hear now.
“We would like to thank our project managers, Alison Brown and Sally Green, and council officers, Richard  Aston and Chris Giles. There is no way we could do what we are doing without them. It is so complex and time consuming that the community could not apply for it without their help. They worked tremendously hard to put the application together and we are so lucky to have them.
“We would like to thank everyone who has donated. Every penny is gratefully received and very much appreciated.”

 

The exciting plans for Page Park include:

• A new building with cafe, community room and toilets
• Restoration of the clock tower and chiming clock
• Restoration of perimeter walls, gate pillars and gates
• Reinstating the iron railings that were taken down in Second World War
• Repairing paths and adding a new path on the Park Road side of the park
• Moving the children’s play area and adding new equipment
• Creating a growing area with wheelchair friendly greenhouse, paths and raised beds
• New landscaping
This list forms the main project but other work will be carried out including mending the water fountain, creating a boules area, adding drainage for the football pitches and cleaning the war memorial.

 

How you can be part of Page Park’s future


1. Could you run the cafe in the park? The council is looking for either a management trust or people who could lease the cafe from the council. It is essential you are community minded and interested in healthy eating. To find out more, call Alison Brown or Sally Green on 01454 868686.
2. Are you a business or individual who would like to donate money to the restoration fund? Even if the Friends is successful in winning the lottery money, it will not cover every improvement needed. You can make donations via Brunt and Fussell estate agents in Broad Street who have special envelopes for donations. If you include your name and address, it will allow the Friends to claim gift aid. Details of the Friends’ treasurer can be found on the website www.friendsofpagepark.co.uk
3. Could you join the Friends’ management team to help administer gift aid on donations? If you’re a UK taxpayer, gift aid increases the value of your donation by allowing the Friends to reclaim the basic rate of tax on your gift at no extra cost to you.
4. The Friends would welcome new members, including gardeners who could help maintain the sensory garden. To find out more, go to the ‘Contact’ section of www.friendsofpagepark.co.uk

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