Friends of Horfield Common - June 2012 News update!
FOHC's Diamond Jubilee Summer Picnic 2012! What a brilliant day!
What a fantastic Summer Picnic and Diamond Jubilee to remember on Horfield Common! More than 1,500 people of all ages came along throughout the course of the afternoon to chat, play, relax and join in the party, and around 400 people arrived to wind-down, relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the Ardagh and the brilliant live music from local band ‘The Hogranch’ at the event hosted by Ardagh Bowling and Sports Club in the evening.
This year, we had the pleasure of working together with a wide range of other local groups which meant (that we made lots of new friends, and) that were able to deliver an event that was even bigger and better than we could have imagined. Funding from the local neighbourhood partnership meant that we were able to extend the event this year - thank you to all who helped to make it happen – to those who volunteered, to the artists who activated the Ardagh and Horfield Common in such imaginative ways, to all who donated goods for stalls, helped out with setting things up, came along to paint faces, sell books, plants and bric-a-brac, enjoy the day with friends and all who helped to make such a fantastic atmosphere throughout the event!
We have got some brilliant photographs and videos of the day which you can see on our pictures page. If you have got any of your own, please do upload them to our Facebook page or add them to our Flickr site so that others we can share them.
Village Green Status for Wellington Hill Playing Field Campaign!
We are incredibly pleased to be able to report that there finally appears to be something happening with the application process to achieve Village Green Status for Wellington Hill Playing Field.
The application will be being considered at Bristol City Council’s next Public Rights of Way and Greens Committee meeting, which takes place on Monday 25th June 2012 at 2.00pm at the Council House.
If you are able to attend that meeting – please do, it is a public meeting and open to all. Continuing to demonstrate – at every opportunity - how much support there is for Wellington Hill Playing Field to be registered as a Village Green is important. FOHC will be attending and would very much welcome as much visible support as possible.
We are expecting that the CRA will recommend that the PRWGC Committee appoint an Independent Inspector to assess the evidence that has been submitted in support of the application to register the field as Village Green, and to make a recommendation once they have done this to the panel therefore at a later date. However – we cannot predict the outcome of the meeting, and therefore all support for the registration of the field as a Village Green will be important.
If you are not able to attend the meeting on 25 June 2012 at 2.00pm, but would like to register your ongoing support for the application – please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org marking your correspondence for the attention of the Chair of the PRWGC, and stating that it is with reference to the agenda item which will consider the application to register Wellington Hill Playing Field as a Village Green at the next meeting of the committee on 25 June 2012.
For a quick update explaining what the situation is now, and why it is still necessary for us to achieve this status for Wellington Hill Playing Field despite it having been withdrawn from the list of sites for disposal that were included in 2010’s Area Green Space Plan and Site Allocations process – please see here, which is a link to an article published in Bishopston Matters magazine’s June 2012 edition.
Your e-mail needs to include a statement which says that you fully support the registration of Wellington Hill Playing Field as a Village Green, that you believe that the field meets all of the criteria necessary for the registration and that you urge the committee to support this registration.
If there is anything further that you would like to add – please do (perhaps you could ask when exactly the goal posts will be put back up in the field – it is now more than a year since it was removed by the Cabinet from the list of sites for potential disposal and we were assured that the football pitch would be put back as soon as the road was removed) & do feel free to rephrase the above if you would like to, but if you can send your e-mail to be received before 12.00pm on Friday 22 June 2012, this will mean that it is seen by and will be considered by the committee on the day.
FOHC’s Jay will be attending the meeting with a few questions about the future of the field in terms of replacing the goalposts and getting the football pitch laid back out again also. Please do go along if you are able to.
Reinstate the goal posts on Wellington Hill Playing Field!
The ongoing failure to reinstate the goalposts on Wellington Hill Playing Field is increasingly causing concern and irritation which we are following up with the local BCC Neighbourhood Engagement Officer - who has been doing a stirling job chasing this up repeatedly throughout the last year.
To date we have been told that the posts cannot be reinstated until the Village Green Application has been decided (from our understanding there is no specific reason for this), that the posts cannot be reinstated at all because the city-wide sports strategy does not 'support individual football pitches' (although it was clear through the Area Green Space Plan consultation that this is what local people and groups want) and now are being told that the goalposts cannot be put back up or the football pitch be marked out again because the field does not provide changing facilities for users of it.
We have responded to this last point by making clear that the pitch is used by local residents and groups, most of whom have their own changing facilities either at home, or inside premises that are next to the field (e.g Manor Farm Boys Club, Horfield Parish Church Hall and the 62nd Scouts hut).
We are extremely concerned that not reinstating the football pitch or goalposts will mean that we will end up with another proposal to sell Wellington Hill Playing Field because it is not being used!
As soon as we do get any further information on this - we will let you know.
The Ardagh and the Children’s Play Area on Horfield Common
Friends of Horfield Common continue to work with a range of other organisations including Ardagh Bowling and Sports Club, Bristol City Council (in a range of capacities) and other local groups to explore how Horfield Common, including the Ardagh area can be improved to ensure its fitness for purpose for all members of the community into the future. The priorities for our work this year continue to focus on the achievement of improvements to the children’s play facilities available on Horfield Common, and improvement of the Ardagh tennis courts, Bowling Green, Pavilion Building and wider facilities to ensure that these remain available for use by all in to the future. Alongside this, understanding how these will be maintained and managed in to the future so that they remain accessible to the local community, and continue to provide good quality sports and leisure facilities in the area is top of our priority list.
Progress has been (at times painfully) slow over the past 2 years, but we feel very optimistic about the future of the site and the growing recognition that there is about how much of an asset these facilities are, and can be, for the local and wider community. The Summer Picnic and Evening event inside the Ardagh on 4 June demonstrated how much potential there is for the Ardagh – with some investment – to serve the local community with accessible sports, leisure and community facilities which anyone could be proud of.
By the end of July we should hear whether an application made (to Bristol City Council’s £3.5 million fund for improvements to Bristol’s Parks and Green Spaces) by for funding to improve the facilities on Horfield Common have been successful. We are keeping everything crossed that this year will be Horfield Common’s turn for investment and improvements so that our facilities can be improved to match those in other areas of the city.
For further information about the application made to improve Horfield Common, including the children’s play facilities and the Ardagh see here for a recent article in Bishopston Matters Magazine (you can see the original in the full magazine at www.bishopstonmatters.co.uk). We are keeping our ears open and our fingers crossed!
The Celebrating Age Festival at the Ardagh!
Ardagh Bowling and Sports Club are taking part in Bristol’s City-wide ‘Celebrating Age Festival’ this Friday, running a specific session for over-50s who are interested in trying out a new activity. This is the second session at the Ardagh as part of the festival, and one of dozens of activity taster sessions taking place across the city between 9th – 23rd June 2012.
The aim of the festival is to give people over 50 the chance to try out activities that they may not previously have done, with a view to encouraging ongoing participation in sports, arts and other activities.
If you, or someone that you know, is over 50 and would like to come along and have a go – please join the Ardagh Bowlers on Friday evening from 6.00 -8.30pm for a fun, friendly and free go at lawn bowling. Please wear flat shoes, but other than that - all equipment will be provided & sessions are completely free (thank you to Bristol City Council for funding these sessions!).
Friends of Horfield Common exists to ‘ensure continued access to, availability of, and improvement of the state of Horfield Common.’
We always welcome anyone who would like to support the achievement of these aims, and if you would like to get more involved with our work – please do get in touch.
As well as working as part of FOHC’s committee, there are a number of other ways that you can get involved, which include:
Volunteering to help keep Horfield Common Graffiti Free
We love art and creative people, but not graffiti on the walls, the dog bins, the play equipment, the benches and on the trees!
Can you spare an occasional few hours to help keep the common free from vandalism and graffiti?
We have a small group of volunteers who work together to keep the common graffiti free. It is very practical work – if you are comfortable with a paintbrush and a roller, don’t mind folding up your sleeves and getting involved in cleaning, scrubbing and photographing the offending items (we can show you how to do this) – please do get in touch.
Fortunately, as a result of such dedicated volunteers, there is little graffiti on the common (it is proven that if graffiti is cleaned off as quickly as possible, it discourages further from accumulating) but we do need some additional people who are happy to be called on as and when needed, and who can respond quickly (ideally on the day itself, or within a day if possible).
Ardagh Toddler Group launched in September 2011 and from the start has been in demand! On average 25 families come along on a weekly basis for fun, games and the Ardagh toddler-takeover!
Ardagh Toddlers runs on a Monday morning from 10.00 – 11.30am. There are a dedicated band of volunteers who set for the group weekly, run the sessions (with mums, dads and carers present throughout) and then clear up and pack up at the end.
Volunteers encourage everyone to get involved – whether that’s chatting to new members over a cup of tea and introducing them to others, helping some run activity sessions (including arts and crafts), or crawling about on the floor with some of the under-3s!
A review of Ardagh Toddlers was recently published on the blog ‘Bishopston Mum’ written by local mum Hilary Douglas-Smith. Have a look at this and see if it sounds like a group that you could lend some support to!
If you can volunteer either weekly or fortnightly on a Monday from 9.00am – 12.00 midday to help set up, run the session and then pack up afterwards – please do get in touch and let us know!
Your help will be very much welcomed by the friendly and committed Ardagh Toddlers gang!
Do you have green fingers? Do you fancy getting out in the open air for an hour or more once in a while? Or would you like to learn some new gardening tips from some experts?
Run in partnership with Ardagh Bowling and Sports Club, this friendly and informal group gets together to try to keep the Ardagh Gardens, and the flora and fauna around the tennis courts looking beautiful throughout the year. Last week saw the bulbs and annual plants going in for the Summer, so the focus of the next couple of months is really on maintenance and weeding. If you think that you could become a committed weeder for the Summer – please do get in touch and let us know! It is hard work to keep the gardens looking cared for, and any extra hands - no matter whether total beginners or more experienced gardeners – would make a big difference.
As well as more formal sessions at weekends, which we welcome new volunteers to come along and lend their support to (there is usually tea & cake of some sort!), there are a number of volunteer members of this group who pop in to the site for an hour during the week to do a bit of weeding and tidying, and we also would welcome anyone else who would like to get involved in this way.
We love the Ardagh gardens and think that they are worth some time and energy so that they can be enjoyed by everybody. Come along and join us if you would like to.
If you can help – and would like to get involved - please get in touch and let us know!
Joining the 'Please P-P-P-Pick up the poop' campaign!
It’s hardly the most glamorous of subjects, but our ‘P-P-P-Pick up the poop’ campaign appears to be making an impact. It’s a simple idea – a number of our lovely Horfield Common dog walkers who use the common everyday with their respective four-legged friends replenish a supply of bags (on a daily basis) at a number of points around the common, which are highly visible, so there is always a bag available when needed and everyone can see that they are there!
As there are a small group doing this, if one person isn’t around for a few days, there is always someone else who has their eyes on the number of bags available and who is on the common daily so can top them up as well. We can provide bags if you’d like to join the gang, otherwise – you can buy cheap nappy bags/dog bags & just join in! Up to 5 bags at any of the points around the common where the notices are is our aim – get in touch and let us know if you’d like to get involved & thank you to those dog walkers who already are doing – we think that it is making a distinct difference and ensuring that Horfield Common stays available and lovely for use by everybody!
Using the Ardagh Facilities
The Ardagh pavilion facilities are available to hire at very reasonable rates.
If you have a family celebration coming up, or are interested in setting up a regular group or running a one-off event, consider whether the Ardagh could suit your needs.
More information about the facilities is available on the Ardagh Bowling and Sports Club’s website – please support the Bowling Club if you are able to – all money goes back in to supporting the Bowling Club who are doing a sterling job of keeping the facilities up together and open whilst longer-term planning continues.
We’d like to thank everyone who came along the Diamond Jubilee Summer Picnic, all who came along and enjoyed the evening event at the Ardagh and everybody who is pitching in and volunteering to make a success of the wide range of activities, groups and campaigns that are taking place on, and in relation to Horfield Common and the Ardagh.
Have a wonderful summer – we’ll keep you up to date with any news about Wellington Hill Playing Field, Horfield Common and the Ardagh as soon as we have it,
Very Best Wishes,
Friends of Horfield Common’s 2012/13 Committee
Sam, Jessy, Maggie, Jay, Pat, Kay & Heidi
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