Our beautiful Park continues to be a source of pleasure, relaxation and overall well being for so many people, both in our local community and beyond. Although we sing its praises every year, we must never take for granted what a jewel we have on our doorstep and how it adds to the quality of so many people’s lives.
Thank you ! Part of what makes our Park such a joyous place, is the many people who contribute to its life and vitality. I would like to thank members of the FoSAP committee for both their work and enthusiasm as well as their shared support and friendship, along with others in the local community who have increasingly become involved in developing and maintaining new projects. Also a big thank you to both the council staff who keep the Park in such good shape, particularly of course Mickey for all the wonderful work he does, and to Fay and her staff for providing the delights of the Tea House cafe throughout the year.
Council budget. In November last year, Bristol city council published its draft budget for the coming years, which included significant cuts to the overall Parks budget, effectively looking to make it self-financing. When it was put out for public consultation, many parks groups, including FoSAP and the Bristol Parks Forum, and individuals responded passionately about the terrible impact this would have on Bristol’s parks and open spaces, one of the city’s greatest assets, and the adverse effect it would have on many people’s health and well being. Fortunately, the many voices were listened to and the proposal was withdrawn.
Volunteering. Volunteers continue to play an important and growing role in the life of the Park. Over the last year, we have started to log the number of hours volunteers contribute to the Park. This still an inexact science, but it is safe to say that it averages out at between 12 and 15 hours per week in total.
Achievements in 2022/23
Maintaining and enhancing existing projects.
Too many people to mention individually are involved with the many aspects of these
projects——a BIG “THANK YOU” to everyone, whatever their contribution.
i] Pond Improvements. A re-positioning of the fence and an improved adjacent path has both improved access and allowed for higher water levels to be created. The work was done by the council’s Fix it team, and the material costs covered by a generous family donation. In addition, the necessary annual removal of some of the pond vegetative material was undertaken by volunteers, as was various other repair works and the flower seeding of the new earth bank between the new path and fence. The pond continues to be a wonderful feature of the Park, encouraging wildlife and biodiversity, and this work has further enhanced it.
ii] Community Food Garden. First developed by two local residents as a community facility which would help, particularly children and families, in getting hands-on experience of planting, maintaining and caring for food crops. With the active support of FoSAP, first steps in its creation were taken in 2021/22, with the planting of four fruit trees. Since then, three raised beds have been built by the council [ paid for through crowd funding ] and a number of fruit bushes planted. Just recently, a compost bin was built, and a more defined entrance and edge to the garden created by the construction of a pergola entrance and planting of a fruit hedge. A lot has been achieved in its first year, and a more regular pattern of volunteer activity, particularly widening the scope for family involvement, is an aim for the current year.
iii] Tree Trail and Leaflet. The Park has a great variety of mature trees, a fact perhaps not always widely recognised. An attractive and informative leaflet [ available from the cafe] and download was created to bring people’s attention to this wonderful asset, and has been enormously successful in doing so.
iv] Perennial [ “Angela’s”] beds adjacent to the dog free area. With Angela [ and Paul’s] departure at the end of 2021, new arrangements for the care, maintenance and where possible, enhancement of the three beautiful perennial flower beds had to be set up. This has been successfully done with a number of new, enthusiastic and knowledgable volunteers now regularly involved as the seasons require.
v] Play Area improvements. A number of relatively small, but important improvements, were outstanding from the major redevelopment contract last year. A new pedestrian gate, giving easier access to the toilets was installed, along with the repair to the damaged bank below the toddler play equipment. Also, the new basketball hoop was broken, so a new more robust one was purchased and installed. Repair of the damaged junior trim trail is still outstanding.
vi] Perennial Flower Meadow. Now coming into its third year, last Autumn’s cutback was closely followed by the sowing of areas of Yellow Rattle seed, which hopefully will establish itself over time and help suppress the historically established grass, thereby encouraging greater biodiversity and range of plants.
vii] Wellington Bomber Memorial. Both the elegant stone memorial and adjacent planting continue to be well maintained, providing an important historical reference point for the Park.
viii] Melita Rd Pollinator bed. Created over a year ago by local residents and maintained by them, this delightful addition to this part of the Park, has established itself and will hopefully continue to flourish.
ix] Toilet Wall Mural. Following its creation by Lucas Antics in 2021, this striking mural suffered from some vandalism on the side wall. The artist came back and restored it to its former glory at no charge, for which we are very grateful.
x] Recycling. A pattern of collection by Bristol Waste now appears to have been established at the Melita Rd and the main Effingham Rd entrances. In addition, notices have been put on all the rubbish bins, encouraging people to take their recycling home.
xi] Paddling Pool. Although not directly a FoSAP project, the council’s re-opening of the Paddling Pool after two years of closure due to Covid, was widely welcomed. Despite council budget pressures, FoSAP will continue to promote its necessary annual repair and maintenance.
Creating a new Website and clarification re Park related Facebook page.
It was decided that the annual cost of the original website had become too expensive and that, given the advancement of social media platforms since it was first created, a simpler, cheaper option should be developed to replace it. This is now in place, with the potential for a clearer focus on current FoSAP activities. Achieving this will rely on regular updated “Postings” and “Newsflashes” being created [ see below “priorities for 2023/24”].
Given that there had been some ambiguity about FoSAP’s management/ monitoring role in the Park related Facebook page, it was re-titled the “St Andrew’s Park Community Forum”, making it clear that this was neither FoSAP’s responsibility nor did it necessarily reflect FoSAP’s views on various issues.
Priorities for 2023/2024
1. City council liaison. Continue to work closely with the city council.
2. Ongoing Projects. Continue to effectively maintain and/or support the ongoing projects described above and, where possible, enhance them.
3. Volunteering. Continue to promote and advertise volunteering opportunities with the above projects, and aim to better co-ordinate volunteering activities across projects. Also, to encourage new people to become actively involved in the rewarding work of FoSAP and to highlight that the vacant post of Vice Chair is currently seeking an enthusiastic volunteer !
4. Progressing new projects. The one new scheme currently in preparation, a Nature/Tree Trail for children, builds on the success of the Tree Trail.
5. Reviewing possible new schemes. Three schemes identified last year as possibly having potential, were not progressed. An assessment needs to made as to whether they are sufficiently beneficial and practically possible in terms of design, location, funding and project management:
i] exercise/ fitness equipment;
ii] drinking fountain;
iii] restoration of sun dial.
6. Website. Making active use of the “Posting “ and “Newsflash “ opportunities of the new website, to promote/ advertise current schemes and issues.
Finally, and again, a big THANK YOU to everybody involved. Steve Perry [ Chair], April 2023.