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Celebrating the work of volunteers

Centre Vale Park volunteer Philip Marshall

During Volunteers’ Week (1 – 7 June 2015), Calderdale Council is recognising the outstanding contribution that its volunteers make across the borough.

Now in its 30th year, Volunteers’ Week is a national celebration of volunteering, which publicly thanks the country’s amazing volunteers and encourages others to get involved.

In Calderdale, the Council’s parks are just some of the places where dozens of dedicated volunteers are making a big difference. Many of our large parks have Friends Groups who volunteer in parks across Calderdale, carrying out small grounds maintenance tasks, clean ups and also applying for funding for projects including play area improvements.

For example, in Centre Vale Park, Todmorden, volunteer Philip Marshall from Todmorden has worked tirelessly to help manage the woodland over the last five years. Supporting the work of park staff, Philip has thinned out the woodland, helped plants to flourish, made the area more appealing for birds and wildlife, and identified important trees that were previously undiscovered. The woodland is now a greener, more pleasant place to enjoy, and is being used much more by local people. Philip is also working with the Friends of Centre Vale Park to apply for funding for a number of trails around the wood. Philip said:

“What inspired me to volunteer was the sight of an old Oak tree in Centre Vale Park that had once been the centre of attention, but was suffering as the surrounding dark woodland pressed in, shading out the low branches until they had died. I volunteered to open up the canopy throughout the woodland. I enjoy seeing the results of my efforts and looking round at the wildlife that has appeared since this work began. I enjoy seeing the public walking through an increasingly vibrant woodland, with remaining trees given enough light and space to grow and wildflowers to bloom beneath.”

The bowling pavilion in Centre Vale Park has also been given a boost thanks to a group of volunteers pulling together to renovate the building.

Last year the Council carried out some basic repairs to the pavilion and has continued to work with the local bowling clubs and Friends of Centre Vale Park to transform the pavilion and secure its future.

Fred Birtwistle from Todmorden, who is a member of one of the bowling clubs using the facilities, formed a group of volunteers who generously gave hours of their time to paint, lay new flooring, gather and install donated appliances and bring the old toilets back into use. The reaction from bowlers and visitors has been very positive and the improvements will help them to celebrate the centenary of bowling in the park in style this year. Fred says:

“When we were told the pavilion had come to the end of its life, members of the bowling club got together and decided fundraising was the way forward to keep the club alive. This has been achieved with donations from local business, bowling clubs and our members. We have worked hard to hopefully keep the bowls club open for old and new members. I enjoyed doing the work to the bowling pavilion, it has kept me occupied and active and has ensured that bowlers can carry on bowling with good facilities to use.”

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, Cllr Steve Sweeney, said:

“Our volunteers make an amazing contribution to the work of the Council, day in day out. Volunteers’ Week is the perfect time to publicly thank the hundreds of people who offer their time, skill and passion to make Calderdale the brilliant place that it is. We have a strong volunteer programme and actively encourage people of all ages and walks of life to get involved.”

If you’d like to volunteer in your local park, go to www.calderdale.gov.uk/parks or contact parks@calderdale.gov.uk

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