Hull Road Park is situated in the Tang Hall area of York which is one of the most deprived areas. It is a very large park with a history dating back to 1927. Over the years with council cutbacks the park had become rather plain and unloved with minimal input and only essential maintenance.
TCV were approached by the local ward councillors with a very small pot of funding but high hopes to generate ultimately a Friends of Hull Road Park. The aim was to have more people using the park and help it to become attractive for investment by the city council and so on. The councillors were working towards a community café in the park and wanted a project to compliment this.
It was clear the aims far outweighed the money available. However, TCV York Youth and Community SPO saw an opportunity for a project and identified a grant available locally.
Growing Green Spaces is a scheme managed by York CVS with funding from York City Council. The outcomes for the grant are to engage residents with the green spaces and help maintain them.
TCV successfully applied and started a two-year project in the park.
Starting from zero volunteers we have worked with other organisations and projects in the area to develop a small group. The project now has a regular volunteer group of 6 volunteers meeting every Thursday to do gardening projects within the park.
The community café run by Choose2Youth, a social enterprise working with young people with additional needs, send a group of about 8 young people every Thursday for an hour to help. They have big impact litter picking and contributing to planting, path edging etc.
Volunteers have planted around 1000 bulbs, natives and ornamental, in the park to date. They have transformed a very tired rose bed into a colourful central display in the park. The volunteers weed and tend the beds including rose beds and entrance areas regularly. They help to maintain areas such as the woodland walks, re-woodchipping paths and removing brambles. They also edge the main paths around the café and central pavilion area.
One of the main focuses of the volunteer project is to reinstate the original rockery. This has been cleared of brambles overgrown shrubs and grasses. This is now at a stage of improving the soil and planting alpines.
Using some of the budget to hire in the TCV York midweek group to support the work of the park volunteers and do some of the bigger and more complicated aspects of the work done has enabled us to progress at a nice speed so people do not lose interest and heart. We also work with Corporate volunteer groups run by City of York Council Environment and Community Officer and other useful organisations like Good Gym to maximise our impact.
The project has contributed to and led events in the park including, Tang Hall Family Festival 2017 and Party in the Park July 2018 to launch the new community café. We have also worked with TCV York’s Local people Project funded by Peoples Health Trust to run smaller events for families.
By the end of the two-year project, there has been a really great impact on the park.
However, it was clear getting a “Friends of Group” up and running would take more time. Mainly because people need to build up a sense of ownership and pride for the area and a desire to take on the commitment of a Friends of Group. The foundations for this are there but more time was needed. This was recognised by the funders and a further two years funding has been given.
The volunteers are wonderful and not only are they having a very positive impact on the park, they are benefiting themselves from the social activity.
The project has taken the lead in creating a development plan for the park working with York City council and other interested parties in the park.
On the back of the success of this project TCV have applied for additional funding from Growing Green Spaces to expand our activities with the development of a food growing area and a second volunteering opportunity a week in the park.