See future events including an official Bute Park event on the events page.
National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces – www.natfedparks.org.uk
To all Friends groups – please forward to your members…
Please check out this major Sunday paper article below, paying tribute to the thousands of dedicated Friends Groups volunteers throughout the UK. Includes a statement from the NFPGS chair recognising the vital role of Friends groups and calling for proper investment and resources for all the UK’s parks.
Let’s try to keep up the good work and support each other in 2019!
Dave, NFPGS Chair
We salute the park saviours! Pruning, picking up litter and even patrolling at night
… how a volunteer army of 300,000 keep open green spaces that have been abandoned by councils
- The number of park volunteers has rocketed in just two decades – from a few thousand in the 1990s to more than 300,000 today
- The Mail on Sunday’s Save Our Parks campaign has revealed that one in three parks no longer has any staff on site
- Residents say they have felt compelled to step in after seeing their beloved green spaces become no-go zones
Published: 30 December 2018
Like many of her neighbours, Chrisie Byrne was horrified when she discovered that developers wanted to concrete over her local park. The mother of three was in the midst of restoring the 130-acre Walton Hall Park in Liverpool to its former glory after years of neglect. The council had gone from employing 15 full-time park staff to occasionally mowing the grass. Along with 30 other volunteers, Chrisie spent months painstakingly pruning overgrown bushes, planting shrubs, clearing walkways, replacing benches and picking up litter.
Despite their efforts, the council entered talks to turn the space into a new stadium for Everton Football Club, and build 1,000 homes, shops, a 150-bedroom hotel, school and police station.
With their hard work under threat, Chrisie’s volunteer group launched an unlikely fightback. ‘For two years, we were busy gardening in the daytime and then waving placards outside council meetings in the evening,’ she says. Their battle against the £300 million development was finally won in May 2016 when the plans were withdrawn. Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson later announced that the park would never be built on.
Chrisie’s team of volunteers has since grown to 547 members and they prune, plant, paint and tidy up seven days a week. ‘We have worked with four junior schools and a high school, getting children interested in gardening and wildlife. When we started the crime rate here was very high but people are taking pride in the area now.’
When volunteers started rejuvenating Walton Hall Park, it had only three benches and 13 bins. Teenagers said they wanted somewhere to sit, so volunteers created seats from trees that needed felling. Now the council is working in partnership with the group, and has supplied 15 new benches and 28 new bins in locations recommended by volunteers. The council has also given the group its own area to grow seeds under polytunnels before planting them in the park.
Pimps and drug users made site a no-go zone – until locals stepped in
Residents in some areas say council cutbacks have turned their parks into prime spots for drug addicts and prostitution. Locals saw this happening to the historic Ward End Park in Birmingham, where a lack of lighting around the main entrance seemed to attract the 20 prostitutes working on the nearby main road. When schools stopped taking their pupils to the 54-acre site, people living nearby took matters into their own hands.
If you have an interesting story to tell about your visits to Bute Park, your knowledge of people in the past who were involved in the Park, history of events in the park, then email us and we will put this on our website. Please be aware that we may edit your stories.
We love our park and want to know that you love it too. We also want to find out, what events would appeal to you? Would you like to get involved more in the park, or just chillax? What do you love about our Bute Park and what do you hate?
We also are putting up a gazebo in the park once a month and would like you to stop off and chat to us, tell us all about what you enjoy, what your history is about using the park.
So talk to us when you see us.
Hedgehogs – if you see them in daylight they may be unwell and need to be rehydrated. Please phone The Hedgehog Helpline 07557646773 or take them to a vet.
Wild and stormy night.
We all heard the wind that blew whilst Irma was battering the Caribbean and USA, this was mild compared to that, this was Storm Aileen, still challenging on her own account. The amount of branches and trees that have been blown down in Bute Park are immense. Like this Red Oak that had fungal damage at its roots, which led to its toppling over when Storm Aileen hit. Gorgeous in Autumn with its red leaves, only its sister oak next to it, is left to glow in autumnal colours. One of our Friends of Bute Park is showing how huge the root ball is. He is a tall chap, but is tiny against this massive mound of roots and earth. Well, we will need to start planting trees again if this keeps up, so if anyone knows of a free supplier of such trees as the Red Oak tree, get in touch.