Our annual report

As we draw to the close of another year, you may be interested to read this report of the activities of Friends of Preston Park over the past twelve months:

Annual report November 2013 to November 2014 (PDF, 276K)

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Our Annual General Meeting is this Saturday

The Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Preston Park will be held this Saturday at 11am in the Men’s Bowls Pavilion (near the Rotunda Cafe).

Be re-assured, the formalities will be kept to an absolute minimum! Primarily this will be a chance to ask questions or make comments about any aspect of the park.

We will be particularly interested to hear from anyone who will be able to help us in any way next year, however little or infrequent that may be.

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Pics from the Halloween Lantern Walk

Sophia Behn tells some scary stories

Sophia Behn tells some scary stories

Just one of 20 giant pumpkins carved by Emma and the other park rangers

Just one of 20 giant pumpkins carved by Emma and the other park rangers

Face painting in the pavilion from Nam Nam's

Face painting in the pavilion from Nam Nam’s

The crowd gathers before the walk

The crowd gathers before the walk

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANo, the pavilion is not on fire. Smoke machine supplied by TS Professional Sound and Light.

No, the pavilion is not on fire. Smoke machine supplied by TS Professional Sound and Light.

Winner of best lantern shows off his prize of a giant chocolate cake and book vouchers

Winner of best lantern shows off his prize of a giant chocolate cake and book vouchers

And Peter, here, won the prize for best costume

And Peter, here, won the prize for best costume

Some more fabulous pumpkin lanterns

Some more fabulous pumpkin lanterns

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Storytelling from Sophia

Face painting shown off by these two brothers

Face painting shown off by these two brothers

It was dark but certainly not cold - probably one of the warmest November nights on record

It was dark but certainly not cold – probably one of the warmest November nights on record

Another great costume

Another great costume

A pretty scary family you must admit

A pretty scary family you must admit

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Halloween Lantern Walk this Saturday

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Pics from the bulb planting extravaganza

There was a good turnout on a warm Autumn's day

There was a good turnout on a warm Autumn’s day

The volunteers were not daunted by 50,000 bulbs to plant

The volunteers were not daunted by 50,000 bulbs to plant

Jane Wills-Taylor provided some great entertainment

Jane Wills-Taylor provided some great entertainment

But mainly people turned up for the cakes!

But mainly people turned up for the cakes!

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The Rock Garden volunteers

volunteers

The photo shows from the left, Alison Anastasia Hugh and Trixie.

Here are the volunteers who work hard in the Rock Garden every Wednesday from 10am to 1pm. The volunteer group was started around four years ago with Trixie as the founder member. After several short-term volunteers Anastasia joined the group then Alison and finally, last year, Hugh joined the volunteers.

Andy Jeavons, the garden Manager, says ‘The garden wouldn’t be a fraction of what it is now without their help. Although much of the work involves weeding, the volunteers enjoy planting many of the spring bulbs and herbaceous perennials, edging up the beds and screes and even decorating the chalet on wet days.’

The volunteer also have occasional visits to gardens. Outings have included RHS Wisley, Denmans, The Prairie Gardens, Parham House and Great Dixter.
Andy says ‘A huge thank you to the Rockery’s unsung heroes.’ And we second his appreciation.

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Spotlight on the Harvest Garden

harvest garden

That’s the veggie garden area near the Rotunda, also called the demo garden. We thought you’d like to know a bit more about the area and the volunteers that work it so we asked Caroline Whiteman, volunteer co-ordinators, a few questions:

Q. When and how did the garden start?

It started in March 2010 with just 4 raised beds and a few containers. The Brighton and Hove Food Partnership, which is a local non-profit registered charity, asked the council for permission to build a demo garden in the park as a flagship for their ‘Harvest’ project. The project was aimed to promote food growing in the city. Many local volunteers helped to build it and continue to maintain it.

Q. There have been changes to the garden, tell us more about that.

This year the garden has doubled in size so we’re able to demonstrate perennial planting. Fruit bushes, trees, vines and herbs have been included. And the larger area enables wheelchair access to allow involvement by those with limited mobility.

Q. Are there opportunities for new volunteers?

The popularity of the garden means that we’re currently not taking on new volunteers. However there are around 70 community growing projects in the city, many of which would welcome new volunteers. For more info contact jo@bhfood.org or visit www.bhfood.org.uk or call 01273 431700.

Q. Where does the Demo veggie garden fit in with the wider Brighton Food Partnership?

The partnership works on all aspects of food: helping people learn to cook, eat a healthy diet, grow their own food and waste less food. This garden is still the flagship project but it’s also a great way to start a conversation about cooking, composting, volunteering or other fun food activities in which people can get involved around the city.

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Update on parking monies

Here’s the latest news from our Chair:

We have recently met with the council to discuss how the surplus parking monies have been spent this year, and what the plans are for the future.
So far this year, money has been spent on installing a new artificial cricket wicket and making improvements and repairs to the fencing around the cycling track. This spend was approved through a public consultation exercise this time last year. However, the proposed repairs to the flint walls around the cycle track have been deferred because a better understanding of the costs and benefits of this work needs to be established.

The parking scheme is currently producing an estimated surplus of about £37k per year and the good news is that by the end of this financial year (March 2015) there could be around £59k available for projects and improvements in the park.

As you might imagine, there are many competing demands making a call on this money, including the need to make some repairs to the toilets adjacent to the two cafes. The Councils Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee will consider using some of the surplus to fund these repairs. The council committee will make a decision on 7 October.

Looking to the future, the council plan to prioritise projects in the park. The council is keen to develop a 5-year ‘masterplan’ for the park, to help inform the priorities and this is an idea that we broadly welcome. This is still in the very early stages so we don’t know yet what projects will be included, or how public consultation will take place. Officers from the Parks Department are keen to work closely with us on the development of the masterplan and consultation. We will let you know more as the detail emerges.

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Brighton Pride – Public Meeting

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Parking in the park

Many of you have been in touch to express dismay to see cars in the park – and the problem seems to have grown. (No cars should be in the park except for blue badge-holders who can park in designated bays and display their badge.)

We have met with council officials and councillors to come up with a solution that would mitigate the problem. You may remember we gained an agreement for bollards to be installed at the north east entrance – to allow for access to blue badge-holders but to provide a deterrent to others – for clear signage at that entrance to explain that cars are not allowed and for the wooden posts which line the grass to be repaired or replaced. Work should start installing these very soon.

We have also succeeded in ensuring that parking enforcement officers are in the park on a regular basis and at times when the most cars seem to be in the park. (Also, at the time of writing, bollards are being installed near the Chalet café; this barrier should be fully effective once the wooden posts are repaired.) Hopefully these measures will help prevent unauthorised car access – we’d hate to see an accident.

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