A great year in store at the Eastville Park Community Hub

December 30 2021
A great year in store at the Eastville Park Community Hub

News from the Friends of Eastville Park

NOW I’m not saying Kingfishers can be remotely compared to buses in any way, shape or form except maybe when bus liveries try very hard to imitate the wonderful colours that this amazing bird displays year-round.

But a visit to the park is always made that little bit more special when, one day, just as you’d given up all hope of ever spotting one, they appear in numbers perched on branches or flashing past in flight along the river valley in all their glory.

Word gets out very quickly by word of mouth or through the wonderful photographs posted on our Facebook group page and, within a very short time, we see an influx of enthusiasts and fellow photographers intent on capturing the bird that has over the years rightly become something of an icon for Eastville Park’s diverse and wonderful world of nature.

This small selection demonstrates not only the infinite beauty of the Kingfisher but also the amazing skills of the photographers who bring them to life in pictures so that we can all appreciate just how perfectly formed this bird is.

The park took a bit of a battering in early December, as gale force winds brought down several trees across pathways and on the river. It was certainly an unusual experience walking around a completely deserted park early in the morning and looking up at a group of crows flying at supersonic speed with the wind behind them then turning into the wind and disappearing high up out of sight in the matter of a few seconds – they looked to be having a whole lot of fun! Meanwhile, the ducks and swans were seeking safe shelter in the lee of the islands and doubtless envious of the crows’ antics above them.

The wind had also whipped up the lake and debris was being churned and  blocking the outlet to the river. We keep rods on hand so, after a bit of poking through, the water was able to get on its way again.

Few could forget the week when the park and all roads around were covered in drifts of fallen leaves several feet high, blocking paths and providing an instant playground for children as they ran through and threw themselves into the heart of this living mass of fun!

If the sheer volume of leaves was remarkable, so too was the vivid cauldron of reds, brown and orange as the piles of leaves moved around each other like an image from a kaleidoscope. Within an hour or so, fully laden trees were turned to skeletons under the onslaught, as natures’ season changed once again.

We were very sad not to have been able to bring Santa’s Grotto to the park again this year.

Having had to cancel the previous two years, we were really looking forward to coming back bigger and better with our legendary volunteer elves putting on an event that has always been a great success. 

We felt that this winter was our best opportunity to press on with the renovations to the Nissen Hut that are so desperately needed to make ready for the next phase in the Friends’ journey: building our long planned Community Hub and Activities Centre that we hope will be at the centre of life in the park and prove to be a fantastic resource that brings the community into the park for activities and events all year round.

At the time of writing, we are well on our way to completing the first phase, which has involved stripping everything out, insulating, fixing electrics and re-lining the interior.

Our roof repairs have proved successful too – not a drop has found its way in and the building is already quite cosy, even before heating has been installed!

We are installing a new kitchen along with windows and doors in January, then we can go about decorating ready to re-open sometime in February.

The Hub will be an amazing space for use by groups for a wide spectrum of activities and we are already receiving huge interest for bookings throughout 2022.

If you are looking to hire a space on a regular or one-off basis, you simply won’t find anything that has the character, function, affordability and warm welcome that The Hub will be able to offer.

It’s been a long, slow, hard but rewarding journey for us to get to where we are now but we are sure that we can bring the whole community along with us on the next part of that journey.

The Hub is at the heart of our expression of interest to the Future Parks initiative, and our passion and love for creating something of real value is what drives us.

As a constituted community group – soon to be a Community Interest Organisation (a step along the road to charity status), we cannot produce for the foreseeable future significant profits to subsidise the parks department or council budgets for maintenance of parks, but we can support ourselves and sustain the Hub though our own fundraising activities, rentals and grant monies, which demonstrates a cost-neutral impact on council parks budget.

What we do offer is the commitment, energy and passion of volunteers with an exciting vision that brings this space back to life with added value for the community along with improved modern facilities. It places intrinsic value on what little is left of Eastville Park’s heritage – buildings that have history, with stories written into their walls and deserve sympathetic restoration to preserve them for years to come

We’ll be having a very big party  in early Spring  to celebrate the re-opening of Eastville Park Community Hub and extend a very warm welcome to you all. Come along and celebrate with us as we set out on our new journey together.

If you’d like to know more about booking The Hub for activities during 2022, please get in touch with us at friendsofeastvillepark@gmail.com.

The Parkie