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Friends of Rowntree Park - October Newsletter

Saturday, October 1st, 2022 5:13pm

By Barbara Constable

Hello to autumn!   Some glorious colours are already starting to be seen in Rowntree Park as autumn arrives.  It's our AGM on Thursday October 13th 7pm in the cafe. All members are welcome to attend this open meeting - we love to see new faces!

Hello to autumn!  
Some glorious colours are already starting to be seen in Rowntree Park as autumn arrives.  It's our AGM on Thursday October 13th 7pm in the cafe. All members are welcome to attend this open meeting - we love to see new faces!

Please can you complete our annual members survey, it takes 2 minutes - click here. Your views really help!     

Rowntree Park Gifts

We are pleased to share that we will be selling some new Rowntree Park merchandise in the lead up to Christmas - perfect as gifts or for yourself!    What we have:
-New tote bags
-2023 calendar
-A4 prints - from the 'Art in the park' display
-A5 packs of cards
-A limited edition Christmas card
-Gift memberships (with or without card)
-Woodland animal toys 
You can find out more about these things and how to get yours by checking out the link here.

Hello Autumn Event

Thank you to all who came to our 'Hello Autumn' event in September.  We had fun doing apple pressing, apple peeling, finding out about types of apples in our orchard, scything, and some crafts. The jam and cake table was very popular!  As well as a lovely community event, we raised around £300 which is fantastic. A huge thanks to Abundance York for coming along too. Abundance organise fruit picking and sharing events, making sure fruit across the city doesn't go to waste!

Older children and Rowntree Park

Don't forget to encourage any 10-16 year old boys and girls to complete our online survey. Their views can really make a difference! You can access that here.

You can read about our 'Make Space for Us' project  here.  The main project is linked to older girls, but other groups will hopefully benefit from any changes made too.  We have been featured by charity Make Space for Girls on their recent blog,  and our work so far referred to in some new research on parks and older girls. 
We have a focus group session on Saturday 1st of October for girls age 10-16 and there are still a few spaces left for this informal and friendly session where girls can share views. We will also have the hammocks up and some crafts as well as a chance to chat and change the world! Book you place here - it's free and taking place 4-5pm.

Park closing times

The park is currently opened in the morning by a council worker and closed in the evening by a security firm, on behalf of the council.  Some of you may have noted it's very dark when the park is closing at present (10pm!) This will change soon to 5.30pm - we are just awaiting an update when this will start. Once we know, we will share on social media. The council also tend to put signs on the gates, so do check and avoid getting locked in!

The Geese

As mentioned in our last newsletter, the goose population has massively increased this year - along with the poo!  There is now goose poo in areas its never been before!  We are aware goose poo doesn't make the park that inviting.   The 'geese' is often a discussion we have with the council, looking at what they can do and also things our volunteers may be able to do.  The good news is that we have a group of people interested in reforming the 'goose maintenance team' and they are inviting others to get involved.  This team will explore a range of humane ideas and options to try and improve the situation in the park. If you are interested in getting involved, register interest here.  As it stands, volunteers don't remove the poo but look at ways to make the park less inviting to geese.

What are we currently doing:
  • Asking the council to send the sweeper for the paths as much as able to (currently this is around twice a week)  
  • Continuing to encourage people not to feed the geese/ducks bread (and especially not to feed the geese) 
  • Trying to block the gaps in the hedges in the railed gardens. The railed gardens our volunteers care for are meant to be goose free (that's why we had the railings installed), but geese are finding ways into to reach this green grass via gaps. The longer term aim is to get railings for the hedge sides of the garden to complete the railings. However, our temporary fencing was recently found smashed up - sigh
  • Quick update...

    • Saturday 1st of October is the Cancer Research 'Shine Walk' and they are based for their start and end in Rowntree Park. Therefore if you see things being set up on Saturday and lots of lights in the park after dark - that's what it is!
    • Our craft group hope to have a poppy display up in the park later this month - we hope you enjoy seeing it.
    • Christmas Wreath making sessions on Saturday 3rd of December are sold out, but we have takeaway kits available.  
    • Thank you to the Good Gym volunteers who have been in helping with the Wildlife area development. Our wildlife area development is funded by Yorkshire Water.
    • The railings around where the EA compound was will stay until the grass has grown. The aim is to return this area to a football pitch when able. However this will have new posts as the council and Friends are opting to leave the old ones outside the park as this area has been much used.
    • Thank you to work place volunteer teams who have been into the park recently including Network rail, Handelsbanken and Systra. We have more work teams in through October which is fantastic! If your work place is interested in spending volunteer days in the park, do get in touch. We are supported in workplace volunteer days by CYC Environment and Community team who oversee the days. If your workplace is registered with York Cares you can request group volunteering directly via them.  
    • Update from CYC - the on going toilet issues are still being investigated and worked on. This includes dealing with tree roots blocking the drains.
    • Update from CYC - they are continuing to do ground work investigation on the flood wall (near Cameron Grove/beck area). This wall is likely to need a fair amount of work to deal with issues. Currently the park has to shut when river levels reach just 3m, this is due to weaknesses in this wall and is a safety precaution.
    • Update from CYC - there are contractors in the park over the next few weeks carrying out some maintenance/repairs of various things.
    • The war memorial plaques in the lychgate are scheduled for repairs, following grafitti last year. This is due to take place next week do the area may be cordoned off at points whilst Rook Heritage works her magic!
    • If you see a lot of workers in the park on Tuesdays, this is a community payback team. They have done some amazing work in the park over the last few months with regard to hedge cutting and general tidying. We do also have our volunteer gardeners in on a Tuesday - in the Sensory garden.
    • Our wellbeing programme continues and our groups are well attended and getting great feedback. The wellbeing programme events currently include Nature Time (outdoor playground for parents of babies/toddlers), Wild Ones (nature group for older girls), and adult nature based activities that have included courses on willow weaving, slow stitching and writing so far - with Christmas crafts coming up next (see events below for more details on that one!) Our wellbeing programme has been funded by LNER.
    • Weekly Volunteer Gardening Sessions

      We need more volunteers!  If you can ever spare an hour out of your day, why not get involved? We have gardening sessions that you can join 3 times a week - you don't have to know about gardening - there are a range of jobs to be done and your help is appreciated. Come once, come weekly, come whenever you can - it all helps!  If you'd like to sign up to get involved, you can register here.
      Sessions take place at the following times - meet under the cafe (you can just turn up)  or email Stu for more info - gardening@rowntreepark.org.uk
      Mondays 9.30am
      Thursdays 10am
      Friday 9.30am
      We also have some Saturday morning sessions in the Wildlife Area - these are more ad hoc but if you express interest in this area we can send details of when they are taking place. 
    • Events and Activities in Rowntree Park 

      The Friends of Rowntree Park run a range of events and activities for the community. We also welcome outside providers who would like to book events in the park.  You can find out more information on our website under 'Events' and and book here.

      What's coming up...

      Autumn Art- Saturday 1st of October
      Fun crafts and activities for children aged 2-12. Creating out of nature!  9.45am and 10.30am start times. Places can be booked in advance, some drop in spots may be available on the day.

      Make Space for Us - Saturday 1st October
      This session is for girls aged 10-16 to come along and share their views on the park and how to encourage more girls to use the park.  This is an informal and relaxed session - there will also be hammocks up and some autumn crafts to do. It's free to attend but booking in advance. 4-5pm.

      The Very Young Friends of Rowntree Park - Wednesday 5th of September
      The monthly meet-up for 1-5 year olds and their parents/carers take place on the first Wednesday of each month 10am-11am. Nature crafts and storytelling at the woodland story circle. Places must be booked in advance. £2 for members. 

      Family Forest School - Saturday 8th of September
      Monthly Family Forest School for ages (ideally 2-12 but that's approximate) -  Join us for our Forest School session that features some outdoor bushcraft-style activities!  The session is 10-11.30am.  £7.50 per child for members. 

      Spooky Saturday - Saturday 29th of October
      Our popular-nature based halloween event is back! It is sold out, but get in touch if you'd like to be on the waiting list for any additional places.

      Writing for Wellbeing - Thursday 6th, 13th and 20th of October
      This is a 4 week course that officially started on the 29th of September, but late joiners welcome to come along to the following 3 sessions. Using inspiration from nature to prompt writing in a range of forms. These sessions run from 9.30-11am and are free, funded by LNER (a small donation toward refreshments is appreciated). Book online.

      Family Bird identification event - Saturday 22nd of October
      Join us and the RSPB for some bird identification!  This session is aimed at families with children aged 2-12 approx.  We will be staying in an area of the park to see what birds we can spot and learning how to identify them. This session will be around an hour and a great chance to talk to some experts from the RSPB. Book in advance.

      Adult Nature Christmas Crafts - 4 week course starting Monday 7th of November
      We're heading indoors in November to craft for Christmas (Southlands Church). In this 4 week programme, we'll use inspiration from nature to create beautiful Christmas gifts and decorations. We'll use a range of techniques, including felting, sewing and willow weaving to make crowns, Christmas tree decorations and arrangements suitable to use at home or gift to another. This course is provided as part of our Wellbeing in the Park programme and are funded by LNER. We ask for a small donation to cover the cost of refreshments and materials during the course – however this is not compulsory. Book in advance.

      Forest School - Pre-schoolers - Friday mornings
      Forest school sessions for 5 and under. Sessions are booked in 6-week blocks. 10-11.30am.  The Autumn block is fully booked but you can add your name to the waiting list and be the first to hear when the next spaces are available  - contact Christine at  education@rowntreepark.org.uk 

      Nature Time - Friday afternoons 
      Weekly outdoor playgroup for parents of babies and toddlers looking for a supportive, friendly environment to get to know others, chat and get involved in activities should you choose.  These sessions are free and funded by LNER (a small donation toward refreshments is appreciated). 1pm-2.15pm.

      Other info:
      Saturday 26th of November - Children's Christmas Crafts - fully booked
      Sat 3rd December - Christmas Wreath Making - fully booked

      Events with outside providers:

      Salsa with Sita -  Salsa takes place on  Sunday's and also Monday's.
      Sundays 2-3pm footwork class (no partner needed)
      Sundays 3-4pm partner class
      Mondays 10.45-11.45am
      Head here to book places.

      Mamas got Moves- Baby wearing dance class
      This popular baby wearing dance class for parents is back in Rowntree Park on Mondays 9.30-10.30am and Thursdays at 11.30-12.30pm - head here to book places.
      Also - once a month there are special Sunday baby wearing dance classes for couples, followed by a social picnic. Class 11am-12pm followed by a social picnic 12-2pm.  More info here.

      Music with Cath - music sessions for children
      These sessions take place on Monday at 9.45-10.45am and also Wednesday 1.45-2.45. Contact Cath for more info - cathsmithson@live.com

      Tai Chi
      Takes place every Saturday and Wednesday morning in Rowntree Park - in the Friends Picnic Garden 9-10.30am.  For more information contact Richard - siwiaks@hotmail.com 

      Move the masses - wellbeing walks
      The second Tuesday of each month 1.30-2.30pm, you can join MTM for a free wellbeing walk around Rowntree Park. This is aimed older or less physically able people who want to get some fresh air, get moving and all with some good, friendly company. Meet under the cafe. For more info contact: libby@movethemasses.org.uk

      1st of October - Cancer Research Shine Walk. Starts and ends in Rowntree Park. Find out more here

      Would you like to run events in the park? Whether regular or a one off - contact Abigail to find out more - hello@rowntreepark.org.uk

      Key information regarding Rowntree Park.

      Quick summary:

      The council manage Rowntree Park.  That means they have overall responsibility.  Things like health and safety, toilets, opening/closing etc are down to them. The Friends of Rowntree Park do fund and maintain some areas of Rowntree Park (the areas we look after are on the website and signs in the park highlight most of them too). We also run a range of community events and projects, as well as overseeing bookings for the park. We also run wellbeing programmes that include volunteering and a range of sessions people can opt into, and we work with Green Social Prescribing services. We are the link between the community and the council.  We have 4 official open meetings a year where any members are welcome and a council link comes a long to answer questions and update us on things from the council view point.  Please note that the Tennis Club, and York Explore Café and Library are separate from the Friends and they operate their own areas and generate their own income Please contact them directly, if there are any questions about what they do. General park bookings/activities are organised by the Friends (in conjunction with Make it York/CYC). 


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