Park group gets new lease of life

Friends of Withy Grove member Rachael Hesketh with Meg the dog.
Friends of Withy Grove member Rachael Hesketh with Meg the dog.

A dwindling community group has been given a fresh start thanks to the efforts of a dog walker.

The Friends of Withy Grove Park was established five years ago but was supported by just one resident - Rachael Hesketh - a South Ribble Council worker.

Now, after the group meeting was changed to a weekend, it is enjoying a surge in members.

Rachael said: “It became clear that the Wednesday morning meeting was causing some issues for people to attend so we asked the council to help support a weekend group.

“We just wanted to make the park accessible to everyone, to clean it up a bit and people have started making comments on the improvements we have made.”

The Friends of Withy Grove have taken part in additional pathway improvements, laid bark and mulch in some areas and have a range of other activities planned for the future.

The council undertook major improvements to the play area in Bamber Bridge in 2007, complemented by new pathways, parking, benches and football pitches installed over the last two years.

Rachael said: “We’ve successfully applied for £500 of funding through the Community Food Growing scheme, to get some fruit trees planted to add to the existing orchard,” said Rachael, “and we’re hoping to do some planting for a wildflower meadow at some point as well.”

Coun Peter Mullineaux, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and street scene at the council, said: “It is encouraging to find that communities are still pulling together and volunteering to improve their local areas, despite the increasing pressures of life.

“As a council we will always try to support community groups and work in partnership with them to improve their neighbourhoods.

“It often just takes one person to get the ball rolling, which is true in this case and I commend Rachael and the rest of the group for the hard work and dedication they have shown over the last few months.”

The Friends of Withy Grove Park meet on the car park off Withy Trees Grove on the third Saturday of each month from 10am. New members are always welcome.

For more information contact the council 01772 421491.