Monday 24 May 2010

It's good to have friends

I went to two events this weekend, in between the non-stop birthday parties our kids bring us along to.

The first was the BOSF AGM - an organisation I have a lot of time for. In time of political paralysis, so good to be in a room of people who really do get out there and make a difference (The Friends organisations of various Parks and Open Spaces, that is). Presentations, ranging from super corporate to less so from the increasingly confusing array of sub-contractors and other park related council folk, was followed by a very organised and amazingly active AGM (yes, meaningful decisions were really made in a room of over 30 people, many never met before, in under half an hour), lunch and time for Friends of all the various parks to mingle and chat.

A real achievement to get the Friends of Parks to spend time with the men with big lawnmowers. One contractor confessed he'd never known about the 'Friends' until fairly recently, but this forced marrage seems to be working.

An interesting scheme is also underway for groups to take over a shrubbery in a park. I can see potential for park spaces to be used by schools and community groups together in a very productive way - taking ownership of our Parks, which, lets face it, are the most used free leisure activity we have in Birmingham.

Next onto Martineau gardens - a real gem hidden away in Edgbaston. A pocket of exactly the kind of practice I'd love to see in all Parks. It is pretty well maintained, but what's great about it is the way so many people seem to be able to do exactly what they want and share it so easily. Photo is Arthur playing with friends outside the bird hide.

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