One of the hallmarks of the Friends of St George's Park is that we do stuff for free, there are no monetary transactions between us and the general public. We fundraise to support our projects and we will be shortly announcing a new direction for Let's Eat the Park (LEAP) which the Committee have worked hard to deliver over the past few months. More on that soon.
We plant food to share in the park with the aim of reducing hunger in our area and as a resident led group, we try to complement local food banks and Kidderminster Transition 'gleaning' activities as part of a wider free food network. Over the past couple of years we have made a lot of progress with LEAP involving local resident activists and volunteers in pretty well weekly work parties. It is now one of the most successful community-led projects in the West Midlands and possibly beyond that.
This Saturday the focus will be more on play than work, because this is a special day for St George's Park. This is the first time since the Friends group became an entirely resident-led affair that St George's Day 23 April, falls on a Saturday. There will be some financial transactions taking place in the park, mostly in the form of donations to table top stalls and various 'good causes' and of course charges at the food outlets - but the Friends group make no charges to the stallholders either, like everything else we do the event is completely free of charge.
As a small team of volunteers we have this year organised a visit from Herefordshire's Museum on the Move, Kidderminster Library staff will be telling stories for younger visitors, there will be a scout band, and also music from the fabulous Karpet Kickers our home grown rock 'n' rollers (to be recorded live by BBC Hereford and Worcester Introducing programme this Sunday at the Boars Head, Kidderminster) with supporting band Unknown First getting things moving.
Miraculously we find we always have sufficient funds to continue developing most of our projects which in no short measure is because we provide everything free, so we enter into good relationships with a wide network of people and organisations - local, regional and national. Its all going along quite nicely due to determined fundraising and a lot of local horse trading which seems apt since the park is in the Horsefair area of the town.
While we certainly could not call the edibles grown in the park (and other LEAP locations) 'organic' - we can assure all food harvesters that everything we grow is entirely chemical free. One of the reasons work parties came into existence was to weed the park and keep it tidy after our partners Wyre Forest District Council agreed to our request to stop the use of chemical herbicides in the park in 2012.
We really hope you enjoy this festival of free entertainment, magic, discovery and imagination we have conjured up on 23 April, which incidentally is also the 400th anniversary of the death of fellow West Midlander- the great bard himself -William Shakespeare.
Ian Craigan of Puppet Tree has marked the event with carefully interwoven stories from Shakespeare into his brilliant one-man Mummer Play St George and the Dragon - not to be missed, a very popular feature of our St George's Day events over the past few years, we welcome Ian's return to the park again this year.
Meanwhile up on the top field there will be a Viking encampment and battleground where you can discover more about life and death in this area 1000 years ago. The Svartland Vikings will guide you into an ancient world of arts, crafts and conflicts. There's no time like the past as the saying goes.
St George's church volunteers will be providing craft activities for children in the park again this year and just across Radford Avenue, at the church itself - there is a craft fayre and coffee shop - where park visitors can relax for a while in attractive and comfortable surroundings to enjoy a hot drink and a cake for a donation.
We look forward to seeing you all at the park between 12 midday and 4pm on Saturday 23 April and will do all we can for you to have a great time in St George's Park, the People's Park - since 1927. Fingers crossed for the weather! All welcome!