Meeting to be held Friday, 7th April 2017
at 7.00 pm
Youth House, Bromsgrove Street, DY10 1PF
1. Apologies for absence
2. Matters arising from the minutes of the AGM 3rd March 2017
3. Family Fun Day, 22nd April 2017
Tree guard for Indian Bean tree
Prince’s Trust benches in shelter
Mural at Silver Street entrance
5. Any other business
At our AGM earlier this month we said farewell to Carol O'Brien and Rob Brown who have both stood down. Rob has been our treasurer for the last 5 years and Carol has been both Chair and Secretary in that time.
We cannot express enough our thanks to them both for their avid support.
It is down to their determination and vision that the LEAP Let's Eat the Park project is up and running and is well on the way to being self sustaining. Our FREE events held in the Park have gone from strength to strength thanks to their organisational skills and Rob has transformed the website and dedicated LEAP blogspot.
On behalf of us all we would like to thank them both and wish them well for the future.
Please note the Friends of St George's Park committee now consists of :
Chair : Nicky Griffiths,
Treasurer : Sue Bradley
Membership Secretary : Sue Tew
Secretary : Spike Betterton
The next meeting will be held on Friday, 7th April at 7.00 pm at The Youth House, Bromsgrove Street, Kidderminster, DY10 1PF. Please use side door.
All roles are up for election:
Chairperson : Someone who will : ● Act as the main contact and spokesperson for the group. ● Keep meetings fair, unbiased and on time. ● Be able to challenge group members (in a respectful way). ● Has some flexibility to attend extra meetings when needed.
Treasurer : Someone who will : ● Have the joint responsibility for maintaining a Treasurer’s Trust Account. ● Look after the deposit book and obtain at least two signatures from appointed members for all withdrawals. ● Keep receipts and a basic record of all income and expenditure of the account. ● Occasionally be able to visit the bank during normal working hours to make deposits and withdrawals.
Secretary : Someone who will : ● Be able to work closely with other members of the group towards the general running of the group. ● Undertake basic administrative tasks. ● Set meeting dates, record actions of the group and help with group publicity. ● Work with others to find funding.
Membership Secretary : Someone who will : ● Be responsible for keeping members informed with what’s going on. ● Maintain membership records. ● Suggest and possibly organise social events for the group. ● Promote the group to attract more members.
Vice Chairperson : Someone who will : ● Stand in when Chairperson is unavailable. ● Work with other members of the group and individually on various projects.
If you would like to put yourself forward, or to nominate another person from the group for one of the roles then see below. ( You must speak with them and get their permission first).
Deadline for nominations is midnight Wednesday 1st March 2017.
Please send details to firstname.lastname@example.org
St George’s Park - The ‘People’s Park’ - Since 1927
The Friends of St George's Park wish all park users, friends and supporters all the best for 2017 and thanks for your endorsement of what we have done and will do in the future. We welcome people becoming involved in the various projects and events we arrange in the park and would ask all interested parties to see our 'volunteering page' above.
We are pleased that the various branches of the local authorities involved have now agreed between themselves to continue to support our ever popular paddling pool, a small but significant contribution to the facilities of the area. It is a triumph when good sense prevails and we hope this bodes well for 2017 and the future of our park, our town and our locality.
Once again many thanks to all who have supported us in so many different ways over the past year. Happy New Year 2017!
Co-produced Health and Wellbeing in Kidderminster was Pioneered by the LEAP Project 2014-2016 and will be Facilitated by its Sustainable Successors into the Future!
The Friends group are delighted to announce that our application to the Skipton Building Society 'Grassroots Giving' fund has been successful. We also won this competition back in 2014, but this year we were one of only 5 winners in the West Midlands. For details of Grassroots Giving Winners and more about the scheme please see the *link below.
We are very grateful to everyone who voted for us making this yet another success in a long line of funding bids supporting Let's Eat the Park and making it a viable ongoing community project.
Obviously these things don't happen on their own and a lot of backroom work involving a small group of dedicated volunteers goes into keeping FoSGP projects going forward. LEAP work parties and our various annual events are the result of our dedicated belief in the aims of the project and the way members of the local community, from a wide range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, harvest the produce and supplement their family diets. If only the LEAP team themselves and the group of local volunteers ate the produce it would have been sucessful, but LEAP's focus on the thing that unites us all - food - is a simple message that is well understood by local people and by funders. I am therefore very pleased to report that of the funding bids I've made for LEAP during the past 3 years all have succeeded- LEAP has a 100% bidding record.
I view the LEAP project as one that bids for financial support and turns it into something useful, healthy and colourful in the park - a win-win situation as more and more produce supplements local diets and the urban orchard of fruit trees in St George's Park reaches maturity.
There is an old saying "you can't eat money" which is of course true but what we have done is taken financial capital and converted it into other forms of wealth of the sort sometimes called social capital or cultural capital. The funds allow the LEAP team to concieve of a project and complete it without needing to bid for every project we undertake for comparatively minor sums. LEAP cushion funding keeps the project very much autonomous and resident led and without any need of additional patronage.
The fact that all FoSGP events are FREE means that funds are converted from figures in a bank book to food on the table - the alchemy of making money usefully edible and turning pounds into pumpkins.
From the beginning LEAP has been received enthusiastically by just about everyone we've told about it, which has been a lot of people due to the various public engagement events LEAP volunteers have undertaken and where a lot of public interest has been shown.
The idea has been popular for its simplicy and its usefulness and it was conceived off the cuff as a funding bid deadline loomed, this is a well known situation for me as treasurer because FoSGP also raises funds for other events and activities in the park and at other venues, like the Youth House base of our partners - Kidderminster and District Youth Trust who very kindly provide us with accommodation and other forms of support.
There is also a permissive and cordial realtionship with our primary partner Wyre Forest District Council and especially Parks Department managers who attend our meetings, supply us with various materials and show enduring support and goodwill toward all of our projects.
LEAP is a model volunteer-led example of co-production, the way of working together between equal partners the government says all local authorities must address themselves to.
LEAP in the Wyre Forest and indeed in all of Worcestershire is leading the way on these important initiatives from a grassroots perspective, thereby ticking a lot of policymakers boxes for them along the previously uncharted way.
So once again, if you voted for us a very big thank you from me and from us all at FoSGP.
You have helped to maintain the foundation for sustainable improvement of green spaces like St George's Park and other LEAP sites around the Greenhill and Horsefair areas of Kidderminster.
We are particularly proud to be associated with the Skipton Building Society, a mutual society whose founding co-operating principles share a common purpose with LEAP, a community led initiative that has evolved by the hard work and dedication of all those involved. A mutual organisation is owned and run for the benefit of its members and unlike a bank or other financial institution, has no external shareholders to pay in the form of dividends and does not seek to make large profits or capital growth. Mutuals exist for their members who benefit from the services they provide. LEAP is a mutual in which the entire community and even visitors to the area are members, walking through a park gate confers instant membership in the little bit of town centre green space where no money is required (except when merchants and other local groups raise funds at one of our community free festivals).
Grassroots Giving funds are to celebrate the 163 years this year since the foundation of the Skipton Building Society and comprise of 163 pots of £500 - allocated nationwide, for which there were 750 applications this year. For a second time LEAP has demonstrated its wide pool of wellwishers and voters some well beyond our geographical boundaries, who have helped facilitate and reinforce our ongoing sustainability in the future.
Rob Brown - Treasurer FoSGP
Thanks Again For All of Your Support for Let's Eat the Park!
Work parties meet in St George's Park almost every Saturday morning come rain or shine. Over the past couple of weeks the LEAP team have continued to improve the environment and undertake various seasonal tasks. Work continues around the new RHS raised beds, Autumn activities keep the work parties busy but still time for some of us to have a go on the swings. There is no shortage of tasks and Winter works to be done, new or returning volunteers are always welcome, so why not meet us at the shelter at 10am most Saturday mornings and get involved in the project. As the pictures show even this late in the year flowers contine to add to the colour of our little urban green space, a stone's throw from the town centre.
Further to the four Royal Horticultural Society raised beds installed by the LEAP team earlier this year, the second phase of RHS Greening Great Britian was completed on 22 October.
The installation of these three beds will increase the growing capacity for edibles in St George's Park and is an outgrowth from the 2 year LEAP first stage of creating urban edible green spaces that was completed last June.
The LEAP team always welcome new volunteers as do the wider Friends of St George's Park and related projects including Horsefair & Proud; the longstanding Bird Box Scheme & Urban Wildlife Corridor; the campaign for the replacement of St George's Park Bandstand and the campaigns to Save St George's Park Paddling Pool and the BMX tracks, both of which are highly prized local community park-based resources now under threat from local authority cuts. In the midst of this uncertainty and sometimes doom-laded atmosphere beyond high profile projects like the refurbishment and upgrade of the historic 18th century weavers cottages in Horsefair - LEAP quietly goes about its business of making our urban green environment more edible and adding to the value of it. This is entirely due to the work of local volunteers taking the lead as individually they have done in other local campaigns and issues by simply getting on with the job in hand and as a group not engaging in the ongoing debates and intrigues.
So, all-in-all things are looking good for the future of Let's Eat the Park, even while disputes go on about which local authority is actually responsible for what local amenity. A local community which has literally pulled itself up by its own bootlaces, irrespective of the ongoing debates about parks and what they mean to us all in Britain today, the Friends of St George's Park (FoSGP) in existence since 2008, has a self-starter mentality not dependent upon patronage, but always grateful for sponsorship by those able to see our real significance and LEAP's sustainable implications for grassroots communities in post-Austerity England.
If any readers of this site are interested in getting involved with LEAP or any of the projects supported by FoSGP, please contact us via the website, email or social media or come along to a meeting or work party in the park. Work parties most Saturday mornings in St George's Park from 10am Next Meeting Friday 4 November at the Youth House, Bromsgrove Street, Kidderminster. All interested parties always most welcome, light refreshments are available at meetings and work parties.
Let me take you down to St George's park where this week's work party planted more strawberries, an ever popular LEAP crop, adding to the existing Strawberry Wall and also the Strawberry Stones, no newspaper taxis were required.
In Asian folklore the strawberry is known as the Queen of Fruits, worldwide there are more than 600 varieties of strawberries that greatly differ in flavour, size and texture. Strawberries are not actually classified as berries. Blueberries and raspberries have seeds inside while strawberries have their seeds outside.
During the 12th century German Benedictine abbess, mystic, writer, composer, philosopher, visionary, and polymath Saint Hildegard von Binger (a.k.a. Sybil of the Rhine) declared strawberries unfit for consumption because they grew along the ground where snakes and toads most likely crawled upon them. Hildegard is famous for her dietary advice but actually was relaying much older warnings about picking strawberries which were also widely regarded as an aphrodisiac.
Roman poet Virgil, (70 to 19 BCE), author of the Aeneid, warns children picking wild strawberries to beware of serpents lurking in the grass. The Romans never cultivated strawberries but wild fruit was popular with children as our own ones in the park are today. This rather unfortunate 'snake in the grass' reputation strawberries had for centuries is well embedded in European folklore making them a latter day forbidden fruit equivalent. In 1560, Bruyerin-Champier, physician to King Henry IV, wrote that the English ladies enjoyed their strawberries and cream so much they began planting the strawberries in their own gardens.This seems to be one of the earliest references to cultivating starwberries in England. In the park we have both wild and cultivated varieties of strawberry, indeed the LEAP team removed and replanted some wild ones to replace them with a more productive larger fruit cultivated variety on both the Strawberry wall and obelisk.
In the course of history the humble strawberry made the transition from dangerous fruit to one mostly fit for women. Thomas Tusser the Essex farmer/poet, who wrote Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry in 1557, where he suggested growing strawberries is an appropriate "employment of women," composed the following poem to emphasise the point:-
Wife, into the garden and set me a plot
With strawberry roots, the best to be got.
Such growing abroad among thorns in the wood,
Well chosen and picked, prove excellent good.
Because of their bright red colours and heart shapes, strawberries were the symbol for Venus, the Goddess of Love in much European folklore. This was not always a good thing. For example Henry VIII's second wife, Ann Boleyn, was thought to have been a witch because she had a strawberry shaped birthmark on her neck.
Until 1538, the Anglo Saxon spelling streoberie was used. The strawberry's name went through many evolutions including streowberige, strea berige, streaw berian wisan, streabergen, streberi leif, streberewyse, straberry, streberie, straibery, and straubery. So you can still enjoy these wonderful fruit even if you can't spell their name. In medieval times, strawberries symbolized righteousness so stone masons applied their carved strawberry signs onto altars and at the tops of pillars in churches and in cathedrals. See if you can spot one.
Nutritionally strawberries are superfoods, 5 medium-sized strawberries will supply your minimum RDA of Vitamin A and includes the following nutritional benefits:
1 g. protein
0.5 g fat
10 g. carbohydrates
3 g. fiber
0.6 mg iron
1 mg sodium
20.2 mg calcium
30 mg phosphate
39 IU Vitamin A
0.03 mg thiamine
0.10 mg riboflavin
81.6 mg Vitamin C
239 mg potassium
0.02 mg zinc
14.4 mg magnesium
0.09 mg Vitamin B6
25.5 mcg folacin
Like all the LEAP produce strawberries are abundantly available in season to those wanting to pick this magical if controversial fruit and benefit from the health bomb they provide. Work parties are open to all interested parties, the Friends group warmly welcome all new and old community gardeners to make our urban green spaces edible and other community gardening tasks. We meet most Saturday mornings in St George's Park at 10am and can be spotted in our hi-viz yellow LEAP vests - if you can why not come and say hello to us?
So if you can't make it to Wimbledon this year don't worry there will be free strawberries a-plenty in St George's Park where there is also a tennis court, all you'll need to bring is the cream and the job's a good 'un.
Friends of St George's Park
We are an active community group that is committed to working with others in order to further develop and improve St George's Park in Kidderminster for all of the community to enjoy.
Tell people about us
We welcome different ideas and opinions on how to improve our park and we hope you will share yours with us. Please remember this is a community based website and whilst we will not censor different opinions we will remove any posts that are offensive or abusive.