Park Life

Letter From IFOSP

This was sent from America but didn’t make it to the Free Press this week. Noelle (New Jersey) explains herself.

“I’m writing on behalf of our group, International Friends of Sandall Park. (IFoSP)

Our back story, we are a group friends who met on Twitter because of our love and respect for Louis Tomlinson. Louis is proud of his roots and always talks about his wonderful memories of growing up in Doncaster.

We first came across the FoSP account when we were researching the history of Doncaster. We read about the story of their handicapped accessible playground. The volunteers helped to raise almost 15k to cover the costs. We’ve followed their account ever since. Over the past year We’ve watched so many projects, programs and community events being held at the park. We were amazed by the strong support of all the Volunteers.

In March of 2019 our IFoSP group was formed. We are five women; Noelle, Kimberly, Amanda (All American), Tabitha – Australia, Ester – Netherlands. We wanted to plant a tree in Louis’ hometown to help us channel our grief into something positive. We were so honored and moved when Sandra surprised us by purchasing a cherry blossom tree on her own, for us. The volunteers took great care in planting it in The Quiet Garden of the park. Our group decided that we wanted to continue with supporting the efforts of the park and its volunteers. We have purchased five additional cherry blossom trees that are now planted, by the volunteers, surrounding the original tree. We decided it would be a lovely way to honor our loved ones that have passed. We all plan to visit Doncaster, not only to spend tourism dollars but to visit Sandall Park and our trees. One of our members has already been welcomed with open arms when she made the journey a couple months ago, another will be visiting in May of this year.

The Quiet Garden is a place to promote and support mental health awareness. The volunteers have transformed the space into a beautiful place for reflection. Volunteers built an archway leading into the garden and planted wisteria around it. Benches were also built by the volunteers.

We were saddened to hear that Sandra and Don had resigned from their positions at FoSP. We stand behind them in their decision due to the unfortunate, continued delays in the final ‘go ahead’ approval from council for the new cafe.

We sit with a heavy heart wondering what the future will hold for the park that has been so beautifully cared for and improved out of the love and dedication of its volunteers. If the FoSP group is dissolved, where does that leave one of Doncaster’s largest all inclusive parks? Who will put all the love and care into maintaining and preserving the fifteen years the volunteers put into the park? We hope there is a positive outcome for the future of FoSP and the community”.

Footnote: Noelle designed our “Love Grows Here” logo for the Quiet Garden.

Junior Rangers to Carry On………

Neil Marshall and the Safer Communities Team very kindly offered to take over the supervision of the FoSP Junior Rangers which is brilliant! It means no matter what happens with FoSP, the Rangers Scheme will continue and to be honest, be better run than what we could manage with limited staff. Thank you Neil and Jo for taking this on.

Junior Rangers are excellent volunteers and a great addition to the park .

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Message From The Chairman

Hi all, Just to keep everyone informed as to what is happening with FoSP – I have resigned as Chairman and resigned from the group, as has my ‘bag carrier’ as he calls himself (otherwise known as FoSP Comms Manager and Crime Reduction Advisor), Don.

It was an emotional AGM with much discussion as to how the group should progress. It was decided to ‘hibernate’ the group until the February meeting and make a decision then as to whether the group should continue or fold.

We have had 15 fabulous years working with a great team of volunteers, and great teams of DMBC staff at a local level.
At this stage, it is unlikely that the (free) Easter Eggstravangza – a major event that attracts thousands and is firmly on the Easter calendar, will go ahead.

We will be making a decision in February as to whether the group (and charity) continues or folds. We thank you all for the support you have given us over the last 15 years. We couldn’t have achieved what we have without you.

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Chairman’s Christmas Message

This year has been a busy year for the Friends of Sandall Park and the FoSP Junior Rangers.

We now have an amazing 26 Rangers registered with us – a fantastic number! Lots of little helpers (and subsequently their families) to keep the park looking nice. I’m sure you’ll have all noticed just how nice the park is looking at the moment – albeit winter dormant.
A major success for us this year was the development of the Quiet Garden to promote Mental Health Awareness and provide a nice quiet place for people to visit and sit awhile. Numerous trees have been donated in memory of loved ones for the garden.
As a direct result of this we acquired supporters from across the globe (they follow all things Doncaster as they are a Louis Tomlinson fan club), and five of them each donated a tree for the garden. They have become so involved with our group that they formed their own group – International Friends of Sandall Park (iFoSP). One of the ladies even visited Doncaster from America recently – just to visit her tree.
We also forged a partnership with Kingthorne Group Practice to raise awareness of Mental Health issues and had numerous events in the Quiet Garden to promote this.
This year we have planted numerous trees and shrubs and hundreds of bulbs throughout the park. There’s been constant litter picks by our group and members of the public. We had the Litter Poster competition organised by Junior Rangers which resulted in the council professionally printing the winning designs. Well done to all who took part!
Two Rangers made a fabulous video for our funding application for a Dog Paws Park though we haven’t been able to use this yet. We’re still waiting for the go ahead from the council, but it’s still on the agenda – thank you to all who completed surveys for the project.
The café development is ongoing and we very much hope the park will have a new facility in 2020 – the success and future of the park for future generations depends on it.
Through the hard work of the council, the FoSP and you, the public, the Park has been awarded the Prestigious Green Flag Award for a third year. This is evidence of the park being a quality family friendly place to spend leisure time, and arguably Doncaster’s Premier Park (we think so anyway!).
Although we do a lot in the park, our group is generally ‘feeling the strain’ with members suffering with illness and infirmity and yes – old age! Subsequently we had to withdraw from putting on the Santa Dash, it’s a major undertaking to organise this. Thankfully, Curlys Athletes stepped up to the plate and ensured its continuity.
If you can, try to spend some time in the park and get some fresh air and exercise through the winter – it’s there for everyone to benefit. And don’t forget the parkrun on Christmas Day – a perfect way to get that feel good factor!
On that note I want to thank you all for your continued support and wish you all a Peaceful, Happy Christmas, a Healthy and Happy 2020 and I look forward to seeing you in the park next year.

Sandra Crabtree
Chairman FoSP