You never know where a friendly chat might lead to. After a conversation over a garden wall between a local resident Kat Smith and the treasurer of Christchurch Freemantle, Will Green, the church agreed to donate £5000 towards play equipment for Freemantle Lake Park in Southampton.
Friends of Freemantle lake Park have been working with their ward councillors over the last two years to improve the park. The park is often waterlogged, making most of the area impossible for play. The first phase of the development has seen new pathways being installed, linking up existing play equipment.
The Friends group is made up of a number of local volunteers who give up their free time to help improve the park. As well as running community events, which have been really well attended, other improvements have consisted of new signs fitted to all three entrances to the park, noticeboards installed, wildlife information and nursery rhyme boards added and recently the addition of four new picnic benches.
“This donation from the church has been overwhelming especially in such difficult times,” said committee member Becky Fielder. “We have had to cancel a number of our fundraising events this year leaving us short of our target, so the donation was a massive boost.”
The Friends group aim to raise £17,000, which will play for new play equipment. So far, fundraising efforts have seen the group raise £7,900.
Committee member Charlotte Ndupuechi added that the group has contacted Southampton City Council to seek match funding. She said: “This is a wonderful green space in the heart of Freemantle. It’s well used by local people, especially in recent months, when it has seen the number of visitors grow, as people look for local spaces to exercise in. I think more than ever we realise how important our local spaces are. The Friends Team has worked so hard over the years and we are really hoping the council can help us to achieve our goals.”
* The group has created a fundraising pack with information on how you can help. If you are a local business and would like details, email firstname.lastname@example.org