Friends of Blakers Park

 www.blakerspark.org.uk

Stroll through Blaker's Park on any afternoon and it is obvious how much the local community loves this Fiveways jewel. Since it was first donated to the public in 1894, for many living and growing up in the area, summertime has been marked and remembered by hot days spent in the park, making daisy chains, playing football and chatting on the grass.

With the more recently added valuable amenities of public toilets and a great little café,  the park now seems to cover all possible requirements considering its size, what with the dog-friendly areas, tennis courts, fenced recreational field, and playground. There's even the clock tower, donated by Sir John Blaker in 1896 to deprive local workers ‘of an excuse for being late'.

These days, the park is well established as an integral part of the community and is more inviting than ever - a valued and enjoyable resource for families and visitors of all ages.

The obvious and constant improvements to Blaker's Park over the last twenty years can largely be attributed to the care, effort and organization of the Friends of Blaker's Park, established in 1988 following unwelcome changes proposed by the council after the great storm caused damage to trees in October 1987.

This spurred two residents to get together to fight the proposals, and this alliance then became the Friends, who are currently celebrating two milestones - their twentieth anniversary and their fiftieth newsletter (although apparently in 1995 two issue number 9s were published, but nevertheless ...).

Now publishing four newsletters a year, and with over 250 official members, the Friends of Blaker's Park keep the community informed of local events, causes and projects, as well as holding an annual community picnic, a day of games, stalls and bouncy castles held every summer. Annual General Meetings, local-history talks and concerts are also held, and a book on the history of Blaker's Park has been produced. Vigilance in the preservation and maintenance of the park and its amenities ensures that vandalism and its effects are kept to a minimum, something that has been a problem in the past. Acting upon local feedback, and subsequently campaigning and liaising with Brighton Council, ensured that funds were found for repairs to the clock, the toilets and the café, and gardening and planting are carried out throughout the year by volunteers.

These are just a few of the aims and tasks undertaken by the Friends of Blaker's Park, organized and run by chairman Philip Smith and other committee members, all of whom are volunteers and willingly donate much time and effort throughout the year.

Anyone interested in volunteering, joining the committee or subscribing to the Friends of Blaker's Park should e-mail friends@blakerspark.org.uk.

Membership runs from 1 October each year and costs £3 (£1.50 concessions).

 

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