Who are the VYFWBP?

We are a friendly community group, run by parents, who meet every Thursday morning in West Bank Park, York. Whatever the weather, school hols included, we spend a couple of hours in the woods and meadows of the Park, doing nature games and crafts, building or making things with materials we find, telling stories and singing songs.

We are open to all - with a contribution of £1 a family (to cover basic equipment) - so if you want to join us, see you on Thursday at 10am at the statue of Queen Victoria, at the top of the Rose Walk. (Bring something simple to share at snack time.)

For more information contact Elly at: westbankparkkids@gmail.com

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Movers and shakers

Snow, ice and fog....but we battle on! There hasn't been a week with fewer than three families turning up to the group, which considering the weather we've been having is a true marvel. And more than that, we have been getting involved in the future of our dearly beloved park.

Today we met with Brian Williams, the council's 'Playgrounds Czar', to discuss the princely sum of £3000 of Ward Committee funding that we have received to improve the little children's playground. Many, many ideas were generated - treehouses, tunnels, dens/wendy houses, bird hides, obstacle courses, additional carriage for the 'bus', roundabout, 'bark pit' with pulley system....Brian was very helpful and will be supplying us with some costings and further ideas. And some group members are keen to investigate the possibility of matched funding, which would of course be fantastic! One very popular option was a sort of obstacle course made of logs and chains, meandering through the trees, possibly including a tunnel. Exciting stuff.

This winter has also seen rumblings in the council over budget cuts, and a threat to the Park Rangers team, including Stephen Whittaker who supports all volunteers and staff at West Bank Park. We had our very first 'Very Young Friends' demo - well, sort of - it was more of a friendly photo-opp with brightly coloured banners - and we couldn't even hold it in the park because of ice. But whether or not we had anything to do with it, the axe has been removed from the Rangers' heads and they are safe for another year at least. Everyone was extremely relieved to hear this - the Rangers keep the Parks developing, alive, hubs of their community - they organise events and educational work in the Park - they develop the parks' ecology, their playgrounds, they attract funding...

Personally, I was delighted that the children who got involved in this mini-political campaign, including my own, had the positive experience that their voices can be listened to.

On a quieter note, we have been doing the usual digging for worms, building fairy houses, and roaming through the woods. And lots and lots of singing!!! The children in the group at the minute are passionate singers.

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Our beloved Queen Victoria

Our beloved Queen Victoria
We sometimes bow to her before we set off into the woods!