The Friends Group was established in 2014 under the instigation of Cllr. Paul Baker. It is nonetheless a wholly non-political initiative.
Although Pittville Park, Imperial Gardens, Montpellier Gerdens, Naunton Park, Pilley Bridge Nature Reserve and some of the other green spaces in Cheltenham have such groups to support the Borough Council’s work in maintaining and developing their spaces, Sandford Park had none and so The Friends of Sandford Park was born.
The Group has a Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and a membership of 75.
We are very aware that the Borough Council, the Environment Agency, The General Hospital, the Lido Trust, the residents and businesses backing on to the Park, the vegetable garden group, St John’s Primary School and many others all have a stake in the way the Park is run and that their interests should be considered alongside all those who use the Park as a recreational space and thoroughfare.
We see ourselves as having three main roles:
1. in consultation with the Borough Council, users and friends. To advise in maintenance of the Park
2. to respond to ‘incidents’ as they occur and liaise with the appropriate authorities.
3. to consider and help implement long-term developments and initiatives. What might be done to give Sandford Park an identity and character and maintain that which it has, that might set it apart from other parks in the town? Should we be planting more specimen trees? Should we bre planning cultural events such as outdoor theatre, sculpture exhibitions or concerts? How should we be liaising with the Borough Council and Cheltenham Festivals to enhance the use of the Park.
Perhaps because no houses have frontage onto the Park, because it is a thoroughfare and because it is not in one of the grander showier areas of town, Sandford Park has always been appreciated but rarely favoured. if we can help enhance and manage the area, then we, the local community, can have a say in how an important local resource is being used.
Since establishment we have worked with Cheltenham Borough Council to
• Plan and realise provision of the pétanque courts.
• Help them gain a well-deserved 2019 Gold Award from the Britain in Bloom organisation for Sandford Park.
• Assist with monthly CBC Park Rangers to help maintain and supplement the Park planting.
• Liaise with the police, council officers and local politicians about Anti-Social Behaviour in the Park
• Organise litter picks in liaison with the Park Rangers
• Obtain grants or funding commitments for provision of new play equipment and sign boards
• Encourage the renovation of riverside railings
• Encourage the now promised new Park lavatory block.
• Support creation of the new LINC Sanctuary garden
• Liaise with the LIDO on matters of mutual interest.
• Support the publication of the Tree Walk brochure