Southend Park Watch Scheme.
A Borough wide scheme covering all parks, recreation grounds, public gardens, open spaces and cemeteries was launched during 2005. The Southend Park Watch scheme works in much the same way as conventional Neighbourhood Watch with park users and visitors to the cemeteries being asked to be aware of crime and anti-social behaviour issues and to be aware of any such behaviour to the police. A website has been set up at www.southendparkwatch.org.uk
A quarterly meeting is held at Southend Civic Centre where users and other interested parties can meet to discuss issues and to establish possible strategies to address wrongdoing etc. Each meeting includes an open forum when the parks officers and police can engage with park users etc on matters that affect specific locations.
In addition to the quarterly meetings, three dedicated parks management groups meet to discuss the ongoing projects at Bournes Green Park, Priory Park and Southchurch Park East. These dedicated groups are engaged with their specific park as follows. These projects have the full backing of Southend Borough Council
Bournes Green Park
A survey has been undertaken amongst young park users to establish their recreational needs. Three main issues emerged from the survey. These were:
- A wheeled sports facility
- Better play equipment for young park users
- A meeting place
A successful bid was made to Cory Environmental Trust who will be funding a wheeled sports facility at this park. It is anticipated that the new facility will be open in time for the 2009 school summer holidays.
From 18th January 2008 a Chill Out Club was launched at Whittingham Avenue Methodist Church and actively supported by the local Neighbourhood Policing Team. It is open on Friday evenings from 6 pm to 8 pm and caters for youngsters up to the age of 14. Various play equipment has been provided including a football table, computer games etc. Soft drinks will be available. Following on from a pilot scheme, it was decided that the club should be made permanent and the Worshipful Mayor of Southend, Councillor Gwen Horrigan, officially opened it on Friday 12th September 2008. Once the wheeled sports facility is up and running, there are plans to open up the church for youngsters using that, the idea being that they can obtain soft drinks etc.
Southchurch Park East
Following the highly successful Park It event that was held on 14th July 2007, it was decided to establish a wildlife conservation area in the southeastern corner of Southchurch Park East. Funding for the project has been received from the Cory Environmental Trust. A consultation process has been undertaken with adult park users and youngsters from the local schools.
Following feedback from these users it has been decided to create a wildlife meadow, plant whips along the edge of the brook and create a wildlife habitat in a small copse on the site. Phase one, which involved the removal of three truckloads of dumped rubbish from the copse, took place on two Saturdays in November. At this stage wildlife log piles were also established. Phase two involved wildflower planting and the setting up of nesting boxes within the copse. Within a very short space of time a family of Blue Tits occupied at least one box.
The local primary school, Thorpe Greenways has been involved in a tree-planting day. In total 600 whips will be planted that will attract wildlife including birds and invertebrates. The wildflower area will be extended during Saturday 14th March 2009.
A management committee comprising park users, representatives from South Essex Homes; the SMAART team; representatives from the Youth Council; police; Neighbourhood Watch; Southend Parks Department; sports club representatives; representatives from local schools; Connexions; Southend Childrens Fund; and the Youth Offending Service.
Park users, both young and old have been surveyed to identify the needs of teenagers using the park. At the time of writing (December 08) bids are being written to hopefully fund the project, the projected cost of which is around £250,000
Would you like to get involved? Then contact:
The Southend Park Watch Co-ordinator:
Mick Holland e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or use the ‘contact us’ facility on the website www.southendparkwatch.org.uk Telephone: 01702 464199
Mailing address: Neighbourhood Watch, Police Station, Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, SS2 6ES