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Volunteers show park appreciation
2:00pm Saturday 28th July 2012 in News
SCORES of volunteers turned out to help improve their local parks as part of a community project this week.
Love Parks Week saw Oxford residents working on open spaces across the city with the assistance of skilled gardeners.
Founded by national parks charity GreenSpace in 2006, the scheme has been running for six years. It encourages people to take advantage of open spaces in activities such as installing fences and improving signage in countryside sites.
Love Parks Week began last Saturday and is due to run until tomorrow, providing people with a chance to develop new skills while enjoying fresh air and helping them to be more proud of where they live.
Volunteer co-ordinater Carl Whitehead, 49, from Witney, was hard at work this week at Spindlebury Park in Blackbird Leys.
He said: “It helps to give people the experience of working in the park environment.
“The aim is to help people achieve their own personal goals.
“We have a range of people, from those who just want to help, those who want to get back into work and have the experience, and even students in the more wilder areas who want to learn skills to back up their educational knowledge.
“I normally get between six and 12 volunteers on a Thursday, but all together there were around 70 to 80 in all of the parks.
“I also get single volunteers or a couple of people during the week.”
Oxford City Council already has 620 volunteers who help work on parks across the city.
They are part of 16 Friends of Parks groups, which aim to improve their area sthrough fundraising, removing shrubs, planting bulbs and holding events for the community.
Every Thursday, teams of conservation volunteers are out and about across the city, improving access along pathways and bridleways, installing fences and improving signage in countryside sites.
Love Parks Week aims to encourage other people to join them.
Councillor Mark Lygo, executive member for parks and sports, says: “We really appreciate the help and support from all of our volunteers, the Friends of Parks and local businesses that helps to make our parks such valuable assets to the city.”
More than one million people across the UK attended Love Parks Week events last year.
To find out about getting involved locally, contact the city council’s parks and open spaces team on parks@oxford .gov.uk or call 01865 252240.