In Feburary 2012 trust fund Lankelly Chase agreed to pay for a 3‑year project to help local residents participate in a variety of activities in St.James’ Park. The money is helping to pay for a part‑time Community Volunteer Coordinator whose role is to encourage people to get involved in volunteering and to set up training opportunities.
The project is a joint initiative between FoSJP and ParkLife, the Community Interest Company which runs the Park’s Café and Community Room. There are opportunities for people from all age groups to become involved in the Park, including joining the FoSJP Gardening Team, setting up sports activities, researching Shirley’s history, helping at Park events, and volunteering in the Café.
Rebecca Kinge, a volunteer for FoSJP and ParkLife, said:
“This money will make a real difference to what we can achieve. With a paid worker, we can get more people involved in our much-loved park. In particular we will be encouraging people who might need a bit of support, such as the long‑term unemployed, young people with few qualifications, or people with health issues, to help them develop their own confidence and skills.”
ParkLife opened its community‑owned café in July 2011 year as part of the Park’s major refurbishment. The Community Room in the café building offers a venue for clubs, educational courses, and young people’s drop‑ins. The Community Volunteer Coordinator will be encouraging local people to come up with ideas for activities and help get them up and running.
The grant also allows FoSJP to facilitate information and advice drop‑ins in the café building. FoSJP is looking for partner organisations with expertise in this area to help them deliver a first‑class service to people in the greatest need.