Get involved: Send your news, views, pictures and video by texting SUPIC to 80360 or email us.
Winning park goes from strength to strength
11:27am Thursday 11th February 2010 in Community
By Dan Colombini and Stephanie Baxter
The Green Flag is flying high again in Poets Corner as Stoneham Park has been awarded it once more for the third year running for its community involvement, welcome factor and safety.
The annual Green Flag Award is handed out in recognition of the best parks and green spaces in the country.
Stoneham Park has gone from an overgrown recreation ground to the second most used park in Brighton and Hove and it currently houses a playground, football and basketball facilities, a community cafe and support centre.
Don Brown, who is Events Coordinator for the Poets Corner Community Society (PCCS), said: “Getting the award again is a big achievement. The park is more than just a green space, it’s a central community hub.”
Community events are also held in the park such as the summer festival and ‘Springwatch’, which encourages people to get involved in the park’s nature and upkeep, and takes place on April 3.
YMCA youth worker Hannah Fuller, who is very involved in the park, said: “The help centre, Talkshop, is the main reason for them winning the Green Flag because it helps out the community.”
She added: “In my youth, the park was very unsafe for children. Its transformation has made such an improvement to the community.”
Don Brown described the centre as an opening for people to get help and support where volunteers such as himself are available to give advice.
He said: “We don’t just throw out and ignore people involved in drugs and alcohol, but we work with the YMCA to help them.”
Stoneham Park was also one of the first to introduce the ParkSafe scheme that works to remove anti-social behaviour from parks.
Emmanuel Mikhail, who owns the local newsagent, said he noticed fewer social problems in the area since he arrived three years ago: “It’s more welcoming now and brings families together. All the kids come here to play after school”.
Lucy Pendred, mum of two who lives right by the park, called it a “life-saver for local parents. It caters for all ages and has a fantastic cafe.”
Don Brown praised the volunteers who have been the key to Stoneham Park’s success: “When people are willing to give up their time, it makes things happen. We need more volunteers to keep this all going.”
The PCCS encourages people to bring artistic events into the park, such as a drama or face-painting workshop, and they are happy to advertise any which do to the community.
If you would like to get involved in any way, please contact Don Brown on 07734791194 or by email to email@example.com.