Local Parks group, Friends of Ilkley Riverside Parks held their first Annual General Meeting as a Registered Charity and reflected on their progress since the group’s inception in the summer of 2018 and were praised for their work by the Ilkley Mayor and the local M.P.
“We are very proud of what we have achieved in only three years since we were formed”, said Chair, Ed Duguid. “It is all down to the volunteers who turn up every week, twice a week throughout the year and the voluntary Trustees who help organise its work, its funding and the relationship with a myriad of local organisation including Bradford Council and Ilkley Town Council. It was a great privilege to have the Town’s Mayor, Mark Stidworthy, and our Local M.P., Robbie Moore attend the AGM and acknowledge the work we do for our community”.
Mark Stidworthy said the group had made a real difference to the Parks which had been materially transformed by the group’s work. He also said that whilst the group had been rightly critical of both Bradford Council and the Town Council at times it had now become a Critical Friend whose opinions in relation to the Parks and its usage were much valued. Mark said the Town Council would continue to work in partnership with FOIRP and would support the valuable work they were doing.
Robbie Moore echoed the Mayors comments and said he had greatly enjoyed the short session in the summer he had spent with the volunteers. He was particularly impressed by the group’s engagement with Young People, and a number of pupils from the Ilkley Grammar school regularly attended sessions. He said he hoped to spend more time with the volunteers when he had a free moment. The volunteers now cover most age ranges and reflect the group’s desire to engage with all age groups.
Since it was set up by local volunteers in 2018 the group has:
- Substantially reduced the amount of litter in the parks through regular littler picking and a close liaison with the Council’s Parks Department which has seen more and better bins and more regular collections at peak times
- Improved various parts of the Parks’ infrastructure with new signage, refurbished benches, the trimming of paths as well as negotiating with Bradford Council for new ramps at East and West Holme Fiends and a new pathway into Riverside Gardens to assist those who have mobility issues
- Created new flowerbeds at the Memorial area in Riverside Gardens in 2021, following a refurbishment of the existing area in 2020. They have also refurbished the Raised Flowerbeds by the Riverside Hotel and all the benches in that area. They have also replanted the Riverside Gardens entrance area at Bridge Lane
- Developed a new Wildflower area on the south side of Riverside Gardens, starting a project which will take several years to mature
“And this is all in addition to the work of just keeping the parks tidy and looking good on an on-going basis,” said Ed, “and there are now plans in place for further improvements to the parks which have been agreed with Bradford Council.
- The full refurbishment of the Playground at Riverside Gardens which has been negotiated with the Council and for which FOIRP is coordinating fundraising. This is due to start in Spring next year
- The temporary refurbishment of the Skateboard in partnership with the pupils of Ilkley Grammar, and their eventual replacement with a brand new facility in few years’ time
- The eventual replacement of the Raised Beds at the Hotel with longer lasting stone flowerbeds, and
- The creation of new Petanque Courts, in partnership with the newly formed Ilkley & District Petanque Association, which will hopefully be in place by the Spring
“It’s been hard work over the last few years but we hope that local people and visitors alike will appreciate our work. We also know that without the help and support of both Councils, a variety of local organisations and of course local people we would not have been able to achieve as much as we have to date and into the future. We very much appreciate that support”, said Ed
If anyone would like a full copy of their Annual Report or would like to join as a member or become a volunteer they can contact the group at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also find Friends of Ilkley Riverside Parks on their Facebook and Instagram pages and on their Twitter feed where you will find lots of examples of their work and what’s happening in the riverside parks.