Ten years ago the Friends of Parkinson’s Park was formed. November 2011 saw the start of the Park’s regeneration; a collaboration between Bellway Homes and an embryonic Friends Of Parkinson’s Park (FOPP); whilst February 2012 saw our first public meeting . 2012 was the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympic Games; a time of celebration and joy that gave us a lot of impetus to create a community asset for the people of Aireborough – not to mention the opportunity for Jubilee related grants for improvement.
Ten years later, we are still here; now registered as a Community Interest Company who work to raise money for Park improvements and organize community events. The Park itself has been officially recognized as part of the Leeds Green Infrastructure in the Local Plan, and is listed as both a Community Park for wellbeing, and a Natural Space where ecology is important. This meant than when the pandemic struck in 2020 the Park was there as a crucial sanctuary for many residents.
Our 10th anniversary year of 2022, will see the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham plus the Winter Olympics in Beijing and the Football World Cup. We will be having events and ‘crafts’ that celebrate these occasions as well as the Festival of British creativity and innovation announced by Prime Minister Teresa May in 2018 and now called Unboxed.
On top of this will be our usual Aireborough events including the Children’s Gala and Lantern Parade – in addition we will be collaborating with and supporting the Leeds 2023, Yarns Well Spun creative project run by Abi James, and Good Grief Guiseley.
Improvement work on features and facilities will continue with the help of grants from various organizations and a growing band of Friends (watch out for announcements and calls for help) whilst we are delighted that the Co-op has chosen our Willow Walk project as one of their local causes for 2022. Incredible Edible Aireborough will be looking after the herb planter; we hope to plant more trees in Crooklands Orchard; and Greenshaw Wood and the wildflower areas will continue to grow.
Over the last decade we have had help and support from innumerable people; resident, councillors and organizations. We have had sponsorship from a number of businesses and collaborated with many local and regional organizations from Guiseley Brass Band to the Orchard Project and Open Country. Through all this time, the core FOPP team has stayed more or less the same.
Will we be here in another 10 years time? We hope that FOPP will last that long – but the most important legacy is the Park itself which was founded by the Parkinson brothers in the mid 20th century and given to the people of Guiseley. This is what we so nearly lost at the start of the millennium and which has been core reason for being.
We hope you continue to enjoy the Park in 2022.