It may have been the hottest day of the year, but that didn’t stop a team of wonderful volunteers heading to the park at Belmont Open Space to finish the fence paint. It was a fantastic turnout, with some repeat offenders offering up their time again having been there a few weeks previously.
Most brought their children and a few brave souls brought their tiny brand new babies – the youngest recruits hoping to make a difference to a spot that could be a thriving grassy heart of the community. The kids painted, ran, swung, ate copious snacks and scraped their knees. All overlooked by the beautiful green.
The fence paint isn’t just to spruce up the woodwork and add some colour while we continue to work towards a new park. It’s also something that brings people together, gets them talking and invites some stares from the dog walkers wondering what the hell we’re all up to. Everyone I spoke to was so enthusiastic and warm, I very quickly felt like it was a group of friends hanging out.
As a west country girl new to the area, I fell in love with the view across the green as soon as I saw it. And as a mum of two energetic girls, I felt sad that the park was looking so tired and run down. When the FOBOS team welcomed me in, I really felt I could help galvanise some local mums and dads into action. The two Gemma’s who run this group with young children and demanding jobs are an inspiration to me – how does anyone find time to finish a cup of tea let alone attempt to regenerate a park? The energy of them, and people like Angie (fence painter extraordinaire) is infectious. The volunteers yesterday who went home with pink shoulders and covered in paint smatterings having given up their morning to help, are what the group is all about.
We are constantly being told to keep our children active and look after the environment, and here is a play park surrounded by rolling hills and trees. And yesterday it was filled with neighbours working together to improve it – the very definition of community. Here’s to the next get together and seeing what we can achieve.
By Nicola Roberts (FOBOS Volunteer)