A local campaign has been launched to recruit volunteers to carry out gardening tasks at Albert Park after concerns were raised about the council’s ability to maintain it.
‘Salford Green Fingers’ was created by local resident, Mike Faulkner, after he approached Salford City Council concerned about some areas of the park that were not being fully maintained.
After a review, the park rangers identified tasks that the Council no longer plans to carry out, such as pruning, treatment of grass and shrub bed tidying.
Senior park ranger, Alistair Cook, said: “I think as an authority we recognise that we can’t get to the areas of ground maintenance in the park that once upon a time we used to. So, when Mike and other residents approached us about the park and their concerns about that, we responded to that.
“We want to try to bring some tender loving care to the park to raise that maintenance standard and get people to identify with the park and take more ownership of it and maybe counteract some of the misuses of the park that may be occurring.”
Salford Green Fingers are now looking for volunteers to aid with these tasks on a regular basis, creating a core volunteering group which can eventually be expanded on.
Mike says he is keen to get people to “take pride in the park”.
He said: “We are trying to get people interested in the local area and looking after the park and over a period of time we’ve noticed that through cut backs, the ground maintenance side of things- the actual cutting and pruning, has gone by the board a bit.
“I think people have got to get away from the idea of thinking that things will always be done for them, council wise, and that they’ve got to maybe chip in themselves.”
The social media campaign, led by Mike, has gotten over 40 responses so far.
Two taster sessions will be taking place on Tuesday 6th November and Saturday 10th November between 10am and 12pm at Albert Park for anyone interested in volunteering.
— Salford Greenfingers (@Sal4dGreenspace) October 18, 2018
If the turnout is successful, then a six-week block of weekly sessions may be organised later in November and December.
However, Mike believes the campaign goes beyond improving the park.
“It’s a great opportunity to improve mental health and can also be beneficial to those who are isolated and don’t get out enough.
“I don’t see how anyone wouldn’t want to be in the open air, you’ve got nature around you and it just uplifts you.”
The plans for the project are set to expand, with other partners such as neighbourhood management, local housing providers, health improvement teams and the NHS clinical commissioning groups planning to get on board.
Cook continued: “We’re hopeful that starting out in Albert park with grounds maintenance activities and also health related activities that could come from this- that this could grow. But, we want to walk before we can run and get a good, strong local response in Albert Park initially.”