Alan has lived near the park and visited with his children and now grandchildren. He has volunteered for the last 7 years in particular pets corner. He talks about the lifesaving properties of the park especially during the pandemic.

His favourite areas are pets corner and allotments and how the park adapts with the seasons.

Problems he highlights includes the maintenance - that is something that could be worked on in partnership with whoever is respsonsible for the park

Improvements would include the installing the pumps to get the water moving through that water feature... and a pump track for the skateboards and bmx etc would be a fantastic addition for local youngsters.

Park is integral to his life and vital to the area and serves the community well.

right. I'm here with Andy today. And, um, Andy, would you like to tell us what your connection is with? Yeah, I've been coming to Longford Park for a long time. I first came, um, 45 years ago, one of my tutors lived locally, and I got to know the park then, But, uh, me and my wife and our family moved to that house, Um, in 1994 we've been really using it a lot since then

So friends of the park and other links, Yeah. So you live in a road near the park? Yeah. Yeah, our son and daughter

And we spent a long time in the park with them. And now they both have two Children each, our grandchildren, and they live very close by. So we spend a great deal of time in the park with them

My mom lives not far away. Um, so I bring her sometimes push around in the wheelchair, so it's a multigenerational place that we really like. And so, um, as well as bringing the family, you're a volunteer in the park as well

How long have you been volunteering? Volunteering? I think that might be about seven or eight years, um, in various guises, doing some parts of linking in with friends of Longford Park. But most of my volunteering has been with Sue in Pets Corner. Sue was integral to taking over pets corner with a group of volunteers

It must be about seven or eight years ago, and we've done at least one shift a week since then, looking after the animals to make sure that it stays open. Uh, particularly for local Children to enjoy. And, um So, uh, which parts of the park would you say you use as a particular area? I actually use all of it, Um, when I'm with the kids, that tends to be Senior Playground, a junior playground for the younger grandchildren

But use, um, mentioned pets corner. But I like the wooded area, the ornamental gardens, but also the open field. The joining Rye Bank Field and the disc Golf, um, has been much enhanced since it became a disc golf area

So there's really a lot you know, every part of the park is used. Um, I sometimes bring my daughter's dog in and make sure that I go sort of on the perimeter of the park, so it depends what I'm coming for, but use use every part of it, and it's great. And, um, can you say that the pandemic had any impact on how often you use the well? I probably used it so frequently, um, it it

But even so, it probably did increase the frequency a bit because we did some home schooling with our youngest two grandchildren, and I always walked back and forth through the park before and after the home schooling and tried to use some of the amenities and the natural education facilities that it that it offers as well. So even though we're sort of frequent users, it probably did increase. And I did notice, uh, an increase generally for people when it became a sort of A had a bit of a life saving lung when people were otherwise confined to home

And, um, have you got a favourite feature in the park? I mean, that's difficult to say. Um, I suppose it would be pets corner I've and I've failed to mention before the the the community allotment working in there quite a lot. I do that a bit less now, so I do like the community allotment

That was John Rylands Kitchen Garden. And I do like, um, pets corner. But, uh, there's something in the car and it's sort of season by season that really lends, you know, a nice something visually, very nice, almost all the year round, So hard to choose a favourite, like it the whole area

And would you say that there are any problems or difficulties in the park that you feel need to be resolved? Um, I think sometimes the maintenance of the park could be a little bit improved, but I don't see it as a difficulty. I see it as something that we can work on in partnership. And, uh, you know, whoever has the vision for the next use of the park, Um, I think that'll all be good

The history is very good. I'm sure the future will be. And if there was some funding available to do any sort of technical work or to improve the park in any way, what sort of thing do you think needs to be improved or something that would make the park the space for people to visit? There's sort of two things there

One's historical and one's more future looking. There was a a very nice water channel through the ornamental gardens and one there if that could ever be revived and the pumps installed to make that moving water that I really like that. But also in the wide open space, um, adjoining the, um, Longford running track that field the idea of a pump track for BMX and scooters and skateboards

I'd really love to see that happen. Um, because I know my grandkids would use that, and, uh, I think it's would be a great community facility. Is there any other comments you'd like to make about the park? The park is very well, Yes, I would like to make the comment to summarise, and it's probably clear from what I've said that it's integral to our life locally and, uh, across the generations

And it's a vital space for this area and serves a great community function and look forward to see what the future might bring. Because the history is great, and I'm sure the future will be.

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