Tell me about what you do?
Originally we were set up as a support group in order to put forward a lottery bid to restore Dartmouth Park. This was 6 years ago now and the restoration is nearly complete.
After we supported the council in this project we began to run a variety of events within the park. This was in order to enhance community spirit, promote the aesthetic value of the park and attract new members. Currently, we have over 200 members. Importantly, we also work up with a number of schools to educate the children on the park and encourage them to look after it.
What is your proudest achievement?
Our proudest achievement to date would be the sensory gardens we have created within the park. It is now in its third year and is sustained by 13 generous volunteers. We meet once a week in order to maintain and finance the gardens which bring a key attraction to the area. Of course we are also very proud of what we have achieved in restoring the park whilst working in partnership with the council.
Tell me about any experiences you have had with SCVO?
I always tell people to join SCVO. They are very helpful and strongly supported our organisation when we were first setting up. SCVO began by helping us with funding opportunities and setting up as an organisation. In addition to this, I really enjoyed the conference they held at The Bethel Centre.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt from working with people in Sandwell?
From working with the people of Sandwell we have learn that they are very supportive of what we do. They are very willing to help our and are more than happy to volunteer. A lot of people out there are doing very good work and volunteering.
What are your plans for the future? Any challenges you face?
In the future we aim to continue to provide the community with events which they thoroughly enjoy. At the moment our spring event is on the 16th May and we look forward to a vast number of visitors to Dartmouth Park. The only issue we face is funding, the same as every other small organisation. These events are a lovely way to bring the community together but they are very expensive to achieve.
How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
SCVO could certainly help us by improving their database for funding and organisations. It is very time consuming and can be very confusing for people to use. As a result, I rarely use this anymore as it is very difficult to find what I am looking for.
In addition to this, funding is very difficult at the moment. Therefore, finding these opportunities for us would be another way SCVO could support us at Friends of Dartmouth Park.
For more information please contact 0121 588 4747 or visit http://www.friendsofdartmouthpark.org.uk