Volunteers are being recruited to provide a welcoming and friendly presence at Hanley Park – as work continues on a landmark £6 million restoration at the historic venue.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council is looking to recruit volunteer park rangers who will walk around the Victorian park during daylight hours on weekends, and then in the week as volunteer numbers increase.
The Voluntary Community Park Rangers (VCPR) would go out in groups and provide a point of contact for visitors, offering information on facilities, activities and directions as well as carrying out general duties.
Cllr Anthony Munday, cabinet member for greener city, development and leisure, said: “The restoration work at the park is really moving forward and we’re currently on track for everything to be finished by this time next year. When it’s completed, the park will look fantastic and be a place where people of all ages can come together and enjoy a wide range of activities.
“As well as the physical restoration, we’re also working on ways to encourage increased use of the park, particularly through engaging with the local community, schools and volunteers. We’re looking at a range of initiatives and one of them is having volunteer park rangers, something which works well in parks across the country.
“Not only would they provide a visible and friendly presence, they would be approachable, knowledgeable, and help with any questions or issues visitors have. They would work in a similar way to the Street Chaplains we have in the city centre in the evening, and we’re planning to speak to that group to find out more about their successful model. This is a great opportunity for people to learn new skills, meet new people and get involved in a really high-profile restoration project for the city.”
The role of the park rangers would be:
- To liaise with park users and provide information as required on park facilities, activities and directional information.
- To carry out general litter picking around the park.
- To bring the local community together in taking ownership of the park and encouraging additional use.
- To increase the positive use of the park by providing a reassuring presence during daylight hours.
Volunteers would be asked to commit to at least one five-hour shift per month and would be based in a new community hub building in the park. All volunteers would be given training on their roles and responsibilities, safety, first aid, customer service and would wear a uniform that indicates they are a volunteer ranger.
The city council successfully bid for £4.5 million to the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund in 2015 for restoration work at the 60-acre site. The main pavilion, boathouse and north bowls pavilion are being transformed into cafes while the bandstand is also being restored. The Hammersley Fountain in the Cauldon Grounds has been restored and is now operational again, with work continuing in other areas of the park.
Carole Ware, chairwoman of the Friends of Hanley Park group, said: “We welcome and support having park rangers at Hanley Park. They would provide a friendly and helpful presence for visitors to the park, and help to promote it as a wonderful place to spend time. The restoration project is a once in a lifetime opportunity to change this historic venue forever and we can’t wait to see how the park looks when it is finished. The park rangers scheme will take a bit of time to set up but we see it as a really positive step for the park as a whole.”
Members of the public seeking more information, a role profile and an application should contact Anthony Meredith, via firstname.lastname@example.org or 01782 232546.
For all media enquiries please contact Adam Blakeman in the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232987.