Community unites to create action plan to improve meadow

Wildflower meadow at Stoodley

Wildflower meadow at Stoodley - Credit: Torbay Council

As part of Torbay’s ongoing drive to get more people involved with maintaining and improving their local parks and open spaces, a volunteer group has become the first to publish an action plan for the year.

Groundwork South is leading the work to develop action plans for local green spaces for us, working in partnership with SWISCo and local green space groups.

The first action plan to be completed is for the Friends of Stoodley Knowle.

Developing an action plan for Stoodley Knowle Meadow has brought together the community’s ideas and aspirations for the site with the day-to-day maintenance and long-term management provided by the Friends group, SWISCo and us.

Groundwork South is now working with a number of local ‘Friends of’ green space groups to develop their action plans.

It’s one of a range of ongoing projects led by us to enhance the Bay’s open spaces, with other projects including a comprehensive tree planting programme, new urban flower meadows, and creating ‘spaces to thrive’ with a range of funding including the Towns Fund for Torquay which has already seen a number of enhancements completed at Upton Park and Princess Gardens, and the Future High Streets Fund for Paignton.

Included in the Friends of Stoodley Knowle’s action plan is grass-cutting, urban flower planting, improving the biodiversity of the meadow, plans for bat boxes, conservation through habitat creation and management, with plans for upgrading the play area and fundraising for the whole site in the long term.

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Councillor Mike Morey, Cabinet member for infrastructure, environment and culture for Torbay Council, said: “This is a great piece of work by Groundwork South working with the Friends of Stoodley Knowle, the council, and SWISCo, and we hope it inspires others to follow suit.

"The aim of the new action plans is to make local residents and visitors aware of what improvement and maintenance works are due to take place at their local park or green space, and when to expect the work, and who will be carrying out the work.

“We hope this will inspire others to get involved, and with many more action plans in the pipeline, we look forward to future-proofing our wonderful parks together.

"We are always looking at different ways of working with our communities to deliver services differently, and that will empower local people.”

Hannah Worthington from Groundwork South said: “The work achieved by Friends of Stoodley Knowle is testament to the power of community.

“Since 2014, the Friends of Stoodley Knowle have supported, won funding for or actively helped to establish a wildflower meadow, convert the changing rooms into a seasonal café, set up a children’s club, install play equipment, plant trees and more, volunteering over two thousand hours in the process.

“Action plans are an important way of celebrating community involvement, and we’re looking forward to doing this work with green space groups across the Bay.”

Sue Kenway, secretary of Friends of Stoodley Knowle, said: “Putting the various actions required on both sides into a comprehensive calendar and getting it agreed and signed off by all parties has been helpful in focussing attention.

"This was coupled with a site visit by the management a couple of days before the teams took over and the annual action plan had been read and digested before this visit.

"This was very helpful and things have begun very well.”

Local residents who want to get involved in volunteering or find out about their local ‘Friends Of’ park or green space group can email Hannah Worthington or call 07940 510 616.

Hannah can also advise local ‘Friends Of’ groups on how to complete an action plan as well as advising residents who want to set up their own ‘Friends Of’ group in their area what steps they need to complete.