Get involved in the Dane John Friends group

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Local residents with an interest in the future of the Dane John Gardens are being encouraged to join a new Friends group.

The city council’s new Parks and Community Development Officer, Sadie Williams, will be helping to establish the group and is looking for volunteers who would like to get involved, working in partnership with the council.

The aim is to replicate similar successful groups at other parks and open spaces in the district, such as the Friends of the Westgate Parks, the Friends of Kingsmead Field and the Friends of Duncan Down.

Activities for the volunteers in the Dane John group could include running small community events and projects, being extra pairs of eyes and ears to report issues and helping set the future strategy for the park’s development. A key initiative would be working with the council to try and secure a Green Flag.

As well as welcoming residents who live in the Dane John, the hope is that a broader range of park users will come forward to ensure a good balance of views and interests.

The council already has big plans for the Dane John in 2019, including a new children’s play area and improvements to the lighting and footpaths.

Chairman of the council’s Community Committee, Cllr Neil Baker, said: “Friends groups have a hugely positive impact and are very effective in getting the community involved in looking after our precious open spaces, backing up the planting, maintenance and cleaning work carried out by our own staff and contractors.

“We know there are lots of local people who love the Dane John, so this is a perfect opportunity to harness that passion and make a real difference to one of our finest parks.”

Sian Pettman, from the Friends of Kingsmead Field, said: “The great thing about being an active member of a Friends group is that it enables you to meet other residents who really care about their local green space and want to work together to improve and enjoy it.”

Anyone who would like to get involved in the Dane John Friends group should email sadie.williams@canterbury.gov.uk. People should provide their contact details and availability in late October, which is when the group’s first meeting will take place.

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