Friends work to improve access for all in Longford Park

folp General, Health Walks

Friends of Longford Park are celebrating raising £3400 to increase the number of benches at the Quadrant end of Longford Park. The fundraising effort was in response to feedback from people who attend the Alzheimer’s Society Walk and Talk Group that meets in the park on Wednesdays. This group many of whom are retired and have mobility difficulties said they were finding the walks too challenging as they need to be able to take a rest and sit down at regular intervals. Currently there are very few benches at the North end of the park which coincidentally has the most suitable level paths for people who have mobility difficulties.

One of the friend’s group’s main aims is that the park should be accessible to all and they recognise that the lack of suitable seating is a barrier that prevents some people from visiting. The group have now raised enough to provide three new benches and a notice board at the North end of the park. The benches are low maintenance with handrails to assist people who might have difficulty getting up. They have been placed on hard standings which have additional space for a wheelchair.  This allows wheelchair users to easily interact with others from their chair. Jules Kennedy of Trafford  Disability Information and Advice Line and Dave Sykes the Project Coordinator at Amey assisted with sourcing appropriate benches and arranging the  installation. Longford Ward Councillor Anne Duffield also supported this fundraising effort as she is very concerned about the need for all sections of society to be able to use their local green space to keep fit and healthy.

The bulk of the money was raised by volunteers advertising, selling tickets and stewarding at the three outdoor theatre productions that have taken place in the park in the past year. Handmade Theatre Company paid the friends group a percentage of the gate receipts from each show in return for this assistance. The remainder of the funding was obtained from donations. The Longford and Firswood Strollers Walking Group made a donation of £300 towards the benches. This group shown in the photograph utilising one of the new benches on a recent walk have also funded memorial plaques on two of the benches. These are in memory of Jean Mills and Enid Davies two former members and regular volunteers who have passed away.

There is still a need for more benches in the park. Anyone interested in donating a memorial bench in Longford Park should contact Dave Sykes, Project Coordinator Local Government Amey telephone 0161 672 6509 email David.Sykes@amey.co.uk

For information and to register for the Alzheimer’s Society Walk and Talk Group contact Wendy Lockett on 0161 962 4769 or email; manchester@alzheimers.org. or Rhys Wynne City of Trees on 0161 872 1660       e: rhys@cityoftrees.org.uk

The Longford and Firswood Strollers next walk in the park will be on Sunday 26th August. They meet at10.30 am at the gate at the junction of Edge Lane and Cromwell Rd. This is a gentle stroll around the main paths and is suitable for all abilities. New members welcome