Plan to win back park

Friends of Jubilee Park in Ashton celebrate their Green Flag award
Friends of Jubilee Park in Ashton celebrate their Green Flag award

A COMMUNITY group in Wigan is working to re-claim a much-loved park that has attracted negative attention due to anti-social behaviour.

The Friends of Jubilee Park hold their annual general meeting this week and leaders are urging residents to get involved in its running.

The park was the venue of outbursts of ASB late last year but a combined effort by authorities has made an impact in reducing the number of incidents.

Group chairman Brian Merry said: “We are aware that with the council’s new direction and reliance on community groups, we are going to need more volunteers. Our group has done a lot of good work over the years and raised hundreds of thousands for the park but it needs continuing support and it will be hard.

One of the group’s organisers and Bryn ward councillor Don Hodgkinson said: “We would like to see some new faces to give the group a boost. We have some new plans for the park but need people to come and make a difference.”

Gangs of youths had wreaked havoc in October and November last year initiating late night running battles with police officers. In other incidents, a local resident was attacked near to his house and fireworks were aimed at firefighters.

Coun Hodgkinson suggested the residents who expressed their concerns about the ASB would be ideal candidates to join the Friends group.

He said: “We are looking forward to a bright future for the park. It’s okay going to meetings and saying ‘we want this and we want that’ but we need people to volunteer and help the park.

“For example, we have plans to open a cafe in the pavilion but before that we need to know if it is possible - it will rely on volunteers. It’s a well-known venue, we’re just asking for a bit of support from people.”

In response to the ASB, Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust officers and the police started locking the park gates at night and they are now opened early in the morning.

Coun Kevin Anderson, cabinet member for safer communities said: “Working together, Wigan Council, WLCT, and GMP implemented a number of measures to tackle anti-social behaviour (ASB) in and around Jubilee Park.

“They have had considerable success.

“As a result anti-social behaviour has significantly reduced.

“Partners will of course continue to monitor the situation closely, but we are pleased with the response.”

The Friends’ AGM takes place on Thursday at Queen’s Road Methodist Church at 7pm.