Parks and allotments trust on track for April handover

Newcastle Parks and Allotments Trust is ‘on track’ to take over running of Newcastle upon Tyne’s parks and allotments in April 2019

The city council plans to transfer many parks and allotments to the new Newcastle Parks and Allotments Trust. The new organisation will be responsible for developing and caring for future generations.

Read more about the future of Newcastle’s parks and allotments on the Newcastle City Council website.

Read Newcastle Parks and Allotments Trust Chief Executive named.

Read Parks and green spaces make vital contribution to local communities

Valley and Little Dene not part of planned transfer

Not all green open spaces in Newcastle upon Tyne will transfer to the new Trust. 

Green open spaces that are NOT scheduled to transfer include the well-used community asset known as the Valley and Little Dene, High West Jesmond.

The Valley and Little Dene (along with Little Dene Park which is owned by the Freeman) form part of the urban wildlife corridor through the north of Newcastle and continue to be well used and highly valued by local residents.

Read about the work of the Friends of the Valley, Little Dene and Little Dene Park (FOVALD) in caring for these open spaces in High West Jesmond.

NAWG minutes report

The minutes of the 7 February 2019 meeting of the Newcastle Allotments Working Group noted that:

“The meeting commenced with a presentation by James Cross, the new CEO of the Parks and Allotments Trust, who was pleased to introduce himself to the group, and Tony Durcan, NCC [Newcastle City Council].

TD updated the meeting on the latest progress. The Trust was now fully constituted, the Board was up and running having had a meeting in January and the new CEO James Cross had taken up his post on 3rd December 2018.

Its Constitution now activated, March 2019 would see the Trading Company section of the Trust applying for charitable status.

Key issues of work still to be achieved, include the agreement that is currently  in place on the Duke of Northumberland’s land and a further meeting with the Freemen to discuss the ‘Wartime’ sites.

A Trust strategy meeting was being held on 21st March. NAWG [Newcastle Allotments Working Group] representatives would be invited. JC had begun visits to all allotments and asked for details of allotment waiting lists to assess the need throughout the City.

On track for 1 April 2019 handover

James Cross, the new Chief Executive of Newcastle Parks and Allotments Trust

The Parks and Allotments Trust management was still on track for a 1st April handover.

Two NAWG representatives on the Community Representation Group were proposed: Paul Herbertson (west) and Donald Robinson (east) to be ratified during the normal business of this NAWG meeting. CRG findings would be reported to the Board each month. JC also confirmed NAWG as a constituted group which would continue to operate.

Budgets – there was a £2 million cost across parks and allotments per year. Any Council surplus has not been used elsewhere to date.  

Under the Trust, funds raised from rents would be reinvested into Parks and Allotments, with priority being given to allotments when/where necessary.

JC confirmed any local revenue raised on allotments e.g. open days, trading hut, would be retained by individual sites. JC also confirmed that better resourced Trust officers responsible for allotments would have a defined budget with continued monthly reporting. JC also confirmed that he had had conversations with all potential key funders already.”

The extract above from the minutes of the Newcastle Allotments Working Group (NAWG) 7 February 2019 meeting was issued by NAWG and included on the NAWG website. It has been included here for information and does not necessarily represent the views of High West Jesmond Residents’ Association. 

FOVALD appreciation of Susan Lydia Challoner

Plaque commissioned by FOVALD’s Lending a Hand group to show appreciation to former resident who donated the ‘gap in the wall’

The Friends of the Valley, Little Dene and Little Dene Park’s (FOVALD) Lending a Hand Group has recently commissioned a new plaque to tell the story of the ‘hole in the wall’ at Little Dene Park.

On Friday 8 February Catherine McKinnell MP was invited to unveil the plaque commemorating the gift by Susan Lydia Challoner of the ‘gap in the wall’ that gives us all a short cut on to Moor Road South.

The plaque has been commissioned by FOVALD’s Lending a Hand Group that now looks after the Little Dene Park in addition to the Valley and Little Dene.

Members of FOVALD, the Lending a Hand Group and local High West Jesmond residents attended the ceremony to learn more about the generosity of Susan Lydia Challoner and the history of this part of High West Jesmond.

Who was Susan Lydia Challoner?

The plaque commemorates a lady called Susan Lydia Challoner who lived in Moor Road South between 1936 and 1953.

The park, which we now know as Little Dene Park, was constructed by the Newcastle City Council in 1952-53.

Mrs Challoner, who died in that year, bequeathed the money to pay for the entrance from Moor Road South.

The ‘hole in the wall’ has become a very well used route for residents in Gosforth and High West Jesmond.

The original plaque commemorating Mrs Challoners gift disappeared around 1990.

As part of FOVALD’s environmental improvement plan for the Little Dene Park they decided to reinstate the plaque.

FOVALD’s Lending a Hand Group tapped into resident’s memories to find the wording that best reflected the original and they commissioned the new plaque from Thorpes of Gosforth.

FOVALD caring for our green spaces

FOVALD (Friends of the Valley, the Little Dene and Little Dene Park) a small voluntary organisation based in High West Jesmond.

They have adopted the Valley from the City Council and the Little Dene Park from the City’s Freemen (it is part of the Town Moor).

FOVALD also look after the original Little Dene as a nature resource.

On Tuesday mornings, FOVALD organise’s a group called Lending a Hand that does the maintenance & improvement work on the green spaces in this part of High West Jesmond, as well as keeping all the other verges and paths in the area tidy.

Many thanks to FOVALD and to the Lending a Hand group for their ongoing work to enhance our community green spaces.

Chris Morgan also writes to share some history

When the High West Jesmond estate was first laid out Moorfield stopped at the now triangular junction with Lodore Road.

The main way into HWJ from the Great North Road was by the path that cut across the Little Moor.

However there must also have been a path leading from that corner to the bottom of Moor Road where the Little Bridge still crossed the Craghall Burn. My mother remembered playing in the stream at that point.

It must have been very soon after WW1 that Moorfield was extended through to the Great North Road and the stream went into a culvert to emerge in the grounds of the old house, Little Dene.

Boundary of Newcastle

At this time the stream formed the boundary between the City and County of Newcastle upon Tyne and the County of Northumberland. On the surface the stone wall was the boundary.

The Little Moor is part of the Town Moor owned by the Freemen, but this part of the Little Moor was now isolated.

Little Park

In 1952 the Freemen released the area north of Moorfield to form a Coronation Park (there must have been thousands of others across the nation, it was a time of great euphoria and celebration), although it wasn’t known as such. We all called it the Little Park.

The flower beds created were almost totally of clay and little grew for decades! I believe they may still be a challenge.

When the park was laid out there was a path extending around the perimeter with a dead end spur ending beside the stone wall. If memory serves correctly my friend Tony Devine’s bike/trike/scooter ran away down the gradient and he crashed into the wall, badly breaking his arm.

Hole in the wall

A clamour grew to have the wall opened up to allow free passage onto Moor Road South. It may not have happened for 2 or 3 years after 1953.

A simple plaque was positioned and the name Challoner was on it. There may have been another name as well.

Twice a day nuns from the convent just up Moor Road walked through the gap to and from La Sagesse school at the top of Matthew Bank.

Newcastle Parks and Allotments Trust Chief Executive named

The following announcement has been made by Newcastle City Council:

James Cross, the former Chief Executive of Natural England, has been selected as the first Chief Executive of Newcastle’s pioneering Parks and Allotments Trust.

For the last four years James has led Natural England, an advisory body working with central government that is responsible for the creation of National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Beauty and National Nature Reserves.

James has also worked as part of Open Access to countryside, the network of National Trials and was the Custodian of the Countryside Code, playing a vital role in developing and delivering positive experiences in open, green spaces and parks across the country. He also has strong North East connections and is a Board Member and Trustee of the University of Teesside.

James will work closely with Jim Beirne MBE, the current Chief Executive of Live Theatre, who has overseen numerous innovative commercial cultural partnerships. Jim was selected as the Chair of the Trust in July, alongside a founding Board of Trustees, made up of 13 individuals from a variety of backgrounds and with a wealth of expertise.

Both James and Jim, as well as the other trustees, were recruited by a panel of experts that included Newcastle City Council Councillors, Officers and representatives from the National Trust.

Newcastle Parks and Allotments Trust is the City Council’s innovative response to budget cuts of over 90% following seven years of national austerity. With growing concerns about the future of its green estate, the Council – determined to protect the City’s parks and allotments from further cuts – decided to establish the new charity back in November 2017, to ensure that Newcastle’s green estate continues to flourish and grow.

The pioneering Trust is being developed with advice and support from the National Trust and with investment from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and its development has also benefited from valuable input from the public following city-wide consultation and extensive research.

Following the announcement James Cross said:

“The parks, allotment and green spaces in and around Newcastle are amazing and enhance our lives by providing a place right in the heart of our communities to improve our physical and mental wellbeing, to play sport, to practice our hobbies or to spend time with our friends and family.

I am over the moon to be able to work alongside the people of Newcastle to find new ways of strengthening these connections, forging new ones and investing in the parks future.”

Speaking on behalf of Newcastle Parks Trust, Chair Jim Beirne MBE said:

“I am delighted to welcome James Cross on board as Chief Executive of the Newcastle Parks and Allotments Trust, he brings a wealth of experience from Natural England, to compliment the local and business experience on the board, to drive the Trust forward as a truly innovative partnership”

Councillor Kim McGuinness, Newcastle City Council Cabinet member for Culture, Sport and Public Health said:

“I am delighted to welcome James into his role as Chief Executive of the Newcastle Parks and Allotments Trust.

The experience, passion and dedication that James has shown throughout his career, and his experience leading Natural England make him the perfect candidate to drive forward our vision for this innovative charitable trust.

Our Parks are valuable assets and loved by our residents. They are a big part of what makes Newcastle a brilliant place to live, work and visit and the Board of Trustees will work closely with James to keep parks at the heart of our city”

Following the rigorous selection process to appoint the Chief Executive, Chair and Board, the Trust is now in a strong position to take the next steps in its development and will begin the process of registering itself as a charitable organisation.

The Trust will take on the care of Newcastle’s parks and allotments in 2019.

The above news story was issued by Newcastle City Council and included on the Newcastle City Council website. It has been included here for information and does not necessarily represent the views of High West Jesmond Residents’ Association. 

Lending a hand path tidying along Lodore Road

The Lending a Hand group of volunteers have been busy tidying up the path along Lodore Road, High West Jesmond.

Here is a photograph taken by Chris Morgan who was visiting High West Jesmond at the time and spotted the work party busy with their work.

Chris commented on our Facebook page:

“What a team spirited group. Think they may have persuaded me to do another history walk first Sunday in June 2019. Will have to check diary to confirm in the New Year.”

That’s certainly something to look forward to – last year’s Walking the Bounds of High West Jesmond was a well attended and interesting event.

UPDATE: The Walking the Bounds 2019 will take place on Sunday 2 June 2019. Details will be posted to this website nearer the time.

FOVALD caring for our green spaces

FOVALD (Friends of the Valley, Little Dene and Little Dene Park) is a small voluntary organisation based in High West Jesmond.

They have adopted the Valley from the City Council and  Little Dene Park from the City’s Freemen (it is part of the Town Moor).

FOVALD also look after the original Little Dene as a nature resource.

On Tuesday mornings, FOVALD organise’s a group called Lending a Hand that does the maintenance & improvement work on the green spaces in this part of High West Jesmond, as well as keeping all the other verges and paths in the area tidy.

Many thanks to FOVALD and to the Lending a Hand group for their ongoing work to enhance our community green spaces.

Annual Ward Priority Setting meeting

Residents are invited to attend a meeting with Dene & South Gosforth Ward councillors to help determine the priorities for the ward for the year ahead.

The meeting will take place on Tuesday 24 July 2018, 7pm at Trinity Christian Community Centre, Lartington Gardens, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 1SX.

The meeting is scheduled to finish at 8.30pm.

Trinity Christian Community Centre, Lartington Gardens, Gosforth

Topics for discussion

According to the agenda for the meeting (available on the Dene & South Gosforth Ward Committee meetings page of Newcastle City Council’s website), the meeting will feature:

  • an update from Northumbria Police – from A/Sgt 918 Wilson
  • an update from Graham Grant, Newcastle City Council on Transport Schemes including
  • Killingworth Road, Haddricks Mill roundabouts and Blue House roundabout
  • an update on community groups and community action across Dene & South Gosforth Ward (this will include both our local community groups – the High West Jesmond Residents’ Association and the Friends of the Valley and Little Dene – FOVALD)
  • ward finance including grant applications
  • agreement of priorities and action of Dene and South Gosforth Ward 2018/19

According to papers on Newcastle City Council’s website, Dene & South Gosforth ward has been allocated £3,565 to spend (amount is before decisions on grants currently under consideration).

Share your view with Council survey

The council has also set up a survey and invited residents to complete this – you can find this survey on the council-run Let’s talk Newcastle website on the Dene and South Gosforth Annual Ward Priorities Meeting page.

The following information has been issued by Newcastle City Council:

Membership of Dene and South Gosforth Ward Committee

Councillor Wendy Taylor, Councillor Karen Robinson and Councillor Henry
Gallagher

Watch the short YouTube video to find out more:

General Information on Ward Annual Priority Setting meetings

Each of the 26 Wards of the city will hold 1 annual targeted event to identify
ward priorities.

Annual events will be led by Ward Councillors in consultation with local
residents and stakeholders to share identified draft priorities and seek
validation and commitment for collaborative solutions with partners and the
community and voluntary sector.

Ward priorities will be agreed for the following 12 months and will inform
ward committee budget expenditure.

Annual events will focus on priorities for the ward and what we can do in
partnership, encouraging all stakeholders to be part of the response

Identified ward priorities will inform a work programme / action plan for the
ward and we will work directly with communities based on core themes of
active citizenship, building community capacity, behavioural change and
developing community partnerships.

Common themes will be considered where joint action plans can be
developed to avoid duplication and promote best practice.

Agenda for meeting

A copy of this agenda is available on the Newcastle City Council website on the Dene & South Gosforth Ward Committee meetings page.

Further information can be obtained from the Communities Officer:

Louise Cameron Tel:0191 277 1786 Email: louise.cameron@newcastle.gov.uk

The above ward committee meeting details was issued by Newcastle City Council and included on the Newcastle City Council website. It has been included here for information and does not necessarily represent the views of High West Jesmond Residents’ Association. 

 

Creating a Wildflower Meadow on the Valley

Friends of the Valley and Little Dene Park invite you to help with work for the wildflower meadow.

Like to help create a wildflower meadow?

Well come along and join us in sowing wild flower seeds along the banks of the Valley on Sunday 6 May 2018.

All welcome – families, children, students – anyone interested in nature.

Equipment provided but strong shoes will be required.

Meet at 10am on the Valley, Lodore Road.

The Friends of the Valley and Little Dene (FOVALD) was established to manage, maintain and protect the open spaces in High West Jesmond known as The Valley and Little Dene.

Read more about Friends of the Valley and Little Dene (FOVALD).