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Issue 347 – Pupils on a mission to improve park for all

A GROUP of pupils from Oakfield Academy have made it their mission to make Victoria Park a safer and more pleasant environment for all who use it.

They have even taken their ambitions to Frome Town Council and to the park management, both of which were so impressed that the project now has been given £1,000 to spend.
OMAD – Oakfield Making A Difference – was formed after pupils carried out a survey at school and found that many young people feel intimidated by other users when they visit the park. They are now determined to tackle this and make the park a place for everyone to enjoy.
Their answer is to make sure different parties work together and communicate, but also to obtain more equipment for the park and to plan ongoing structured activities for the whole community. Examples of these are art afternoons, junk building activities, team games and sports, drop-in sessions with Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs).
They have already been working with the park’s management, teachers in the school, PCSOs, and have contacted clubs to help get them involved with both delivering and benefiting from activities and events. They have also been fundraising themselves within the school and have more ideas and events planned to help them raise the cash.
Members of OMAD attended a recent meeting of the town council where they found strong support for their proposals from both councillors and members of the public.
Pupils explained how they feel the park currently suffers from nuisance caused by a small group of young people, and are eager to improve it so the whole community can benefit.
“We felt that we needed to act and try and improve this problem, as not all young people cause problems, and felt we needed to work alongside Caroline [Victoria Park management] to create a happy, fun, environment that all the community can enjoy,” they said. “We are all happy and committed to giving our time and energy to what we see as a worthwhile project, which we hope, in time, will solve many issues and help our community working together.
“If the park becomes a happier and more pleasant place to be then this can only be positive! It will encourage more young people of all ages to visit and be more active, and parents of toddlers will be more inclined to spend time at the park without feeling intimidated which is what several parents have mentioned. It will also provide somewhere that children can go if they have a problem.
“The whole idea is a fantastic way for building community spirit, encourage active play within our young people, and giving us the chance to work on our business skills, something which we feel is extremely important today. With so much support behind us and people willing to give their time, we hope to start this at the beginning of March, ready for the spring!”

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