Our Projects in Marple Memorial Park
The Friends of Marple Memorial Park have had amazing success with their projects in the park, thanks largely to the great support from local people, other voluntary organisations and the Marple business community. You can read more about these successes here.
Queen's Diamond Jubilee Flowerbed and Sculpture
In 2011 a member of Friends of Marple Memorial Park suggested at one of our meetings that we should do something in the park to commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
Separately, another member felt it would be a good idea to invite the local college's Horticultural Department and Students to get involved with hands-on work in the park and set the wheels in motion to see if this could be arranged.
These two independent ideas have since metamorphosed into a brand new community project to refurbish the rundown flowerbed in front of the library, turning it into something much more interesting as a permanent display to commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Year of 2012.
Keeping the Park Toilets Open
Although far from ideal, Friends of the Park consider the Park's Public Toilets to be a key facility for all park users.
In 2010 it came to our attention that they were on a long list of council owned public toilets intended for closure that would be replaced by so called "Community Toilets". We immediately began an aggressive campaign to save them, joining forces with Marple Community Council, Marple Carnival Committee, Marple Veteran Bowling Club and Marple Civic Society.
Thanks to huge community support we were eventually successful in keeping them open. However, the park's toilets were the only ones anywhere in Marple Town Centre that were saved. All other public toilets operated by the council were closed and replaced by the "Community Toilet Scheme".
In more recent times we campaigned again, gaining the support of Marple's Councillors to keep them open during the Covid19 pandemic. At the present time the park's toilets are usually open (subject to staff availability or the need for repairs) and are currently the only convenience available to the public anywhere in Marple.
The Friends have maintained all benches in the park since 2011
It had been apparent for many years that benches in the park were deteriorating and some were in need of more than the normal routine maintenance that they sometimes received from the council. So in the spring of 2011 the Friends of Marple Memorial Park conducted a survey of benches in the park to identify the extent of the problem and to develop an action plan for dealing with the outcome.
The survey revealed that many of the benches had been donated by families and friends in memory of a loved one, which is something that we felt was important not to lose. We therefore developed a policy of repair and refurbishment only for any existing commemorative benches but with the possibility of adoption and replacement of non-commemorative benches. We decided to encourage adoption wherever possible in preference to new commemorative benches being installed in the park.
Marple Skate Park Development Project
In 2011 Friends of the Park began a project to upgrade and extend the existing skatepark facilities in the park. We joined forces with Stockport Council and local skater Lewis Abbott, who campaigned to get the existing facility built back in 2000 and is still a skater today. We also gained the support of Marple Civic Society, Marple Vision Partnership and Marple Hall School.
We consulted extensively with users and the local community and held a design competition tender. In April 2015 we gained planning permission to build a new £100k facility designed by Canvas Spaces Ltd. We started fund-raising in November 2012 and with huge community support from local groups and individual had raised over £50k of funding by the end of 2016.
Thanks to another £50k via our £ for £ match-funding agreement with the council we were able to complete construction in 2017.
Possibly FoMMP's most important achievement!
In 2011, when we learned that the Council planned to save money by grassing over the flowerbeds in our park, we campaigned to stop this and adopted them ourselves. We raised funds to re-plant them with perennial plants, also receiving many plants donated by the public, and did all the work with volunteers. We also persuaded the local Allotment Association to adopt a couple of the beds and they now grow fruit and vegetables in the park for the public to help themselves.
We understand that we were the only group in Stockport that managed to stop our flowerbeds being grassed over. We have since also taken over the management and maintenance of the War Memorial beds, all other flowerbeds in the park and most of the shrub beds too. We are always getting compliments about how good the park looks and often receive donations from the public to help us keep on top of things.