Following a successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund, local residents were asked to support the re-development of the park and in 2016 The ‘Friends of Rhyddings Park’ became a charity.
Today the Coach House & Kitchen Garden is a thriving community hub for well-being. Totally volunteer led, today the Coach House boast a café (open Saturdays and Mondays), a bootcamp room and rooms where a range of well-being activities are held including; led walks, boxercise, yoga, Pilates, qigong, seated exercise, knit & natter and crochet & chat sessions and baby sensory. In addition, the group are supported by volunteer qualified mental health workers who support an overcoming low mood group and a stress/anxiety management group.
FoRP also organises a number of events during the year especially for children and adults with special needs and their families. Numerous local charities access the venue including Spring into Action.
Seed, grow, bloom and inspire
The Friends of Rhyddings Park recognise that many people feel isolated and are struggling, not only because of COVID 19 but as a consequence of long term health conditions, both physical and mental.
As with the Coach House, the charity wish to support people by enabling them to be active in the fresh air. In April 2020, The ‘Friends of Rhyddings Park’ took over the kitchen garden and alongside a part-time gardener, created volunteer gardening opportunities.
The gardener and many dedicated volunteers aged from 15 to 82 years old have redeveloped the garden and glass house and the produce now supplies the café, with any surplus sold to generate income for the charity or donated to the local food bank.
Volunteering in the garden is inclusive, everyone is welcome and works together at their own pace and within their own abilities. Volunteers include a lady who has been the victim of domestic abuse, a gentleman with autism and a lady with fibromyalgia.
Gardening can be physically demanding and many of the volunteers have reported that since gardening their level of fitness has improved. The gardener and some of the volunteers have downloaded the Lets Move Hyndburn app from the signs in the park and were astonished to learn that they walked an average of 5 miles a day whilst volunteering in the garden!
Nothing to something, something to more
Over the last five years, Rhyddings Park has gone from strength to strength, their Facebook boasts a following of 3200 people and the volunteer team has grown from 3 volunteers to 34! If you have some time to spare and would like to lend a hand, please get in touch. The Friends of Rhyddings Park have worked hard to be self-sustainable and self-funded. The refurbished Coach House and kitchen garden now attract on average 350 people every week.
In 2019, Rhyddings Park has been recognised as one of the UK’s very best green spaces, collecting the prestigious Green Flag Award and not only increasing the number of Green Flag spaces in Hyndburn to nine, but also flying Hyndburn to the top of the Green Flag table in Lancashire, with the most Green Flags in the Country!
The Coach House and Kitchen Garden relies on donations have a packed fundraising events programme for the year including a party to celebrate its 4th Birthday on 21 August, a festival in September and seasonal wreath making workshops. A rose sculpture trail will also be opening in August too. To find out more, check out the ‘Friends of Rhyddings Park’ Facebook page and if you are able to support the charity by making a financial contribution, please make a donation via Paypal