It's been a long year. The Coronavirus pandemic has meant 12 months of lockdowns, various tiers of restrictions, and instructions to maintain social distance, wash hands and generally Keep Safe. Here in Manchester we only had 25 days free of any restriction as the first lockdown was quickly followed by a 'Tier 3' local one. All about saving lives: nothing is more precious.
Now as we come into Spring and the vaccine roll-out continues, there is fresh hope of emerging from this dark time, and being able to mix again and do those things we used to take for granted. Meantime we can all of course continue to make use of the park for exercise and our well-being.
But it has to be slow and cautious as no-one wants to have to go back to tiers or lockdowns again. For this reason summer 2021 will be too soon to re-start the Swinton Grove Park Fun Day as it takes several months to organise. But keep watching this space.
As of Wednesday 6th January we are back in lockdown due to the very high infection rate of Covid-19. One piece of good news is that daily exercise is being encouraged, so the park will remain open. Just remember to keep 2 metres distance from everyone else.
It is important that we all play our part in protecting each other and getting the infection rate down again – hands - face - space. Even if you are one of the minority who think they don't need to take precautions, please respect others who are doing so.
Manchester Councillor Luthfur Rahman has written a letter to Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to remind him of the importance of parks during the Covid-19 pandemic. "...the value of parks became more clearly evident than ever before and the Government regularly called for people across the nation to make use of parks, to boost their physical and mental wellbeing."
He mentions the more than 100 voluntary groups (including FOSGP) that partner with the Council's Parks team who have "worked tirelessly to provide safe access to the green lungs of the city." Park use has risen by over 30% in Manchester, which has resulted in an extra 78,487 bags of litter!
Councillor Rahman goes on to remind Mr Sunak that little support has been given to keeping our parks open and safe., and asks that he commits extra resources. How about us who use the parks? Perhaps the best way we can thank the hard-working Parks team is by NOT DROPPING LITTER!!
Read the full letter here.
No sooner were we in 'Tier 3' but along comes another lockdown! One of several important differences is that parks remain open, this time including the playgrounds. So we can still enjoy Swinton Grove Park and the children can go on the swings etc.with, of course, social distancing. As before, it's up to all of us to do our part to protect each other.
Greater Manchester has come under 'Tier 3' Covid restrictions. This is the highest level, meaning Very High Risk. For our park it means it can stay open, but people using it must socially distance and not be in groups of more than six. And don't forget, by wearing a mask outdoors you are protecting other people. To see what else the Tier 3 rules mean we can and cannot do click here. These rules will only work if we all stick to them. To get on top of this virus, everyone has to play their part.
We are sorry to announce that Swinton Grove Park Fun Day 2020 has been cancelled. This is due to the lockdown restrictions for the Coronavirus pandemic. We had been watching the Government's gradual releasing of the lockdown measures, but it is now clear that large public gatherings such as our Fun Day will not be allowed for some time yet. Public Safety is too important to risk. We can of course all still enjoy the park, suitably socially distanced of course, but the Fun Day will have to be at another time. Meantime, stay safe and watch this space.
We have been awarded a grant of £500 towards the costs of the Fun Day by the University Construction Community Fund, for which, thank you! However, in the light of the Coronavirus crisis a decision has to be made about whether or not the Fun Day will be able to go ahead. It is over 2 months away and a lot can happen in that time, but a "better safe than sorry" policy might be best. Once that decision is taken – be it a postponement or cancellation – it will be posted here. If we do decide to postpone to later this year, the UCCF say the grant can be used right up to December 31.
This Coronavirus crisis is affecting just about every aspect of life – including our park. The park facilities (play and sports areas) have been closed for the time being. The park itself will remain open for individuals and households to exercise once a day, but please follow the government rules of no more than two people in a group, unless from the same household, and observe 2m social distancing.
The Friends of Swinton Grove Park have been shortlisted in the Parks Volunteers & Allotment Awards. This is to "celebrate your commitment and the AMAZING work you’re doing in Manchester Parks and Allotments." The award ceremony is on March 11 at Gorton Monastery.
After a break in 2019, Fun Day will be back in 2020 (funding permitting). We have added two more members to the Friends of Swinton Grove Park - the group of local volunteers who organise the day - and we are working towards Saturday July 4 (make a note of the date!). Watch this space for more news nearer the time.
If you have ideas for what should happen on Fun Day, or would like to help in any way, please get in touch. This is an event that is for and by local people - the more who are involved, the better!
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