Today I attended the meeting of the Friends of Towneley Park. I was anxious because I wasn’t sure how I would be received. I had agreed to explain my project in a 5 minute slot on the agenda – I found it difficult to simplify my aims in this regard and hope that I got the main thrust across well enough. Some of the group had questions, raising their own partiality towards the park; I explained that this was not an issue for my own research. Two of the attendees handed me back a completed consent form that morning, which was encouraging.
The meeting in general was very interesting. There was much discussion about maintenance of things, like the bird feeders and noticeboards and the mobility scooters. More interesting was the relationship with the council. A representative of the Council’s Green Spaces department was at the meeting and it was interesting to see that the group and the Council clearly communicate in order to achieve their goals together.
There is also a ‘heritage’ aspect of the council’s interest. This was highlighted in the meeting when the members discussed the Italian Garden found next to the hall. Some of the members wanted benches to be placed on a slightly raised area so that the garden could be seen by the visitors to the park; other members, however, stated that the intention of the garden was that it be seen only from the first floor of the hall. This also seemed to be the Council’s approach. Within this group, then, despite a broadly similar demographic, there is contention.
Near the end of the meeting I found myself agreeing to give a couple of guided tours of the park to visiting groups. I am a little anxious about this, as I am not sure I have the required knowledge of the Park and Hall – the group say that they’ll bring me up to speed. Should be interesting…!