June 2017 Speaker
A good turnout of about 80 members enjoyed a talk from Paul van Damme, Parks and Open Spaces Manager from Chelmsford City Council.
Paul started the talk by explaining that parks and open spaces are a key asset to all towns and very important for local communities. Paul’s department includes ground maintenance on roads and highways and the displays of plants/flowers along the city roads and parks which always look very well managed. The department also covers the Chelmsford Crematorium and Cemetery, Allotments, Play Areas and Hylands Park.
Statistics show that 94% of the community use these facilities. The Green Flag organisation, the quality standards organisation externally evaluates all town resources. The City Council has 1018 allotment facilities and 94 employees who care for all these sites.
The Parks voluntary scheme has 1476 local residents on their books, many working in the grounds of Hylands House. Some volunteers find it helps them with their everyday life problems of loneliness or overcoming illness and enriches their new outlook on life.
Paul also commented on future alterations to Bell Meadow and some parts of Central Park to enhance the facilities of our city.
The meeting ended with various local questions which Paul answered appropriately using his managerial experience. The members then enjoyed their cups of tea and coffee and obtained information from the display boards on the other U3A interest group activities available to everyone.
Diana Angel Speaker Secretary