Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Free events to help village recover from pandemic

Free events to help village recover from pandemic

FORTY-FIVE free events for children, teenagers and adults will be staged at Goring’s green spaces throughout next month.

The parish council, which manages the sites, has organised a “summer of play” between August 2 and 22 which will bring families together after the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns.

The event, which it will spend up to £10,000 on, will also include a consultation on future improvements or new play and activity equipment which could be installed.

It hopes the activities will encourage more people to use the spaces and show the benefits of improving them as well as introducing them to new hobbies.

Participants will also be able to collect a “summer of play passport” which they can have stamped at each venue and those who visit all five can collect a treat from Westholme Stores in Wallingford Road.

Although there is no entry charge, all activities must be booked in advance and so far more than a third of all tickets have been taken.

Covid restrictions will still be observed and participants will have to check in using the NHS “track and trace” app.

From Monday through to Thursday on the first week Rev Ben Phillips, the vicar of St Thomas’s Church, will lead a tai chi session in the neighbouring rectory garden while reciting the Lord’s Prayer.

Each Tuesday will focus on wellness, with tai chi, yoga and pilates taking place on the site off Manor Road between about 9am and midday. There will be sessions for different age groups including parents and babies.

Each Thursday will have a “get together” theme with a picnic on Gardiner recreation ground off Upper Red Cross Road from 5pm.

On the opening Monday, children will be encouraged to decorate “fairy doors” which will be stuck to trees around the village. Later in the month, there will be a series of walks where people will be challenged to spot them.

There will be a fun dance workshop on Bourdillon field, off Elvendon Road, at midday on the first Tuesday while teenagers can enjoy spray painting and graffiti at Sheepcot recreation ground, off Wallingford Road, at 3pm.

Other attractions will include bowls and croquet, slime making, volleyball, football challenges, dance fitness classes, giant chess and Jenga sets, street dance lessons, games with a giant parachute, tie-dying, rounders, archery and an opera concert on the rectory garden on August 7 and 8.

There will also be sensory play sessions, woodland exploration and campfire building at the green space at the foot of Ferry Lane.

On August 14 and 15 there will be a “Goring mayhem” event at Sheepcot field with a climbing wall and laser tag games.

The final week kicks off with a breakfast for dogs and their owners on Bourdillon field at 8.30am and concludes with a silent disco at Gardiner recreation ground at 4pm on the Saturday.

On the morning of Sunday, August 22, there will be a final breakfast picnic and community tidy-up.

Throughout the month, children will be encouraged to make chalk drawings with various themes and post them to a special Instagram and the best designs will be given prizes at the silent disco.

The idea has been in the pipeline for some time and was first discussed as a way of warming people to the idea of improving green spaces, for which the parish council is now writing a long-term plan.

Residents have suggested improvements in the past but these never came to light because others believed they would cause a nuisance and campaigned against them.

Previous attempts include a proposed skate park at a site which was never decided before the idea was shot down.

Cllr Bryan Urbick, who has helped organise the scheme alongside Brad Clapson, who has been hired as its co-ordinator, said: “We’re still putting the finishing touches to some things but everything is on track and we think it’s going to be a great three weeks.

“It all started when we commissioned a landscape architect to develop a strategy for all the open spaces and she looked back on the history to see we’d had decades of trouble getting anything off the ground.

“Every time a proposal was put forward, we’d have people complaining that it would cause unacceptable levels of noise so we ended up just walking away from it.

“The skate park was particularly sad because parents worked really hard to put it together and we were bombarded by emails saying how horrible it was going to be.

“Our architect said the best way to bring people round was to have temporary things so that people can see they’re not as bad in reality as they might expect.

“Having been through the lockdowns, we thought the best way to consult the village was to bring them out to these spaces to see them for themselves and see how fun it can be when they’re lively and filled with people.

“We’ve had lots of positive Facebook comments and particularly from young people, which is promising, so we can’t wait for it to start.”

For more information and to book tickets, visit www.goring
parishcouncil.gov.uk/summer-of-play

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