Date: February 2020
The new decade is upon us and at Garon Park we are already celebrating the completion of 3 major new community capital projects!
Garon Park Community Interest Company (GP CIC) and Wellbeing at Garon Park, both voluntary organisations, have raised £1.2m. The first results are the opening of a new artificial turf pitch (ATP) and the opening of the Garon Park Shed, with further community projects following close behind.
The ATP is a project part funded by the Premier League and FA Facility Fund, with substantial contributions from EASST ‘The Charity for Sport’ and the Garon Park Social Bond Holders. Ground was broken on the 18th September 2019 and the contractors moved 4,500 tons of earth, put in all the drainage, then piled in 3,500 tons of aggregate. All this topped with porous tarmac, laid a 140m x 80m carpet, 150 tons of sand fill and tons of rubber crumb, before letting an automatic line marking machine loose. Finally handing the whole thing back to us 13 weeks later on December 13th 2019!
This first class facility offers the most reasonably priced football in Southend to local clubs and community. The benefits to our key club users has already been demonstrated as play went on right through the horrible weather at the beginning of the year. Much of the local grass programme was off for two or three weeks!
We are in the user build-up stage at present and will be developing different disciplined team sports, such as men’s and women’s walking football. If you have an idea for your organisation or interest please register with us as we may be able to help. We are developing the web site and social media at present, but Nathan will be only too pleased to handle your enquires on 07931 190973.
To support the ATP, GP CIC is now getting on with more infrastructure works that should shortly include a bicycle shed, café, children’s playground, IT and some extra parking when finances allow. We plan the official opening in the Spring, so keep your eyes on our social media. Meanwhile, we hope to see many of you using the wonderful facility.
The Garon Park Shed is opening on 24th January 2020, and will be inviting membership from the local community. The Shed allows community members to practise hobbies, learn new skills and enjoy the company of other Shed Members. Find us at www.wellbeingatgaronpark.com, on Facebook, or you can email Ian at
GP CIC is building sustainable community sports and wellbeing facilities on a 32 acre leased site at Garon Park, for the use of everyone in the local community. If you would like to contribute or invest in your local community, GP CIC has a number of initiatives which you will shortly be able view on line at www.garonpark.com. If you would like to volunteer for one of our projects and have relevant experience, administrative, marketing or management skills, please contact Lin Boulter at email@example.com, we would love to have you aboard.
The third completed project is the Albert Shiret Memorial Stand, a £250,000 spectator stand in the athletics arena at the Southend Leisure Centre. This collaboration between Southend Athletics Club and Southend Borough Council was the brain child of Keith Palmer, the Chairman of Southend AC. Keith has worked tirelessly for 5 years to deliver a community project, which will allow the Athletics Club to host more and better quality events. This can only be good for the local community as it will give our athletes better completion, allow our secondary schools to compete locally and our spectators a far better experience.
On 20th January 2020, The Mayor, Cllr Lamb, accompanied by his wife, made the main speech and congratulated the team who put the project together. He also thanked the Shiret Family for their recognition of the community, in which their father was born and spent his whole life. After which he officially opened the stand with the symbolic cutting of a large ribbon. Sharon Wheeler, Head of Libraries and Physical Wellbeing, spoke for the Council and she was thanked for her support in securing a large grant from the Council, to match one from Veolia. EASST ‘The Charity for Sport’ again contributed with a grant and Peter Butler and Joe Sims where present for the occasion.