Friends of Hopwood Park (FOHP) look after and care for a park in Heywood in Rochdale.

We recently funded the group for a project which supported them to plant more flowers and also helped the purchase of gardening equipment to allow more volunteers to attend the group and help with the upkeep of the park. The group also bought more seeds for a wild flower meadow to add more colour.

The group have received tonnes of positive feedback from their local community about the changes they have made to the look and feel of the park. While this group may seem like an ordinary group who you may see day to day in your local park, it’s when you scratch the surface of the volunteers that you see the difference groups like this make to people in the area…

“Tommy” is 8-years-old and lives very close to Hopwood Park.

He doesn’t have a garden and spends most of his days when out of school on the park playing and riding his bike, in the summer of 2014 he attended one of the group’s free Arts & Crafts Sessions on the park and absolutely loved it, week after week he went back and displayed a great talent and was really keen to help and join in.

At all FOHP’s fundraising events he is there as soon as the organisers arrive to help set the event up, building gazebos, unloading the vehicles and being a great help.

He was really keen to get involved with raking and planting bulbs at the Autumn Raking Event, and he joined in with the conker challenge and helped to serve in the tuck shop.

“Tommy” loves being involved and feeling like he belongs and once said “it’s much more exciting than being at school”.

In November 2014 the group were invited to the annual presentation evening for Heywood in Bloom Neighbourhood Awards – as “Tommy” had been so involved and keen to help with all of the events, the group invited him along to receive their award with us.

He went along with his dad who said “Tommy” had been so excited to be invited and had apparently been counting down the days and talking about it all week.

This is just one example of the works groups like this do encourages young people to be involved in their community and develop confidence and self-esteem.