This weeks post goes back to 2004, I was working as a very busy registered child minder and loving every minute of it.
I lived within walking distance of a park, but more often, than not, would drive the children roughly 10 miles to the next town where there was an amazing park complete with a paddling pool
The little equipment it had was so old, that my mum had a photo of me, as a child, sitting on the same sea-saw ( I was 43 years old!).I was sitting in the park, one day,with another child minder, discussing how wonderful it would be, if the council would upgrade our park. I decided that it wasn’t any good to just complain, but I needed to do something AND I DID! I put together a petition the next day…
I began by just asking friends and neighbours to sign and everyone, I asked, spurred me on, saying it was a brilliant idea.
Next I contacted the local papers and radio. It snowballed like crazy. My first letter was published in one paper and I was featured on the front page of another. Myself and the children were becoming quite famous. I must point out, that I did obtain written permission from the child minded children’s parents, before any of this went ahead.
One day, I received a phone call from the local television company asking if I would appear on their news programme, at first, I thought it was my husband, playing a prank, but quickly realised it was for real. I arranged to meet with them, in half an hour, at the park, for filming. Thoughts of, what shall I wear?and I need my roots colouring, went through my mind, but, in reality, I ran a comb through my hair, put on some lipstick and made a dash to the park. When we arrived the camera man, asked me to approach a lady and ask her to sign the petition, while he filmed. I seemed to turn into a wooden top ( a children’s T.V. programme, where the characters were made of wood and therefore, had stiff joints)
After filming, we walked home, collecting more signatures on the way. Sitting down, later that evening, to watch the news, I felt sick, what if it looked terrible? but luckily, it was great, I came across well and the children loved seeing themselves on television, except for, my 12 year old son, who was not impressed, when he was shown. on the roundabout, with a girl!
The council, said, soon after, that the upgrade would happen, but then came up with one excuse after another and it was looking more unlikely. I then decided to step it up and along, with some other child minders, we came up with a slogan. B.U.R.P. Battle to upgrade Rock Park. I printed loads of posters
and handed them out to the public, who displayed them in house and shop windows, on garden gates and in cars, one man, was even seen with one attached to his push bike saddle.
Next, I organised a get together to hand over my petition, to councillors, outside the civic centre. In total, I had collected over 2,400 signatures and it was tied altogether with a red ribbon, as I proudly handed it over. Of course, the media, were there, in force I had also asked members of the public to join me to make a sort of demonstration. I must admit, I did have nightmares, that no one came, but needn’t have worried, as over 150 parents, grand parents and children came, we had made placards to hold, saying, UPGRADE OUR PARK , WE WANT SOMEWHERE DECENT TO PLAY, and such like. We then marched in a circle, with me as the leader, followed by the children, chanting ” What do we want?”
” A new park!” ”
When do we want it?”
One of the radio stations recorded this, for their news bulletin,the next day . A few older children, also stood on the pavement, with signs, asking passing traffic to hoot if they agreed, this sounded great too.
I am happy to report that in October 2007 the new play park was officially opened, I was invited along with some of the children that had helped,
< unfortunately, I became ill in February, so have had to give up my beloved child minding and haven’t been able to use the park, as I had planned, although I am informed, that local children and their parents love it. Hopefully, one day, I will recover enough to child mind again and will use ‘Karen’s park’ , as it is now known.
As this story shows, if you feel passionate about something and get enough people together, a lot can be achieved. We never got the paddling pool, so families, still travel 10 miles, for that enjoyment, but the equipment, in the local park is now wonderful.
As always, any questions/comments are most welcome.