A York park is set to get a makeover in advance of its centenary celebrations this summer – thanks to volunteers from some of the city’s top companies.
Volunteering charity York Cares is holding its Big Community Challenge at Rowntree Park which, after a hard year of floods and lockdowns hindering its usual maintenance, is in need of a spruce up.
Teams from local businesses will be taking part in a variety of gardening activities to get the park looking its best. This includes starting work on the creation of an educational wildlife area which will have a pond, wildflower meadows and a working wood.
The charity hopes to have up to 280 volunteers in June, working hard for the big day in July.
Businesses taking part include Aviva, Benenden Health, Boxxe, City of York Council, Hiscox, Nestle, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Portakabin, The Partners Group, Tilbury Dixon, University of York and York St John University.
Katy Elliott, Volunteering Support Officer at York Cares said “We are so pleased to be able to run the Big Community Challenge in June, to make a transformative difference to Rowntree Park.
“Many of us have benefitted greatly from spaces like this throughout the pandemic so it is a wonderful opportunity to give something back, whilst also celebrating the park’s centenary.
“It’s a fantastic way for colleagues to catch up after many have been working from home for so long and start to transition back to in-person working, which we know many employers are beginning to do.”
‘An amazing legacy’
Abigail Gaines, Friends of Rowntree Park, added: “Having the York Cares Big Community Challenge focused on Rowntree Park on our centenary year is fantastic.
“The Friends of Rowntree Park volunteers help maintain and improve the park, but having additional teams of workplace volunteers coming in, focusing on certain tasks and projects, really makes a difference.
“The teams are helping us start our new wildlife area project and this will be an amazing legacy for the next 100 years.”
Rowntree Park was a gift to the City of York by Rowntree & Co. in 1921 and is a memorial to the Cocoa Works staff who fell and suffered during the First World War.
It is famous for its ornamental lake, dovecote, sculpture trail and play areas. It also has an events space, skate park, basketball courts and houses Rowntree Park Tennis Club, Rowntree Park Reading Café, and York Canoe Club.