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Friday, April 18, 2014

Walk Talk Stay Play - a guided walk and/or activity in the Park

Fancy a walk in our beautiful Kings Norton natural corridor ?Friday 25 April  11am

Photo by Lynn Horsnett Bee in KN Wild Flower Meadow

Meet on the Green outside St Nicolas Place at 11am

This is a FREE event lead by local Friends groups

Please wear suitable shoes fit for the Park and mud tracks of the nature reserve.  The first half of the walk is accessible by wheels.   Tired legs can stay and/or play in the pleasant surroundings of Kings Norton Park whilst others complete the more rugged terrain of the nature reserve. 

We finish back at the Green about 1pm for refreshments in the Old Grammar School if you can’t make the stairs you are welcome to use the cafĂ© in St Nicolas Place.
We shall be discussing local history, share your stories and knowledge, looking at nature and having a quiz along the way and sharing a cuppa and snack afterwards.

The circular route, I guess is around 2.5 miles long and we think it will take us a couple of hours, we shall walk
The Plumbers Arms M&B was demolished (also lost was The Bell) to build larger pubs with gardens and family rooms
·         The Green – St Nicolas Place
·         Kings Norton Playing Fields
·         Canal side
·         Kings Norton Park
·         Kings Norton Nature Reserve
·         Back to Green – Old Grammar School

You can complete the walk or pop back to the Park at any point.

Nothing too strenuous or taxing, some stuff you might not know about our past and a bit of fun in a very lovely part of the Kings Norton ward for the Easter holidays - fingers crossed for dry weather.
Here's a couple of  Easter jokes to get the kids warmed up!
How does the Easter Bunny stay fit?   Egg-xercise!
What do you call a rabbit that tells good jokes? A  funny bunny!
Bring your own jokes and parents!

Happy Easter Everyone!

More information:
Kings Norton Green around 1909

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Spring into March with activities 2014 so far...

News from the Park

Dear friend of Kings Norton Park

Fingers crossed, the deluge season stops soon and the suns breaks through lasts and feeds us the crocus and daffodils.  Purple, yellow and white is peeping though our borders to bring that refreshing splash of spring colour.   During the dark early months of the year we have been considering some new ventures, some things we should revisit and how we as a community support the environment and encourage out of doors activities to suit all tastes and abilities.

Thank you first and foremost.

We commence 2014 by thanking
everyone who has managed to do
something towards helping to keep
our flower beds neat, to litter pick,
help to organise or take part in
environmental activities and events,
who has explored or put in bids,
represented us at other green forums,
attended training, purchased new
equipment or carried out the essential
but less than glamorous administration
and financial functions all of which
are equally valuable and enhance
experiences in our park.   Thank you.

The realisation of our planning
relies very much upon the contribution of volunteers and a continued good working relationship with our Birmingham City Parks Department, local ranger team, wider support of elected representatives and other local groups.  We encourage joint working for and hope local people and groups will link up to deliver projects or events - please do get in touch there is something for everyone.

Budget News   

Birmingham City Council has just set another budget which significantly reduces spending on essential services which will change the face of the public services.   The Government is cutting back on funding for local councils. No matter what our point of view may be regarding making cuts, it cannot be denied it will have an impact on vulnerable people in our community. One thing we can do is try to help improve the experience of local residents who will be affected could be to help protect our  natural environment for the future and in those surroundings develop activities which does not cost families large sums of money.  

The Friends of Kings Norton Park voiced its concerns about budget cuts during the consultation process, we made representations to other groups, attended public meetings and responded online because initially BCC were proposing devastating losses to parks - many jobs and play areas were to go and services were to be withdrawn.  
A budget rethink by the Council was welcomed Our Friends group was concerned at one point that there was an implication that volunteering could be used as an alternative to trained directly employed staff.  Birmingham Open Spaces Forum (BOSF) facilitated joined up working with other parks and green groups across Birmingham which may have influenced a BCC Parks Budget rethink to a reduced £600k cut instead of a £2m (since then I have heard an extra £400k cut has been added)   BOSF and BCC has piloted a 
BeActive initiative in 5 of the city’s parks and through public health policies is extending this provision to 50 more outdoor spaces – we may be fortunate to become one.  It will bring funding for healthy activities which do not necessarily have to be sporty.   

Our Friends are clear that we have only achieved any improvements to our park because of the positive working relationship we have with BOSF and parks staff, especially our Constituency Parks Manager, Sue Amey and local rangers from the Lickey Hills hub.  If you are interested delivering activities in Kings Norton Park please let me know, coaches will need to get insured and undergo normal safeguarding checks.

You may be aware that there is also a new BCC policy for dog owners, it covers things like where you should walk your dog on a lead, strict rules governing dog fouling, bans them from play areas and introduces spot fines.  Dog foul has become an increasing problem in our Park and poses health risks if not cleaned up.   Local nursery children mentioned dog pooh as one of the things they disliked about our Park in our consultation exercise about play.     You can now put dog foul inside a plastic bag and into any ordinary council bin. 

Our Friends group does not charge for membership and relies on donations.  If you wish to make a donation please do so at one of events. 

2014 Activities Update

January was a complete wash out so we started planning.

February we were off site at Ley Hills Park for Freshwater Vertebra Network Training a project with Birmingham Black Country Wildlife Trust and the Environment Agency, encouraging local groups and residents to help survey parts of rivers and their tributaries to support fish, invertebrate, small mammals and birds. Friends of Kings Norton Park will test the river rea inside its stretch of the park during this year at the same time some upriver groups like Balams Wood, Friends of River Rea and Friends of Kings Norton Nature Reserve.  We were trained to identify various types of stream life eg) moth and fly larvae, bugs, shells, mites and worms. I discovered under a microscope they are fascinating and far more attractive than I imaged.  We were shown how to identify different types of pollution too and were let loose, with wellies and nets, into Merritt’s Brook and the Bourn.  The resulted pleased the experts and were submitted as part of a national survey.   If you want to learn how to test the water or have a local group of people who would like to take part in our testing later in the year please get in touch.  Day two of our training will take place in onsite on Friday 28 March at 11am; meet at the POD on this occasion. 
March we have sprung into action installing our new lockable Friends noticeboard purchased with funds from Big Lottery and installed by our wonderful Rangers, Steve, Adam, Dave and Robert – may thanks.   This will act as focal point for sharing information and compliment to the BlogSpot.  
We also invited Lee Copplestone to explain WaterCare UK projects aims and what we might achieve together, for example raising water course cleanliness, opening up a view to the canal, however, but these rely on your support.  Together we litter picked along the canal feeder in the playing fields In just  1½ hours 10 bags of rubbish were collected  a bit concerning! 

A Farmers Market stall in March with Friends and the Millennium Fields Trust to chat to you about building a programme for 2014 and your ideas pop and see us but remember you can always catch at other friend’s activities or via email.  

Our committee meeting was held on Friday 14 March 2pm at the Lickey Hills the rangers and Lee Copplestone were able to join us - thanks for the venue an coffee chaps!  A very productive and enjoyable planning meeting sharing great ideas. 

The following week, Friday 21 March, the Friends of Kings Norton Park will attend a planning session with Worcester, Birmingham and Drotiwich Canal Society, Kings Norton History Society, Bham CC N&E Parks Manager, St Nicolas Place, Millennium Fields Trust and Lifford Business Association, exploring a possible festival celebrating 200 years of our canal in 2015.  We will keep you posted!

April Two accessible picnic tables have been ordered.  We are awaiting delivery and installation and thinking of siting one in the Park by the children’s playground next to the canal feeder and the other in a quieter spot behind the Library overlooking the playing fields.  Tell us what you think.

Notable Dates
Check noticeboard & Blog for updates



×    Friday January 3 rained off
FIN & Keep Britain Tidy
Explore Be Active Parks
Materials for memorial activity
Reports request SA
20 World Social Justice
17 half-term
×    Friday February 7 activity at Ley  Hills Park - Fin Training attended
FIN training course or litter pick
Assess flower beds
Programme 2014
A4A Monitoring form

1 St David’s
8 Int Women’s Day
16 St Patricks Day
21 Int Eliminate Racial Discrimination
22 KNNR clean up
24 KNHS Talk
×  Tues 4 March BCC Budget Set
×   Friday 7 March 10.30am Friends active in Park
×   Sat 8 Farmers Market stall 9am
×   Mon 10 March BOSF meet 5pm
×   Friday 14 March 2 pm group  meet at Lickeys Hills
×   Friday 21 March WB&DC planning 12pm Library
×   Friday 28 March FIN Day2 11am meet at POD in playing field
×   Friday 28 March NEF Oddingly Hall 2pm
Budget cuts engagement
Litter pick canal feeder playfields
Install noticeboard
BOSF Insurance
Lock on POD
Order paint for benches
AGM social talk, food & music Walk


18- 21 Easter Weekend
23 St Georges Day
28 Workers Memorial
×   Friday 4 April Friends active in Park - flower beds 
×   NEW Friday 25 April Walk talk stay play - local history walk quiz little ones activity in park and refreshments in Old Grammar School . Meet 11am at The Green, to Playing Fields, Canal, Park and nature reserves.
Plant up Memorial Garden Bed
Plan activities for Be Active
Install Picnic benches

1 Int Workers Day
5 May Day B/H
17 KNNR Open Day
26 May Spring B/H
×   NEW Friday 2  May Friends and FIN River Rea dipping and finding underworld waterlife.  Join us at 1`0.30am meet in Car Park.
- NEW Friday 16 May Waterside sampling care for the canal feeder & Lint Brook working with keep Britian tidy - litter pick too.
×   Sat 17 May KNNR Open day activities
Flower Bed Tidy
AGM social plans


5 World Environment
 20 Refugee Day
23 World Public Service
16 June BOSF AGM
×    Friday 6 June Friends active in  Park
×    NEW Friday 13 June evening social at Kings Norton with AGM talk music food and social at Kings Norton Bowling Club at 7pm
×    Tues 24 June 6pm NCEF

Prepare memorial activity
Officers elections on 13 June

Sat 5 July Cocomad
11 World population
18 Nelson Mandela
25 July Love Parks Wk
×   Friday 4 July Friends active in  Park
×   Saturday 12 July Kings Norton  Festival - conflict and peace poppy making and messages
Plan River Rea sampling
Stain glass windows nature images


4 WWI commemorate
12 Youth Day
23 Anti-slavery Day
25 Summer B/H
×   Friday 1 Aug Friends active in  Park
×   Sat 16 Aug - Balsam Bash canal  feeder
Balsam clearance
Keep Britain Tidy


11-14 Heritage wknd
21 Int Day of Peace
×   Friday 5 Sept Friends active in  Park
×   Sat 20 group meet 11am Library
×    Tues 30 Sept 2pm NCEF
River Rea Sampling

31 Halloween
×   Friday 3 Oct Friends active in Park

Meadow cut collect mow seed

11 Remembrance Sunday
16 Tolerance
25 Elimination of violence against women
×   Friday 7 Nov Friends active in Park
×   Sat 25 Nov group meet 11am Library
Playing fields canal clean up
Review of 2014

1 World Aids Day
×   Friday 5 Dec Friends active in Park
×   Friday 12 Dec 12 pm NCEF

WB&D Canal
Bicentenary Celebration
×   June/July  (tbc)
In conjunction WB&DCS and local community

June   You may have noticed we are going to try something a bit different this year for our AGM we would like grow an evening with more of a social emphasis.  Considering an interesting talk, followed by music, food and possibly a bar.  If you fancy this sort of an event or have any suggestions on a suitable local venue, refreshment or entertainment providers please share.  Likewise for any future skills share, funding opportunities or reliable contacts - the more active we become the more likely we are to see things we want to in our park.

These dates are subject to postponement due to inclement weather or last minute changes to best check your weather app, our notice board or this blog. 

Hope to see you soon! 

From FoKNP committee members Lynn, Dinny, Chris, Liz, Claire, Lucy and Andy.

FoKNP contact

Lynn Horsnett
Chair of Friends of Kings Norton Park


Blog:        www.friendsofkingsnortonpark

Twitter:  @kingsnortonpark 

Friday, October 25, 2013

News from Our Park

October 2013

Dear Friend of Kings Norton Park

What a fantastic summer not very often we can say this!   We were hoping for a dryer Indian summer, but at least the warmer temperatures are saving on energy costs (or are they with recent hikes!).

Our park is increasing popularity so most days you walk through you will find all different sorts of people involved in all sorts of activities. I find it a very refreshing visit and escape from my fast paced, concrete, urban working life.


First thank you to all those involved, whether you come to meetings or not, I know many of you do your bit unnoticed by your neighbours, and thanks to our supportive professionals and representatives.  Our team working really has made a difference.  

Giggles in the play area once more

Super news the play area is reopened, sadly this was after our first real major incident of vandalism in the Park which temporarily closed the childrens play area for health and safety reasons.  Our eco safety matting was torn up.  It has now been replaced by a more robust but less attractive safety surface (cost has also been a consideration) has been be laid, but pleasingly it looks like the grass will grow through to soften the edges.  The whole affair from act to repair only took about 3-4 weeks which can only be attributed to our super supportive Parks Manager, Sue Amey and the willingness of BBC to finance and act quickly in order to resume play. 
An obvious future concern is that if BCC have to pay maintenance costs in our park to replace damaged items they will be less inclined to support any new facilities or projects which will leave our aspirations somewhat depleted.




Whilst we are on the gloomy subject

You may have noticed that we lost a couple of our new specialist standard trees earlier this year, which were probably planted too near the play area as well as the beautiful additional curved stone feature bench in upper civic garden.  The trees will not be replaced but we do have about seven of differing variety still surviving and dotted around the park.  The stone bench has been heroically collected in stages by our rangers at the Lickey hub with assisting machinery.  A huge thank you Lickey hub for swift action and a heavy job! for a The hope is it can be repaired and eventually put back at some point however this will be costly. 

If you witness any criminal damage or any threatening behaviour taking place please do call 101 or 999.  


A new noticeboard 

We are just pricing up lockable external metal noticeboards on posts – we can only afford one Park side at the moment (about £1,500!) This will provide space for displaying activity information and contact details as well as parks watch emergency numbers.  


On order are two new picnic benches (plus)

We have ordered and paid for two very smart looking metal two picnic benches which will be installed on site later this year or early next year – we have to wait to have them made and installed.   They probably sit near the canal feeder overlooking the informal football. One will have wheel access, the other seat four persons.  The skateboarders asked for a couple of benches and bins, and we have been one bench short in the lower civic area for a long time – provisions to provide these have been made too. 

A sunny success – our first Birmingham Play Care Day

We held our first successful Birmingham Play Care Day on 9 August.  This included a variety of different types of play such as paper lanterns, rocket making, hammock swinging, flying kites, imaginative exploring and music. Around 60 children or various ages came along with their parents may with picnics.  The Birmingham Play Care Day staff were wonderful in encouraging expression of play and enhanced everyone’s play experience, including us older kids too.  Thank you to those who helped and took part.  What was wonderful too was within a few minutes at the end the debris which was sprawled over park was scooped up and packed away.  You just wouldn’t have known they were there.


A great commitment from Friends  

Several Friends have been popping down to the park either as part of a small groups or individually at other times, they have been litter picking, weeding, helping clean the canal feeder, surveying trees, helping with events, talking and meeting with departments or organisations which might help us to access whether a wetland in the park is achievable.  If you fancy joining please email me email me our mobilephone number with your request to be contacted 


Start, stop and rethink potential wetland

Our hopes were high and our community survey at Kings Norton Festival showed you were as excited about the idea of a wetland in the old lily pond (former marl pit) as we were.  Guys from the Nature Improvement Area Fund helped surveyed the wildlife and took soil samples and gave a thumbs-up and we got excited.  Then the estimates came in which because of the need to erect safety rails to prevent falls or slips into unearthed silt or water were very high.  Somewhat deflated we picked ourselves up and redesigned a little which resulted in a minor improvement.  Funding opportunities for this type of project seem to be drying up a little and section 106 monies are allocated across the whole of the constituency.  Following recent maintenance costs of the play area we will have to be realistic in our expectations.  All is not lost yet.    


If you have any ideas of local businesses who may wish to part fund a hand rail, broad walk or dipping platform please email us or contact one of the Friends.


Wildflower meadow and Woodland Walk 2014


The Friends group does feel it has the capacity to care for a wildflower meadow in the playing fields so hopefully costs and can be worked out.  The NIA natural corridor survey also suggested we could enhance the woodland area top walk way during 2014, this will mean extracting brambles, spraying back and then planting attractive undergrowth and thinning the canopy of trees.


Remaining workouts & meets 2013 

Friday 1 November at 11 am

We will be joined by Sue Amey Parks Manager who is joining us to split and plant in one of the flower beds, Lee Copplestone from Keep Britian Tidy is looking at helping us to start sampling water
and Hannah NIA apprentice will pop along to catch up.


Allow a bit longer for this session if you can it will be well worth it.  Please join us.  We have tools and gloves meet in the car park unless it is raining.


Saturday 9 November 11am meeting
Kings Norton Library you are welcome to join us for an hour before popping over to the farmers market


Friday 6 December at 11am
Winter tidy and sampling.

You can join and make things happen

If you have ideas you want to put in action in our Park and Playing Fields with some assistance contact us and we can offer you support.   You determine what happens in your green spaces. 

Thank you for reading this update.  We hope to meet up with you soon.



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