Sunday, 23 August 2009

LARK IN THE PARK


One of the best things I did as a Ramsgate Charter Trustee was to advocate for generous grants to the annual Lark in the Park programme of events for everybody in Thanet and especially children in Ramsgate. I am not on Ramsgate Town Council any more, but I hope they will continue supporting this event which draws in masses of people. It is organised by a several of local churches. Numerous volunteers give generously of their time. I have visited on several days and seen how much joy there is on Government Acre.
My pictures show the big marquees that cover the site. the one with all the buggies is for the under 5s, there is a Boot Camp for 5-11 and 11-18 have football in a cage, skateboarding and BMX bike boards to perform on and more.
There are also events for adults in the evening. The programme is gently evangelical but it is entirely voluntary and you can happily participate in events without having to proclaim your faith. The atmosphere is inclusive and welcoming.
The grant if I remember correctly is for about £5,000 and for this there were 11 days of events, fuller details on the Lark in the Park website click here. I know a number of the volunteers. One of the most impressive things is how each year dozens of young people from 12 upwards assist with computing, administration stewarding, security and anything else they can turn their hand to.
We often underestimate how a few young people's misbehaviour can lead to stereotyping.
Compare Lark in the Park's approach with that of Thanet Community Safety Partnership. It is, according to official statistics, the most improving partnership in Kent. However, earlier this summer I received emails with details of "Diversionary Activities for Kids in Ramsgate". That's good but couldn't they just be "Activities for Kids in Ramsgate"? If we see every child as a potential problem we have to "divert", how will we teach them to trust and become active citizens like the young people who give so freely of their time at Lark in the Park?

3 comments:

  1. I visited Lark in the Park once during it's run this year, was very disappointed. The event is now too big. The queuing to register and the pompous people on reception made me vow to never return. I will be petitioning Thanet District Council to withdraw any funding. It is not money well spent in my opinion.

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  2. I cannot agree with Olivia's Dad, having been a supporter of the principle of Lark in the Park since its inception, and its successful activity elsewhere in Kent, I visit evry year, so notice changes.

    There is no getting around health and safety requirements, and in my view, they are handled better, and with better humour, by this team than most.

    As for Mark's criticism of the word diversionary, I am not sure if this may have been only onthe emails to Cllrs and referrers to the scheme, in which case it is fundamental in finding the right young people to participate. Similarly, it may simply be an accurate description of the need to divert from boredom young people who are enjoying a length of school holiday that dates from the time they would all be expected to be helping with the harvest!

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  3. Olivia's dad I've checked with other users and I'm sorry to hear that as you say there were queues on some days and also at times the computing system broke down,but that's the problem of success.
    Other people had not the encountered experience you received from reception so hopefully it was an isolated example. thanks for your feedback now numbers are so big I will pass on to those involved that more money should be spent to cater for greater numbers and to facilitate speedy entrance for all.

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