December 9 2013 Latest news:
Ramzy Alwakeel, Reporter
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
For the last nine years, a small group has worked tirelessly to make Elm Park a nicer place to live.
But now the group that organises the annual Elm Park Fiesta faces an uncertain future – because all four of its officers are stepping down.
If no one takes over, the Elm Park Regeneration Partnership – which ploughs 1,500 volunteer hours and £4,000 into the town each year – will be unable to continue its work.
Outgoing chairman Ingrid Brandon said the group needed “new blood and new ideas”.
“It’s good for people to realise these aren’t council-run events,” she said. “It’s volunteers that do it.
“It’s a great joy to produce things that are successful for Elm Park, but it doesn’t happen on its own.”
As well as putting on the fiesta and the annual Illuminating Elm Park event, the group has spent £15,000 regenerating a derelict area next to Elm Park Station, which now contains a “flower train” – a wooden train, built by the Hobby Shop, filled with plants by local schoolchildren.
The budget comes partly from Havering Council, with the remainder coming from fundraising.
One way the group generates cash is through selling unique Elm Park merchandise, including fridge magnets, books, postcards and even teddy bears.
Ingrid, now 57, founded the group in 2004.
“At the time, Elm Park was going through a period of degeneration,” she said. “I decided to form the group with the help of Havering Council’s regeneration department.
“We run the two events each year to bring the retail community and the residential community together and show what we have in Elm Park.
“It’s easy to drive through town centres without realising there’s a whole wealth of amenities provided by the shops you don’t see anywhere else.”
If you’re interested in helping carry on the group’s work, and securing the future of the fiesta and the illuminations, e-mail email@example.com.
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