Residents reclaim the park they love on Valentine’s Day

Published Friday, 15th February 2019
Councillor Deborah Fenwick-Green, PC Steve Robson, Sophie Clifton (Clifton Learning Partnership), Councillor Wendy Cooksey and PC Tracey Atkinson
Councillor Deborah Fenwick-Green, PC Steve Robson, Sophie Clifton (Clifton Learning Partnership), Councillor Wendy Cooksey and PC Tracey Atkinson

Residents in Eastwood Village have been showing their local park some love this Valentine’s Day following an investment by Rotherham Council to make it feel safer.

People of all ages gathered in Pocket Park in Eastwood village to celebrate the reclamation of their green space after the Council installed new lighting and a CCTV camera to discourage drug use and anti-social behaviour.

Over 150 from the community enjoyed a mini-carnival atmosphere, complete with glow sticks, love hearts and impromptu live music courtesy of local residents.

The park was identified by local residents as an area of concern following incidents of anti-social behaviour. The installation of the new lights, complemented by active monitoring of the area by CCTV has already begun to help residents feel safer. 

Councillor Wendy Cooksey, ward member for Rotherham East said, “People in Eastwood are proud of where they live, and this event goes to show that there is lots to celebrate in the village. I recognise that there are still challenges, but events such as this one show that there is a passion in this community to overcome them.

“The new lights and camera, which have been installed as a direct result from feedback from local residents, are creating a safer environment for people to enjoy and serve as a deterrent to those who would spoil it for the rest of the community.

“Rotherham Council is committed to seeing the Eastwood Deal succeed, and we’re working hard with partners, and the community themselves, to ensure that housing standards improve, people feel safer and that Eastwood gets the fair recognition that it deserves.”

Organised by the Clifton Learning Partnership, and supported by neighbourhood officers, the Pocket Park event sought to celebrate everything that is good about living in Eastwood village – community spirit and civic pride.

Sophie Wright from the Clifton Learning Partnership said, “When we heard about the plans to install the lights and CCTV we thought it would be a good opportunity to gather residents in Pocket Park to see the installation. We want people to see that there are steps being made to make Eastwood a happier and safer place to live for all.

“It was a member of our street champions group who suggested Valentine’s Day with some music – a wonderful idea that we needed to make happen. It sends a message to those who would behave anti-socially that the community will no longer tolerate it. This is an important message to get out.”

The event comes on the back of a collaborative effort between the Council, South Yorkshire Police and other local partners to improve living standards, reduce crime and anti-social behaviour and tackle fly tipping as part of the Council’s Eastwood Deal.

Work to clear Eldon Road Playing Fields is also underway, and regular joint patrols by the police and the Council’s community protection unit are now a visible presence on the streets.