It was an early start on the Jubilee Bank Holiday Monday, to help transform part of King George Vth Playing Fields from plain grass to a community celebration.
I wasn’t the only one down there early. The networking and encouragement from lots of people within Friends of Littleover Parks meant that volunteers had come from a much wider range of organisations. It gave me a lovely warm feeling as people asked who needed help and joined in with assembling gazebos and small marquees, carried chairs and tables and arranged dustbins around the site for the inevitable litter.
The empty field was transformed so that by noon, when the DJ selected his first record, bunting flapped in the breeze, people were purchasing things from a wide range of stalls, children were leaping around on the bouncy castle and faces were being painted.
People came with their picnics – out with friends, celebrating birthdays or come as a family. They’d seen the posters, read about it in the newspaper or found it on the internet. The dog show gathered pace with over 60 dogs signed in, and many more people gathered round their ring to watch the judging which continued all afternoon.
The field was buzzing with activity – maybe as many as 600 people at one point – and many more in total throughout the afternoon.
Live performances continued with singing and dancing – and I checked on the litter bins. As well as liaising with stall-holders I had taken responsibility for the bins too. Following up last year’s vision to have recycling, not just waste bins, I’d borrowed ten dustbins from the council’s parks department, and provided them with different coloured liners and labels.
The best set were the row near the burger trailer. Hardly anyone had mixed up the contents, with cans and bottles, food waste, paper and card all neatly separated – and remaining stuff in the “black bin”. A more circular grouping was less succesful – and the set guarding the four legs of the large marquee, least good.
What was also interesting was the general cleanliness of the site. People were dropping far less litter than at many similar events. Why?
At the end of the day, we gathered the sacks from the bins together. Over half the contents was able to be sent for recycling rather than going to landfill. So thank you to everyone who sorted their stuff! Incidentally the food waste went in our ‘green cone’ in the garden – for rat-proof food composting.