Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Is the Alexandra Trawler saved thanks to the National Citizen Service?

Over the last few weeks the Alexandra Play Park has taken a turn for the better with thanks to the volunteers at NCS Cornwall. A while ago I started a petition after it was revealed Cornwall Council planned to take away the wooden trawler,which is the centerpiece of Alexandra Play Park. When NCS Cornwall got wind of it, in a phenomenal whirlwind, got permission from Cornwall Council, raised some funds, rounded up some volunteers and refurbished the trawler and the other wooden play equipment. Well done to them and the businesses and pubs listed as donating to the refurbishment: The Dolphin Tavern, Mermaid Boat Trips, The Navy Inn, The Lugger Hotel, The Yacht Inn and the Bath Inn.

Here's some photos I took on friday, unfortunately if you don't know it it's hard to get a feel for how much better it all looks now.

As a small example here's what the trawler did look like:

And what it looks like now:

The trawler from the front:

So I guess the Trawler is saved, I wish I had taken a bigger role in doing this. I must admit to being on holiday when it was 'saved' and definitely caught on the hop by the speed in which NCS work. They've also been busy doing up the Tuckingmill skate park.

As a slight downside to this, I can't help but feel Cornwall Council have ducked their responsibility in the upkeep of this. I wonder whether the mindset of taking away equipment is still prevailing over upkeep. The climbing net that was fixed to the rear of the trawler is still gone. Also when I was there on friday other parts of the park where in a poor state, with one of the benches falling to pieces, the ladies toilets were closed and the gents have now had the water fountain removed. Is this the future of local government? funding cut to the bare bones and the only thing not falling apart paid for and fixed by kind and generous volunteers?

To end on a lighter note the park is looking fantastic, it looks much much better than it did and the kids loved it. What you can't appreciate from the photos is how long it took me to take photos without loads of happy children and parents climbing over every thing and thoroughly enjoying the summer holidays. Without the National Citizen's Service and the work of their young people, perhaps now the park would be closed for a time whilst they demolished that old faithful favourite of Alexandra, the trawler. It definitely is the best of a bad situation. I'll end with a question ought I cancel the petition? or should I leave it as a statement of how importantly Penzance takes our play parks?