John Volunteers with BIG Alliance

Caledonian Park (4)

BIG Alliance/ Heart of the City Volunteer Day at Caledonian Park, Islington N7

Recently, John Byde, a Senior Quantity Surveyor at Keegans used his volunteering day with the BIG Alliance at Caledonian Park in Islington N7.

John reported ‘The day was split into two 3-hour shifts. There were just seven of us for the morning shift, including 3 corporate volunteers.  After lunch we lost two and gained one new volunteer.  After a brief introduction to the park and a safety talk,  we were then shown a stockpile of about 20t of fine crushed concrete and told it needed taking to the other end of the park by wheelbarrow, a distance I am guessing of about 150m into the woodland. 

Some local architectural students have designed and begun construction of a small woodland amphitheatre with a brick stage and timber seating up the hill supported on gabions.  The crushed concrete was being used to overlay the mud trails to provide wheelchair/ buggy accessible access and to build up graded levels to the new stage.  Some minor woodland plant transplanting and litter-picking was also undertaken, but most of my time was spent barrowing, raking and treading down the crushed concrete. 

Despite their only being a few of us, by the end of the day we felt we had accomplished the aim of levelling-up the amphitheatre area and Miriam, the works organiser, seemed really pleased.  The sun also shone and the park café was open that day so we could get a cup of tea.  I also learnt much about the park which has a lot of history attached to it, including being the site of the Metropolitan Cattle market built to relieve pressure on Smithfields and from where a protest march began in support of the Tolpuddle Martyrs.

It was also a good work-out, and by the time I got home I had done about 21,500 steps and covered just over 10 miles. Highlights of the day were helping to achieve something useful (even though my arms both felt about an inch longer by the end) and spotting a Jersey Tiger Moth.  They were all great people.

Some more seating and pinned log edging is to be installed, but they hope to have the area completed and small theatre/ music productions happening in the amphitheatre by the end of September.’

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