This page was updated on Tuesday, 05-Apr-2022 18:30:18 BST



The committee long held the view that it would be very useful to have an Information Board installed at the Park, but issues such as logistical problems with its siting and competing priorities for our funds and focus, not to mention differing views as to what it should contain, led to a very long development time before the green light was given by Basildon Council to apply for a grant, and hence to devote significant attention to the project. The minutes of the committee meetings of the Friends show that the idea was first proposed in January 2015. After some stuttering starts during 2015 and 2016, huge progress was made in 2017, leading to the arrival and installation of, not one, but two lectern-type Information Boards, early in 2018.

There were three identifiable stages to the project, though each of them impacted the other two:
  1. Agreeing the Content, Design, Size, and Materials
  2. Securing the funding - applying for grants
  3. Erecting the Boards

Agreeing the Content, Design, Size, and Materials

We were agreed on the priciples of the design and content of the boards from the start: the central focus should be a map of the Park, showing the pathways and interesting features, and additionally we wanted to include some notes about the Park's wildlife and landmarks. In order to finalise those details, a sub-committee visited other sites within Basildon Borough to study their boards, and the Friends sent out a questionaire to all members. We are very grateful for all the comments that we received on this project, which were invaluable in helping completion. A summary of those comments can be viewed here. On the Visitors' Log, we have also listed all of the free format comments received. There are two ways of seeing the culmination of all that activity: either you can visit the park and look at the end product in situ, or you can download your own copy of the map by clicking here.

There was also a lot to agree about the materials to be used for the construction of the Information Board: wood, metal, or synthetic? We had to weigh up issues such as longevity / durability, aesotherics, ongoing maintenance, and last, but not least, cost projections. Having settled on 'synthetic' we had to weigh up different sub-options. The legs and board backing were to be made from wood-coloured recycled plastic, and as for the boards themselves, we went for 'top of the range' in order to avert potential issues , such as fading or peeling.

There were also questions as to how big these boards were to be. Cost turned out to be a critical factor here: it was confirmed that 'shrinking' our ambition a little had a big impact on the cost, and when it also transpired that the marginal cost of a second, identical board was relatively low, in the end we opted for TWO slightly smaller ones.

Securing the funding - applying for grants

It was clear that we would not be able to fund even one board without applying for a grant. Initially, we applied for a grant from Veolia, and though our bid made it onto the final short-list, in the end we were unsuccessful. However, undeterred, we pressed on, seeking alternative funding sources, which we found through the Wickford Community Projects, and though the amount received was less than our original aspiration, we were able to go ahead with a modified form of our original plan, courtesy of an additional top-up from our own funds.

So, the Friends purchased, not one, but two lectern-type Information Boards. The style has been chosen so that the Boards are accessible and relevant to everyone, including those with disabilities, special needs, the elderly and all under-represented groups.

Erecting the Boards

We had the option of either paying extra for the manufacturer to install the boards, or, opting for a DIY approach, via which there would be no labour costs, only materials. In order to balance the budget, we had no option other than the DIY approach. Thus it was that two boards were installed early in 2018, one close to the Children's Play Area by the entrance from the roundabout in Tresco Way and the other in the Staff Car park by the pedestrian entrance to the primary space.

Further Reading

You can read further details about this project in issues 52 and 56 of our Skylarks Newsletter.