What happened at Maryon Park’s Big Picnic 2019?

A group of neighbours who live near Maryon Park held a big picnic there last Saturday. HELEN JAKEWAYS, one of the organisers, explains what happened…

This was our fourth Picnic and once more we were extremely lucky with the weather. We were able to put on many more games and activities this year thanks to funds raised from Greenwich Council’s ward budget, Tesco Bags of Growth and sponsorship from Lovell.We were also kindly supported by the council’s Park Rangers team.

We hosted about 500 people over the course of the afternoon, including all the performers, group leaders, stall holders and our 30+ strong volunteer team and the main field in Maryon Park was bustling with activity surrounded by people enjoying their picnics in the shade provided by the trees round the edge of the park.

We enjoyed a couple of lovely dance performances and workshops run by Greenwich Dance, football sessions run by Charlton Athletic coaches which were enormously popular, non-contact boxing taster sessions with St Peter’s Amateur Boxing Club and late-arriving roaming hula hoops and basic circus skills sessions from Aircraft Circus.

There was a busy programme on and around the small stage including a set from Charlton based DJ Ed Simmons and performances from the Brass Band, the Woolwich Singers, The Tuesday Morning Recorder Group and Creative Generation Dance and Gymnastics, all kept in order by MCs Christopher Seaden and Justine Bennett from Charlton Parkside Community Hub.

We were delighted to have our stage powered entirely by the sun and can highly recommend the Solar Roller, run by the Minesweeper Collective (enquiries to minesweepercollective[at]gmail.com) – this comes complete with a sound system and lovely technician Camden, who has attended our event for three years now.

We had a broad range of games for smaller children to play with and on including our stable of pink space hoppers and a very busy creative making tent hosted by Liz Buck from St Luke’s Church. A more sedate guided tree walk was hosted by the Friends of Maryon and Maryon Wilson Parks. Community stalls included the 38th Woolwich Scout Group, the Brownies, Friends of Maryon and Maryon Wilson Park, Charlton Athletic Community Trust Youth Services, Riverwood (a Mencap-funded carpentry project), Friends of Windrush School, Neighbourhood Watch, Greenwich Dance, the St Thomas Church Tuesday Group and the local Neighbourhood Forum. Woodhill Brewing Collective (Simon, Dan and Owen) were on site selling their very popular homebrew, the profits from which they generously donate to the St Thomas Church Night Shelter project every year and there were soft and not-so soft drinks on sale organised by Andrew Donkin from Valley Hill Community Hub.

The Community Garden was open for the afternoon so the whole park really was busy. The event was rounded off by some very competitive sack, egg and spoon, three-legged and space hopper races, the tug-of-war and raffle, proceeds from which will be used to support the St Thomas Church Night Shelter project. This free local event aimed at families is growing in confidence every year, but we aim to keep it small and manageable so there is plenty of space and opportunity for everyone to enjoy the afternoon.

Huge thanks are due to all those who pitched in this year – volunteers, performers, groups running the activity sessions, stall holders and of course the audience who turned up to help make it all such a special afternoon. We are always looking for local volunteers to help especially with fundraising, planning and stewarding on the day – if you’d like to be involved next year please contact Charlton Parkside Community Hub Admin on cpchadm[at]gmail.com.

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