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Hope Verulamium Park watchdog group will re-form
THE former chairwoman of the Friends of Verulamium Park group, which folded earlier this year, says she hopes that will day it will re-form.
Madeleine Sansom stepped down from her role in May – a decision thought to be taken due to health reasons.
As no other members came forward to replace her, and because they were unable to find new members for a committee, the group had to close.
The volunteer group, established by Ms Sansom in 2000, was dedicated to caring for the park, which is owned by St Albans District Council.
She said: “Maybe one day people that care about the park will come together and possibly re-form as a group to oversee the park.”
In the group’s last newsletter, in February, Madeleine wrote: “Sadly I have to leave the Friends in May and the society cannot exist constitutionally or operate effectively without a chair and other committee members to support them.
“However, those public servants who have responsibility for Verulamium Park cannot continue to maintain these standards in future years on much reduced money however hard working and efficient they are.”
Assets from the group have been passed on to Ver Valley Society , which is dedicated to looking after the River Ver, which flows through Verulamium.
It is thought the assets will be kept available for any group that was to set up a new Friends organisation.
Around 30 members from the Friends have now moved over as members of the Ver Valley Society to continue volunteering in and around the park.
Anthony Oliver, former committee member of Friends of Verulamium Park for six years, has now become a member of the Ver Valley Society. Mr Oliver, of Fishpool Street, said: “It was such as shame the friends of the park had to close.
“Older people wanted to step down because they no longer had the energy and we couldn’t find anyone that wanted to take responsibility of the park and its needs.”
By the end of this month (August) members who did not want to move over to Ver Valley and wished to claim back their £6 membership from the Friends, will receive a refund.
Andy Webb, chairman of the Ver Valley Society, said: “We won’t be taking over from the Friends and their focus about the park because our main focus is the river. We are simply offering a place for members of the friends to come along and still be involved in volunteering because we are another group in the community that caters to some of the park’s needs.”
Councillor Nat Young, Conservative representative on the Verulam ward, said: “It was very important that we had a group that cared about and were interested in the park. The friends of the park were always vocal and put across residents’ opinions.”
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