On Saturday 17th June 2017 the Wotton Community PARC site at New Road transformed to host the first Party in the PARC festival which was attended by nearly 1,000 people from surrounding communities.

Running from 12 to 11pm, the PARC was bathed in sunshine throughout the day and was filled with music from live bands, food and drink stalls and activities to take part in such as face painting, circus skills, walking football, hockey festival, a scooter jam and more. In total, over £6,000 was raised to support the development of the site to provide further sports facilities for use by the local community. In the coming years Wotton Community Sports Foundation hopes to be able to add more facilities to support the all-weather sports pitches, rugby pitch, running trail and skate park that are already at the site.

The Party in the PARC was organised by a dedicated team of volunteers that met weekly for over six months to ensure that the party went off without a hitch. Rob Hayward part of the Sports Foundation and Chair of Party in the PARC  commented on the day: “It was a real team effort to make today happen and we are so proud of what has been achieved over the past few months. Everyone that has worked on the Party in the PARC is looking around in amazement and thinking ‘we can’t believe we managed to organise THIS!’. There have already been murmurings about doing it all again next year and we are looking forward to reading the feedback from the public so that we can make it even bigger and even better in 12 months’ time. I would also encourage anyone who enjoyed the event to get in contact and be involved in organising any future events”.

Local businesses and organisations came out in force to support what is clearly viewed as an important local cause. The team behind the Party in the PARC were keen to thank them, including:   Wickwar Wessex Brewery: Crest Nicholson: Wotton Recreational Trust: Renishaw: Kingswood Village Association: Rio Pools: Barnwood Trust: Howard Tenens: Western Global:

Under the Edge Arts: Yate Supplies: 1st Wotton Scout Group: A & E Fire & Security: Falcon Steak House: Clarendon Press:

Wotton Directory: Milburys: The Market Place: The Heritage Centre: Sport Wotton: Wotton Electric Picture House: Wotton Town Council: Draw Creative: Goose & Gander: Lions International: Round Table: Army Cadet Force: Tony Tanner: The Eco Corner Team: Jacqueline Baxter: Cotswold Tai Chi: Rush Skate Park: Wotton Hockey: Wotton Rovers: Wotton Rugby: parkrun: Gloucester Rugby Club, Calcot Manor, Bear street Garage, Bradley Street garage, The Swan Hotel, The Royal Oak, Under the Edge Beauty, Under The Edge Café, West Country Plumbing and Heating, Cotswold Edge Golf Club:.

Guests at the party were treated to live music from bands including: 2112, Below Average, Common Ground, Seattle Inc, Corrupting Josie, Oktopi, The Bad Dads, Route 61, Bacchus, Short Elbow, C’est La Vie, Dead Dog Cider, Katie Elliot, Richard and Vicky, Objective Loon, Lauren Bewley and James Aldridge .

Many visitors were keen to see the event continue next year. Roger and Jane Gunning were there on the day and commented: “Having followed with interest the development of the Sports Foundation since its inception we were thrilled to witness this latest exciting chapter in its story.  Little by little the PARC, right on our doorstep, is becoming something for everyone. It was wonderful to see so many folk, young and old, enjoying this facility, some possibly for the first time. Congratulations to all those who worked so hard to make this a truly amazing event, and who we know are working to develop the site further in the interests of the whole community.”

The facilities at the PARC, which have been funded entirely through the fundraising efforts of a group of local volunteers and generous benefactors, have helped to develop local sports and recreation activities for both young and old in the area.

Wotton-under-Edge Hockey Club was one of the first clubs to take advantage of the new AstroTurf facilities, moving the club from its previous home in Thornbury to the new, more local facilities. The change from a twenty minute journey to a ten minute walk has seen the club grow year on year and it now numbers over 250 members ranging from 7 to 70 years old. The senior men’s teams have increased in number and in the past two years the men’s first XI has reached the last 8 of a national cup. The club has also formed three ladies teams that compete in the local leagues.

Stuart Emms, Chairman of Wotton-under-Edge Hockey Club adds: “The pitch at New Road has been the foundation to building a growing hockey club in the area. We knew the club needed a local base and the Wotton Community Sports Foundation helped us to achieve this goal. However, it is not just success today that the PARC has supported. KLB School use the facilities and our youth section hosts regular tournaments at various age levels. Many of these younger players are already entering County, Regional and National hockey setups with aspirations for future Olympic Games.”

The villages surrounding the PARC have a number of local football clubs. It has been Wotton Rovers that have made the most of the 3G facilities training at the site weekly. Previously the club had to train on tarmac playgrounds but now the 3G pitch provides a safe playing surface in all weathers and helps to protect the grass pitches for weekend matches during the wet winter months. Once again this has provided opportunities for both the club’s youth and senior teams with the under-9s side winning the mid-Gloucestershire Champions League this year for the first time in 20 years and the under-12s and under-14s both winning county cups too. Beyond use by the club, the pitch regularly has bookings for social five-a-side football matches and hosts walking football sessions some of which will be available during the Party in the PARC.

The skate park at the New Road site has been developed and provides a location for both the young and young at heart to convene on skateboards and scooters each evening and weekend. The skate facilities have been connected to a safe footpath all the way from Wotton to the PARC providing a secure route for visitors to follow avoiding traffic on the main road. The skate park has been received well by the local community. Connie Watt, (13) from Wotton commented, “It’s somewhere fun to go and spend time with your friends and teach each other new tricks.” Her brother Patrick (10) added: “It’s somewhere you can get outside, challenge yourself and have fun. It’s brilliant.”