Cherries star joins students to relaunch project at Meyrick Park

Posted on Monday, October 15 2012

AFC Bournemouth player Stephen Purches has praised a volunteer project run by BU students which aims to make Meyrick Park safer.

The Cherries defender joined local police officers and student volunteers at the re-launch of the Meyrick Park Conservation Project last Wednesday.

The project is coordinated by Bournemouth University Students’ Union (SUBU), and student volunteers will meet once a week to clear woodland and undergrowth at the park, in a bid to reduce criminal activity, reopen pathways and encourage greater bio-diversity.

It initially ran for six months from October last year, and the project has received funding from Green Goals – a partnership involving AFC Bournemouth, the borough council and other organisations – to enable it to continue.

Stephen was shown around the woodland by police officers for the area, and was told about some of the problems the park had and the work that students had done. He said: “It is brilliant that they are giving up their own time to come down here and clear some of the woodland and it benefits everyone.

“It’s good for the students, it gives Bournemouth University a great name and they are giving up their own time to come down and do a good job for everyone.”

He added: “I have kids and it is going to make the area a lot safer and open it up to everyone. Kids want to go and mess about in the woods and it is just nice to know that you can see them while they are in an open area, rather than going into such dense areas where you don’t quite know what’s going on.”

Alexia Browning, volunteer coordinator for SUBU, said that more than 150 volunteers helped to clear around three acres of undergrowth in the initial six month period.

She said they now hoped to continue the good work.

“It seemed a shame to have made such an impact and not to come back, and the students love doing it,” she said.

“We are clearing out and opening out the park so it is a bit safer for families to use and hopefully enriching the area, encouraging the birds and more plants to come in.”

Sergeant Steve Houston, beat sergeant for the Meyrick and Talbot area, said that the work the students had done clearing undergrowth at Meyrick Park had already made a big difference.

“The BU students have been absolutely fantastic,” he said.

“The work they did last year made the areas they cleared completely safe. It meant that we didn’t have the problems that we have had in the previous two or three years when the bushes have grown. It has made people feel much safer.

“They have made a huge impact and I’m hoping they are going to build on it this year.”