2014 - Friends of Chippenham Mead founded by Roger Steer
Feb 2016 - Campaign begun by Improve Monmouth Playground
Petition to move the playground away from the A40 gathers more than 500 signatures
June 2016 - Friends of Chippenham Mead Charity established
Friends of Chippenham Mead is a charity which was set up with the intention of protecting and maintaining Monmouth's village green. Anyone who shares this aim is welcome to join our membership.
Who are we?
We are a group formed around the idea that Chippenham Mead is an asset for Monmouth and deserves friends to support it and protect it, in order to keep it at its best. A large natural space in the heart of town, a village green, provides the opportunity for recreation and leisure in an informal setting. It is this provision which we cherish. It is an inheritance which we want to see handed down to future generations in the same spirit as when it was first given to the town, and (as far as it is possible to do so) in a comparable state.
Friends of Chippenham Mead is an unincorporated organisation with a membership of over 200 people. We are now constituted as a charity. We have received small grants from the Rotary Club and the town council to help us in the early stages of setting up. Our stated aims are to maintain and enhance the village green, to encourage thoughtful custodianship and to champion Chippenham Mead for all people, from all walks of life. We are an open group and welcome new members who share our aims.
Where we began...
As a group, we began life as Improve Monmouth Playground. Playgrounds mark a stage in the life of all children and many a grown up: taking children outdoors to expend energy and enjoy purpose-built play equipment is a rite of passage of adulthood.
However, we felt that the county council’s proposals for upgrading the playground on Chippenham Mead were not good enough, taking into account the changes which had occurred to and interfered with Chippenham Mead over the years. We believe that Chippenham Mead should be viewed as a whole in order to understand where children’s play provision fits in.
Establishing the fact that there was already a small ‘friends group’, we took the bold step of asking if we could join and take on this identity. Happily, we were accepted. Our outlook then became broader to encompass all of Chippenham Mead, seeing the playground as only one part - but a vital one - of the wellbeing of the village green.
The playground has been the seed of the idea which has grown into Friends of Chippenham Mead. All children need to play - a need which is met by local authorities in the provision of safe and stimulating play areas. Alongside playing children, adults need to feel welcome and able to relax. Playgrounds are meeting places where social bonds are formed, and many a parent or guardian has made new friends at the same time as their charges.
A well-positioned playground can form the focal point of a community. We felt that this was significantly lacking from the playground on Chippenham Mead, and showed a lack of attention was being given to a sizeable section of society. In campaigning for the relocation of play provision, we wanted to do something positive to bring new life to Chippenham Mead.