With this year marking Hardie Park’s 5th Anniversary since the opening of the cafe building, it’s a great time to have a look back at what we’ve achieved in this short space of time. With the help of an army of loyal, hard-working, close-knit and quite frankly, fantastic, volunteers we’ve been able to turn around the community’s perception of Hardie Park. Previously a no-go zone, the park is now a thriving community space for the very young to the young at heart.

If in 2016 someone had said to you that you could go to Hardie Park (take a deep breath…)

for a game of petanque > to drink fresh coffee > to buy a bike (or to fix one) > to use the skate park > to play on new park equipment > to wonder at the beautiful flowers > to sit on the decking with a Rossi’s > to get the latest surplus food > to take part in a Men’s Shed > to attend (although not this year sadly) a festival or sports day >  to volunteer and meet new people > to bounce your heart out on bouncy castles in the summer > to take part in one of the many clubs that happen on site!

…then you’d have thought that person was pulling your leg.

Yet, that’s what’s been achieved in this time – it’s incredible! Life-long friendships have been created, memories have been made, and SS17 is all the better for it, even inspiring other local parks to follow our lead.

The last year in particular has been a challenge – not just having to deal with the repercussions from Covid-19, it was also the year where we said goodbye to Rob Groves who after giving his all for the park since the initial concept of the project way back in 2009, has stepped away to take some time out and focus on other things. Both Rob and Mandie have been instrumental in getting the park off the ground, and we really wouldn’t be where we are today without them – so it’s another opportunity for me to say a big thank you from the Hardie Park team and the community as a whole!

Whilst it’s been tough, we have a strong multi-talented Board of Trustees and a fantastic team of staff and volunteers. I know that as a result of everyone’s hard-work, Hardie Park won’t just survive, we’ll thrive and come out of this even stronger. If you want to play a part in our exciting future, check out our volunteering page to see how you can join the Hardie team.

We really can’t wait to see you all in the park soon – naturally, we don’t know when this will be, please rest assured that as and when restrictions ease, we will do what we can to re-open.

As ever, if you have any thoughts or comments about the park, do drop the trustees a line on trustees@friendsofhardiepark.co.uk – we’d love to hear from you.

Stay safe, Matt Adams (Chair)

Contact details: Hardie Park Cafe, Hardie Road, Stanford-le-Hope, Essex. SS17 0PB Phone: Café direct – 07935 868835 Email: info@friendsofhardiepark.co.uk Twitter: www.twitter.com/LoveHardiePark Facebook: www.facebook.com/LoveHardiePark