In early 2017, when a parent brought her concerns about the condition of Milton Gardens and its suitability for young children and their families to the ABSS Cluster Ward Parent Forum, little did they know the impact that they would make. From this initial contact, the park has gone through a family-friendly exciting transformation.

The SAVS ABSS Parent Engagement team connected parents at regular meetings with the Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Parks Department, Southend Police Force and users of Milton Gardens as part of a group to improve the condition of the park. The group successfully secured funding from the Community Infrastructure Levy (among other pots of funding), transforming the park into a colourful, more vibrant space for users to enjoy.

And now, the group will be officially launched as a ‘constituted group’: A Better Space. An event at the Milton Gardens will be celebrating the story so far, as well as hearing about future plans and meeting the people that made it happen!

This new group A Better Space aspires to develop many more projects within the community, no matter how big or small the area. A Parent Champion involved in A Better Space describes the impact of the change:

[The group’s] ideas are more about the community and what that space can offer them. We have seen some wonderful nature inspired engagement events take place at Milton Gardens. To be able to bring this to the doorstep of many families is a wonderful feeling, encouraging physical and mental wellbeing for families, their children and hopefully the local community.

The park in Milton ward, which together with the Victoria and Westborough wards make up the ‘Cluster Ward’ and is one of the three areas, along with Shoebury (Shoeburyness and West Shoebury wards) and Kursaal, which have regular Parent Forum meetings. The forums are a space for parents to have their say about services that are available to young families, and hear about free upcoming projects and activities.

For details about upcoming Parent Forums, please contact: ttengage2@savs-southend.co.uk or call 01702 356069.

For more information about A Better Space, and to get involved, contact abetterspace@savs-southend.co.uk

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