Jenny Lind Park Community Project appealing for other groups to share its revamped Norwich base

(from left) Hilary Jarrett, treasurer of the Jenny Lind Park Community Project, Gemma Stapleford, pr

(from left) Hilary Jarrett, treasurer of the Jenny Lind Park Community Project, Gemma Stapleford, project co-ordinator and daughter of project founder Tim Stapleford, and Nigel Parfitt, chairman of the project management committee, on Jenny Lind Park, Norwich. Miss Stapleford is holdng a picture created in memory of her father who died in 2016. Picture: SOPHIE WYLLIE - Credit: SOPHIE WYLLIE

It has reduced youth crime and provided a safe place for children and teenagers through sport and social gatherings.

Tim Stapleford.
Picture: submitted

Tim Stapleford. Picture: submitted - Credit: Archant

And now the Jenny Lind Park Community Project, which formed seven years ago, is appealing for more volunteers and other community groups to use its refurbished Norwich base.

The project - based in an old post office next to the park on Suffolk Square - runs football, cricket, rounders, indoor games, pool, table football, a homework club and Bible sessions.

It now attracts about 50 youngsters mainly aged seven to 13, but when it started as a community football group it attracted a handful of young people.

The project was set up by Tim Stapleford - a former Attleborough Junior School deputy headteacher and Cringleford father of four - who died in 2016 aged 55.

His daughter Gemma Stapleford, 20, from Newmarket Road in Cringleford, who is the new project co-ordninator, said: 'The idea behind the project was to increase community cohesion and decrease crime by organising football on the multi-use games area of Jenny Lind Park. There was a problem with illegal substances and anti-social behaviour - particularly knife crime among young people.

'The community is so tight knit. A lot of the project's growth has come from word of mouth.

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'The project gives young people somewhere to get together. It helps them become strong individuals.'

She added crime had reduced in the area which she labelled a 'nice community'.

Miss Stapleford added her father had the idea to start the project after driving past the park every Sunday when he attended nearby Holy Trinity Church.

'He felt there was a passion and a need for the project. He was very good at starting something and being very driven. If he was here now he would still be thinking about the next thing to improve the project.'

Since his death, the former post office has been fully refurbished and is available for other organisations.

Miss Stapleford added: 'We want to build up our profile.'

The group meets Tuesdays 4-6pm and Thursdays 5.45pm-7pm and is also appealing for volunteers. Email or search Jenny Lind Park Community Project on Facebook.

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