By Area / Culture

Power to Park Hill

11 April 2024

This week our guest writer Zoe O’Donnell, reviews a new community event ‘The Park Hill showcase’ that took place for the first time last month.

Situated to the south of East Croydon station with Park Hill Park and the Water Tower as its gateway landmarks, Park Hill is a vibrant and diverse, residential community. This fact was proven recently via the inaugural ‘Park Hill Showcase’, an event masterminded and delivered by the Park Hill Residents Association (PHRA). PHRA is a volunteer-led organisation that is just over half a century old (incorporated in 1972). Its purpose is to represent the interests and views of residents in Park Hill, Croydon. 

Here’s what you didn’t know: When a speculative invite to ‘join in’ a never-before-staged event is distributed, you wait in anticipation of whether a response will be forthcoming. When responses do arrive (in quite some volume) you realise that the lockdown years are behind us, and that people really do want to collaborate through community events. 

With thanks to Reverend Ruth Chapman, who shares the community spirit agenda, space at St Matthews Church, Chichester Road was gifted to allow this extravaganza to be housed. So, what happened and who was there? 

Well, on Saturday 8 March we welcomed hundreds of residents – not sure we expected so many! – to sit and watch written word, dance, and theatre performances, to meander and enquire with local groups and classes, or simply chat and eat cake! 

There was something for every age group; we had a chair workout with ‘Love to Move’ and free health checks were offered by the Asian Resource Centre of Croydon (ARCC). The ARCC also made a generous contribution to support the event. For kids and families there was a pre-loved book swap, messy crafts, and a scavenger hunt.

How to join a community event without travelling far, was the key learning of the day: Over 30 partners made this event the success it was. They are all long established organisations from the Friends of Park Hill Park, to dance clubs like Mantra Academy, RR Dance Studio, TAAL Angels and Upahaar School of Dance. All the activities were free of charge with time and resources donated collectively for the benefit and enjoyment of all. We simply asked for a £1 donation for a hot drink or piece of cake.

Based on the event’s success, the PHRA are keen to make this Showcase the first of many “We would like the legacy of PHRA to be shared amongst every age group within the community. We warmly welcome all! In particular, we would love the younger generation of residents to engage with the residents association going forward.” says Penny Channon, Chair of the PHRA Committee.

To support the work of the PHRA, including organising future events, you can join the Park Hill Residents Association here. If you are interested in finding out more the group has just announced the date of their upcoming  Neighbourhood Meeting and AGM –  8:00 pm, Tuesday, 9 July 2024 at St Matthews Church in Croydon CR0 5NQ. This is an opportunity to meet with other Park Hill residents, local representatives, police as well as the PHRA committee.

PHRA is a not for profit, resident run organisation that represents the area from Addiscombe Road in the north to Coombe Road in the south, and from the main railway line in the west to Lloyd Park/Radcliffe Road in the east. They love representing Park Hill as a diverse, active part of Croydon but can only do so with the help of members and volunteers. Find out more on their website and follow them on Twitter/X.

Posted by guest writer Zoe O’Donnell 

Header image, strip 1 middle and right images, strip 2 middle and right images, courtesy of PHRA.  Strip 1 left image and strip 2 left image, courtesy of Hilary Bell on behalf of 7th/12th Croydon Scout Group.

Zoe, a Cronx native and keen supporter of Croydon’s creative heart and community focus, funds her existence as a University Lecturer and Marketing Consultant.

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