Tuesday, January 25, 2005

A Parable

In Hillsborough Park there is an enclosed play area, with swings and slides and climbing frames, where little children can play and mums and dads get to recognise the other mums and dads over time, and often end up meeting friends. Some days you stay for a long time, other days just five minutes - it's always there, close to hand. Then there's the pond, where grown men sit and fish; some of them showing their boys how to fish too. And the bowling green, where senior citizens gather at their club-house and enjoy each other's company and a little gentle exercise - something to look forward too each week.

There's the wide open spaces, where you can kick a ball, or run, arms-spread-out-wide-like-aeroplane-wings, until you run out of breath...and the walled garden, where you can find a sheltered oasis of peace a stone's throw from the busy main road; and the nature garden where you can track squirrels through the trees, and find the memorial gates that proclaim: "You'll Never Walk alone." [In the Botanical Gardens there's the Bear Pit, which people only ever chance upon by accident; a surprise discovery; a secret to keep and to share with others.]

There's the childrens- and adult-library, where unimagined horizons open up before you on every page. And the old Coach House, waiting to be restored, transformed (into a restaurant?) - a future project yet to happen.

And even all of that is not to mention the tennis courts, the crocuses in spring, the line of stately poplars at one end, the paths that children ride along on little bikes with stabilisers, the...

The kingdom of God is like Hillsborough Park.


  1. my workbase is the building next to hillsborough school.
    i spent 6 weeks working in the park over the summer doing sports and games with the kids (and 3 weeks of facepainting people :D)
    each day i resolved to go find somewhere new in my lunchbreak... i found out so much... and yet so little,

    and at the end of the 6 weeks, i came to a very similar conclusion.


  2. Where'd you work, Sara?

    Re the school, all the kids at nursery had to fill in applications for primary school (well, their parents had to: you have to list your first three choices), and no-one had a good word to say about Hillsborough School. But it was all third-hand reports, etc., so we decided we'd check it out for ourselves, thank you very much, as we would want our kids to go to the local school - unless there was a very good reason not to. Anyway, we had a tour, and we really liked it - for loads of reasons. So, it went on the form as our first choice.

  3. I work for PARK (Playschemes And Recreation for Kids) based at the Hillsborough House Centre (Owlerton Young People Resource Centre) on Parkside Lane (the Old house next to Hillsborough Primary). I'm either staffing the afterschoolclub run in the centre, or im out being a sports playworker in random schools... (currently manor, wybourn, St Thomas canterbury- chancet wood, and Loxley amongst others.

    I'd say Hillsborough is a good school... i worked there 3 lunchtimes a week (more when not in lectures) doing fun and games with different year groups (til the funding ran out at Christmas.. :( )

    The kids there are tough inner city kids, not unlike the ones we get at Stomp.. but overall are great... the community in the classes is AMAZING (which is why we often found it so hard... we were the 'intruders') and there are real friendships within the year groups and across the school... there are some good pilot schemes running, such as the 'playground friend' (The older kids take turns in being friends to the infants who don't necessarily have a group of friends to call their own).
    The only thing i'd be wary of is that some teachers are too lax on discipline.. and i mean in a healthy way, not a strict one...

    i do miss working there... but i still have contact with a fair few of them in the afterschoolclub (which i might be switching to permanantly.)

    overall, Hillsborough rates quite highlyin my list of schools ive worked at in this job... .