Community focus: Views to die to for with great community spirit in Foxhill

Pete Bowers, Tracey Lee, Mick Lee and Jim Wainwright of Foxhill Tenants and Residents Association
Pete Bowers, Tracey Lee, Mick Lee and Jim Wainwright of Foxhill Tenants and Residents Association
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Residents in Foxhill are certainly not ones to sit back - if they want something doing in the area then they do it themselves.

Nestled between Wadsley Bridge and Grenoside the area is loved by many who live there for its closeness to the countryside, but also its variety of local amenities.

Tessa Lupton, with daughter Penny

Tessa Lupton, with daughter Penny

Residents are the first to admit the area has its problems, but they is a growing group who are working hard to improve life for all who live there.

The Foxhill Tenants and Residents Association almost disbanded last year if it was not for a few willing residents to keep it going.

Chairman Mike Lee and his wife Tracey, who is secretary, said running the TARA is a full-time job, but something which they love.

The group works tirelessly to improve the area for everyone.

Wolfe Road Park, Foxhill

Wolfe Road Park, Foxhill

Its achievements include getting extra little bins installed and a hand rail fitted outside the home of an elderly woman who was housebound without it.

It also organises and subsidises regular trips, include a yearly visit to the seaside, for residents.

Tracey said: "What we are here to do is make Foxhill a better place to live for everybody.

"If that means doing a litter pick or getting a skip in a certain area for people to put their rubbish in instead of fly-tipping then we will."

Foxhill Forum, on Wolfe Road

Foxhill Forum, on Wolfe Road

Some residents had highlighted the parking issue outside Foxhill Primary School and the TARA has helped to get action with double yellow lines to be installed soon.

"We can help with anything," said Tracey. "We can't necessarily get it sorted straight away but we will know someone who can help.

"We're like a bridge between residents and other organisations, especially the council."

Tracey, of Grimsell Crescent, said the friendly and kind-hearted residents is one thing she loves about the area.

Mark Wilde, chief executive of Foxhill Forum

Mark Wilde, chief executive of Foxhill Forum

"Where we live all the neighbours know each other. We get so many cards at Christmas because everyone knows each other," she said.

"If they see you struggling with your shopping then they'll help."

Committee member Pete Bowers, who has lived in Foxhill for seven years, said: "All the shopkeepers look out for you.

"They always ask after you and if they haven't seen you for a while they enquire about you to check how you are."

Pensioner Jim Wainwright has lived in the area since 1939 and is an active member of the TARA committee.

He is keen for residents to explore the many public rights of way which run though the area.

Jim added: "The countryside we have on our doorstep is amazing. The views are to die for."

Mark said he is keen to encourage more people to get in touch with the Tara with any issues they may have.

"We like getting small victories like getting a bin installed," he said.

"If we can show the community we are achieving something, even if it's something small but something they've asked for, then more people might join us or come to us.

"I am trying to get people involved from all different areas of Foxhill so we know what's going on."

He added that one of the aims of the group is to develop closer links with Foxhill Forum to get more people to become computer literate and get them help when filling out forms for Universal Credit.

The Foxhill Forum has been operating in the area since 1995 and was set up in response to a report by a local church which highlighted the need to create and develop and organisation that would bring the community together and address local needs by supporting local people.

The organisation's chief executive Mark Wilde said: "Foxhill is a great place to work, I’ve worked here 13 years and cannot think of a job I’ve enjoyed doing more.

"Like all areas there are often challenges however Foxhill has a strong sense of community, and by working together with agencies we can develop together the local solutions Foxhill needs. The people here in Foxhill are great."

The organisation has delivered things such as arts and crafts, IT classes, health and exercise activities and activities for schoolchildren.

Mark praised the hardworking team of staff and volunteers that have kept the organisation going and believes it has been so successful because it is able to make the case for funding.

He said: "We constantly gather feedback from service users which informs and influences everything we do.

"We continually consult local people to identify their needs, commission impact reports, evaluations to demonstrate our impact to funders when bidding for funding. Part of our success is the organisations determination to be successful for local people.

"Being ‘user led’ is a huge contributory factor to our success and we remain as heavily informed and influenced by local people today as we were when Foxhill Forum was initially set up in 1995.

"Also without the small hard working and dedicated team of staff and volunteers we wouldn’t be the organisation we are today."

Foxhill resident Tessa Lupton attends a toddler group at Foxhill Forum and is part of a group working to improve Wolfe Road Park.

After having her daughter, Penny, Tessa was keen to use the park's playground, but it had been vandalised through anti-social behaviour.

She attended the Foxhill TARA's AGM earlier this year, where she met with local councillors Tony Damms, Mike Chaplin and Jayne Dunn.

Tessa said she spoke with parents at the toddler group and set up the Friends for Wolfe Road Park group to gather community support for playground improvements.

Earlier this month local councillors helped to secure £10,000 for the playground's refusbishment.

Tessa, who is now on the TARA committee, said: "It's great news. We are waiting for a date now for when work will start.

"We need to be positive and get the area behind it.

"What we really want to do is get a separate area for the older kids so they have somewhere to go aware from the area for smaller children."

She added: "Foxhill is a great area. People don't realise that we have the countryside and Greno Woods right on our doorstep.

"The recent investment in the area - the new pub opening - is great news.

"It's got so many local amenities and good transport links to the town."

Tessa said her next plan is to try and develop a community garden up and running in the area.

Anyone wanting to get involved in the Tara or raise and issue should visit www.foxhilltara.co.uk or call 07577101021.