Community spirit remains high in a Sheffield suburb thanks to a special group set up 50 years ago to preserve its open spaces.
The Hallam Community and Youth Association was formed in 1964 with the aim of protecting green spaces and providing facilities for residents living in Fulwood and Lodge Moor.
Having achieved its initial objective to save playing fields on Crimicar Lane from residential development, the group has gone from strength-to-strength in uniting residents and creating a better place for them to live.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the association – and half a century on some original members still remain, including group president Graham Blincow.
Reflecting on the journey of the association, 77-year-old Graham said there have been many highlights as well as struggles.
“For me its been 50 years of fun and so much more,” he said.
“We’ve had problems raising money for various project over the years but we’ve got there in the end, one way or another.”
One of the biggest fundraising challenges faced by the association was to gather cash to build a community hall on Hallam Grange Crescent to stage social and recreational activities.
Hallam Community Hall came to fruition in 1974 and was officially opened by Sheffield Lord Mayor Coun Albert Richardson in the summer of 1975.
As the group had envisaged, it quickly became a well used facility and was further extended during the 1980s and 1990s.
Today residents continue to take full advantage of the hall with an array of activities to suit all interests offered almost every day of the week.
“We’ve always welcomed any ideas for activities and groups,” said Graham.
“We help set them up at the hall and nurture them until they are able to stand on their own two feet.
“Both the football clubs and ballet classes set up at the hall now run as independent businesses.”
A more recent success for the group was its efforts to refurbish Spider Park, a children’s playground located close to Crimicar Lane that was erected in the mid 1960s and had fallen into disrepair.
Following a £137,000 Lottery grant the association kitted out the park with brand new equipment in 2002 and continues to maintain the site today.
“We’re very proud of what’s been achieved in the last 50 years,” said Graham.
He added: “What we need to do now is recruit more members so we can continue a similar level of progress over the next 50 years to come.”