‘Healthy and safety’ rules call time on Highfield Park’s fun day

Community fun day in Highfield Park, South Shore.'The Chinese lion dancer decides to join the Guides.  PIC BY ROB LOCK'24-6-2018
Community fun day in Highfield Park, South Shore.'The Chinese lion dancer decides to join the Guides. PIC BY ROB LOCK'24-6-2018
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A popular funfair brought to life by dedicated volunteers has been called off due to ‘impossible’ health and safety rules.

The annual Highfield Park community fun day, which was due to take place in the South Shore park on Sunday, June 23, has been called off.

Community fun day in Highfield Park, South Shore.'Enjoying a refreshing drink are pirates Archie and Francesca Dickson.  PIC BY ROB LOCK'24-6-2018

Community fun day in Highfield Park, South Shore.'Enjoying a refreshing drink are pirates Archie and Francesca Dickson. PIC BY ROB LOCK'24-6-2018

A spokesman for the Friends of Highfield Park, who did not wish to offer further comment, said it had been cancelled due to strict health and safety rules imposed by Blackpool Council.

She said: “The hoops that they are expecting the friends group to jump through now are impossible.”

Highfield ward councillor Lily Henderson said she had met with the Friends of Highfield Park committee, along with John Blackledge, Blackpool Council’s director of community and environmental services and that she had been told that the fun day was definitely cancelled.

She said: “What has happened is there is apparently a lot of new rules and regulations and this has resulted in it being cancelled.

“(The Friends group) are not going to do it, and if they are it won’t be as involved with the council as it would have been.

“I’m very sorry that it’s not going to happen because it’s always been a very good day. It’s always very popular.”

In previous years, the community fun day has raised much-needed funds for the improvement of the park, with last year’s event bringing in £1,254.

A Chinese Lion dance was performed by the Blackpool Scorpions Troupe on behalf of the Blackpool Chinese Community, and a maypole dance was performed by children from Roseacre Academy. Tidal Beats entertained crowds with bongo music, with many visitors trying their hand at drumming.

There was a travelling fun fair on site, along with a tombola, coconut shy, and plants and cakes stalls.

Mr Blackledge said the council had offered to work with organisers. He said: “We welcome events that bring the community together to enjoy themselves. However, we do have a responsibility to ensure that all aspects of health and safety and insurance are documented.

“Nothing has changed with respect to the information required for an event to go ahead other than rather than asking for a number of different documents to be completed we have now merged them into one form.

“Many friends and volunteer groups have had no issue providing the relevant information and have gone on to hold safe and successful events. We have offered to work with the Friends of Highfield Park and provide them with assistance with the form as we would be happy to help make their event a success.”