With only a handful of volunteers on the committee they had their work cut out – but the people behind the Bulwell Fun on the Forest event have been working hard to make it a day to remember.
Paul Bakajsa is chairman of the group of five who have been plotting, planning and organising the big event.
Paul who is also chairman of the Rise Park Action Group, which he has been a part of for 12 years, said: “This is the fifth year the event has run.
“It all began when volunteers from the overlapping areas got together and decided to put on a family-friendly and cheap day out for everyone.
“It is about bringing as many community groups all together in one place where they can promote themselves through stalls or activities.
“It was estimated that more than 1,500 people attended last year and we are hoping to attract as many, if not more, again this year.”
As well as Rise Park Action Group, Top Valley Residents and Community Centre, local churches, the Boys’ and Girls’ Brigades, Bulwell Forest Garden and many others will be represented on the day.
Paul, a retired civil servant, said: “It is hard work organising everything and we start the process in January.
“We have to start early to ensure people are booked, as August and September are busy times.
“Volunteering on the committee means we are busy at different times of the year, but because there are only a few of us it is a juggling act, because of our other commitments.
“We are always struggling to get more people on board.”
As well as stalls, there will be free bouncy castles provided by Right Track Social Enterprise, which is also loaning a PA system for the day, and an inflatable assault course from the Army Cadets, to name just a few.
Paul said: “The Boys’ Briade will be providing barbecued food together with some commercial food stalls, to enable us to create a food court for refreshments.
“We have negotiated prices though in a bid to keep the prices down like for everything else, so parents aren’t having to continuously dip into their pockets.”
After eight months in the planning, it is a nervous time for the committee of volunteers.
Paul said: “We are all looking forward to the day, but with a little trepidation.
“We can relax when it is all up and running, but it is always a worry with the weather.
“We are hoping it will be well supported.”
Fun on the Forest has received financial help from Nottingham City Council, as well as practical support from Celia Knight, the Bulwell ward neighbourhood development officer.
She said: “Each ward within the district has an officer who works towards looking at the issues and resolving them, as well as supporting events and encouraging people to get involved.
“Not all community groups have the money to advertise or promote themselves, so an event like this is an ideal opportunity to let people know what is happening across the area, in a bid to stop people saying there is nothing for them to do.”
The Forest day also marks the start of Bulwell Action Week, where activities have been organised throughout the week to raise awareness of what’s on and available in the area.
Bowls clubs are holding open days, art sessions are organised, as well as trampolining, while Bulwell Forest Garden supporters will be welcoming people to their plot.
A bat walk, Zumba, carers’ event, play sessions and badminton are all happening during the week for the community to get involved in.
Celia said: “We want to encourage as many people as possible to engage in activities happening all year round.”
The Fun on the Forest is on Saturday, September 12, from noon to 4.30pm, at the Bulwell Forest Recreation Ground, between Hucknall Road and St Albans Road.
For details about Bulwell Action Week call 0115 883 3729, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.facebook.com/mybulwell.