Trevor Hoyte is Park Ranger at Rugby Borough Council. Based at the town centre Caldecott Park, which is protected with Fields in Trust as a Queen Elizabeth II Field, Trevor is a familiar face to park visitors. In this week's spotlight, we learn about his role in the maintenance and management of Rugby's parks for the benefit of the local community.
Family is very important to Trevor Hoyte, and he comes from a family with an exceptional sporting background. Trevor himself competed as an elite athlete, as did his brother Les and sister-in-law Wendy. The sporting success continues into the next generation as his own son and two nephews are all professional footballers.
Trevor remembers the role that parks and green spaces played in his own sporting journey - at age seven his father began coaching him as he practised sprinting in Acton Park, across the road from the family home in west London. Trevor took to athletics and soon was running for the borough, later the county and as an international. He was a Commonwealth Games finalist in 1978 and an Olympian as part of the sprint relay team at the Moscow Games of 1980.
With a professional eye, Trevor remembers the parks of his youth: "West London had lots of really good parks and sports grounds - Gunnersbury Park, Acton Park and the West London Stadium, all well-managed and kept in good order by the local council maintenance teams".
His local council, Ealing, helped out and supported his developing athletics career. Trevor used his experience as a professional athlete to coach and inspire other young people, a career move into youth work and sports development enabled him to provide motivational talks for young people, keep in touch with sport and "...give something back to the community, they supported me so it's only right that I should support other young people starting out". Just as his father did for Trevor, he continued the family tradition and coached his own son in local parks and green spaces. Encouraging young talent is a role that Trevor continues today as a mentor for young people who are given opportunities for work experience and volunteering in Rugby's parks and green spaces. "It's important that we encourage young people who need a little help - if I can't support them, who else will?"
A move to Rugby 13 years ago saw Trevor combining his coaching, sports development and motivational skills as a Park Ranger - as Trevor proudly points out "I'm the only Park Ranger in Rugby". He is based in Caldecott Park close to the town centre but splits his time across several other parks and green spaces in Rugby.
The job is busy and varied - no day is the same and seasonal variations find Trevor working hardest when everyone else is off work enjoying their local parks. Caldecott Park has over 300 trees representing 50 different species and it is well known for its floral displays, so there is much work to do ensuring that the park is well presented and looking at its best.
Trevor has planned and managed an increased number of events in local parks, despite budget constraints, including Art in the Park, National Playday, several musical acts on the bandstand - from brass bands to school orchestras - free summer workshops, history talks, tree walks and bug hunts and even late night outdoor cinema.
"It's important that we encourage young people who need a little help - if I can't support them, who else will?"
Trevor Hoyte, Park Ranger, Rugby Borough Council
As well as planning the events in advance, Trevor will be there early in the morning to help safely set-up the necessary infrastructure, power, marquees and any other equipment, then at the end of a long day, he will oversee the take-down of events and help return the park to its usual state, neat tidy and ready for the next days visitors.
But these visible parts of the job, the public events, are only a small part of the work of this park ranger. Before the trucks roll in at 6 am on a summer Saturday to set up an event there is a lot of unseen activity that has to be done in the background. Planning, risk assessment, licencing, coordination with council colleagues, volunteer management and increasingly working with external sponsors who support public events are all part of the mix.
Trevor has significantly increased local business contributions to events in Rugby's parks. Budgets are tight all around, but with networking and building local relationships Trevor has helped transform Caldecott Park. One major project was the re-opening of a café at the park: The Old Tool Shed. Initially, it was staffed with volunteers, then as things took off, with paid staff, providing local people with a route back into employment and for one aspiring young chef it was a springboard into a catering career.
Much of the unseen work will happen in the winter months when the park is quieter. Whilst there is less maintenance to do on the ground there is no shortage of work reviewing what went well from the previous summer and what could be improved. Work is programmed on a rolling two-year development plan and includes organising new activities, establishing new partnerships, preparing funding bids and encouraging sponsorship. Current development plans include upgrading the tennis courts and working with a sponsor to extend the edible borders in the park and pave an area adjacent to the beds, which are maintained by people with learning disabilities in a project that is a firm favourite with its participants.
When asked about the impact of his work in Caldecott Park, Trevor returns to a familiar theme. "Families", he says decisively. "Families are why we do what we do. It's really important that dad, mum, the kids should all have a place they can come and enjoy time together relax, run, kick a ball, and have family time. We want to make the park a welcoming, safe place where families, friends... the whole community can come and enjoy spending time together".
You can find out more about Caldecott Park and download a tree trail on the Rugby Borough Council website.
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