After opening over 130 years ago, and becoming neglected during recent times, Grays Town Park has been given a new lease of life through the hard work of a local group and the award of several grants. 

The Park is now gradually being returned to its Victorian finest, and it is hoped many visitors will come to enjoy its gardens and a proposed new community café.

Grants from Thurrock Council, Riverside Community Big Local and a £10,000 award from Tarmac’s Landfill Communities Fund* have enabled the gardens to be overhauled and major landscaping work to be carried out, making the Park attractive once again to local residents and visitors to the area.  This funding will be used for the transformation of the landscape garden on the East side of the Park.  This will include removing dead trees, adding new plants, to help create biodiversity to encourage local wildlife, and a clean-up of the large decorative rocks.

As well as this work, the organising group, the Friends of Grays Town Park have plans to revamp the shelter, turning it into a community café; and upgrade the steps at the Bridge Road entrance, to allow for better access for people with disabilities and families visiting the Park.  It is hoped the landscaping work will be completed and the café up and running by the end of May 2021. And the new entrance will be ready be the end of July.

Tina Holland from the Friends of Grays Town Park said: “This is a really exciting year for our Park.  With the aid of these grants, we can start to return the Park to its former glory, whilst catering for our visitors’ 21st Century wishes.”

John Cox, Tarmac’s South East Terminals Operations manager who is based at the nearby West Thurrock Depot, added: “Given that the park was originally a brick quarry in the 1800s, it seems very appropriate that another building materials company, Tarmac has been able to award a grant for the landscaping work to take place. 

“We are pleased that this important local green space will be rescued and improved so that the local community and visitors to the area can enjoy it again.”

The Park was formerly a brick quarry in the 1800’s. It was the first public space in the area to be given to the people in 1887. In 1930 a shelter was built in the park, by a local family in remembrance of their husband and father Jonathan Seabrooke, a prominent local businessman and owner of Seabrooke brewery in Grays. It remains a fine example of a Victorian park.

Play Streets would you like one in our area

Play streets typically allow children to play freely, without organised games or activities.
This means children can cycle, scoot, skate, chalk, skip, hopscotch, kick a ball around and make up games. They are joyous and active!

Would you like to turn your road into a regular ‘Play Street’ for your children and your neighbour’s children to play safely?

Play streets give children a chance to play, be active and make friends on their street, whilst also building community and encouraging active citizenship. As well as these immediate benefits, they can help to bring about a longer-term culture-change, where streets are safer and friendlier and it is more normal for children to play out.

To find out more, use the link below or contact;


Start a play street on your street – Playing Out An easy introduction to getting started with play streets where you live. Find tips and resources for making your street a place to play

Thurrock Soup. See how the winner can help you

Another great Thurrock Soup event took place recently on Thursday 22nd April, held on Zoom. Over 30 people joined our virtual event to hear three inspiring pitches from budding Thurrock entrepreneurs.

Once again, there was some fantastic energy and excitement, and all pitchers and attendees were able to hear about available funding and free business advice as well as making some invaluable connections during the networking sessions.

It was a really close contest, but the winning pitch with the most votes of the evening was from Carolyn Djebbari, from South Ockendon, for her start-up enterprise WeAreCreativesThurrock.UK, which is a platform to champion the arts and culture in Thurrock. This will offer a free page to local artists, creative. businesses and community groups so that they can be instantly found under one creative umbrella.Carolyn won £250 for her social enterprise, thanks to the event sponsors, the Port of Tilbury. Carolyn said ’I want to personally thank the sponsors ‘Port of Tilbury’ for the award and Teresa O’Keeffe and Billy Masters for running the Thurrock Soup event which actively encourages people to be agents of change for Thurrock. I never would have got here had it not been for the Thurrock School of Social Entrepreneurs and in particular Michelle Shavdia who mentors social entrepreneurs throughout our borough

’.If you have a great idea that you would like to discuss or a business start-up that you are seeking funding or support for, please get in touch;

FREE Google Digital Garage sessions for residents of Thurrock

News from Thurrock Adult Community College. The South East Learning and Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) and the Digital Skills Partnership have been working with Google to organise some more free digital skills training. These are free for all residents in the south east of England – including of course in Thurrock

Visit the website by click here

Courses include

  • Finding you career goals
  • Updating your CV
  • Build your personal Brand Online
  • Productivity for Working Remotely
  • Safety First: Protect yourself Online
  • Keep your Family Safe Online
  • Four #IamRemarkable

Bring beauty to the hoardings

The hoardings around the building site east end of the Beach Park are looking fantastic. Come in from the Manor Way / Curzon Drive enterence to admire the view.
Big shout out to the wonderful Cherylea for all her hard work.

Help for Pupils at Thameside School

Children at Thameside Primary School were thrilled to receive 20 brand new Chromebooks from the Riverside Community Big Local.

The new devices will make a huge difference to children with no access to online learning or who are sharing one device between a family.

The school has already loaned out all of its devices and has a waiting list of pupils who will benefit from the Chromebooks.

Chair of the Riverside Community Big Local, Andy Blakey, said;

“We know just how hard it has been for many families trying their best to home school their children whilst working – and we know that for many families in Grays it’s just not possible to make sure that all children have the IT kit they need.

“We hope that these new laptops will improve access to learning for 20 young people here in Grays.”

Mrs Lynne Billinghurst, Senior Deputy Head at Thameside Primary School said;

“We are very grateful to the Riverside Community Big Local for their support.”

Christmas dinners for the Community

Riverside Community Big Local were kept busy over the Christmas period in the planning and execution of our Christmas dinners for the Community!

The idea was put forward by Renae Leybourn, one of our board members, and it wasn’t long before The Fleet in Purfleet had offered to cook the 50 meals for former rough sleepers, those who are vulnerable and isolated and those who had no access to a hot meal.

But these weren’t any dinners, these are Christmas Dinners, to be delivered chilled on Christmas Eve ready to be reheated on Christmas Day. Even the bags were a gift-donated by Ghurka Kitchen in Grays and each bag included the meal with all the trimmings, a Christmas hat and a special treat-a mini Christmas Cake-made and supplied by South Essex College.

The pictures show us happy elves preparing the bags and getting ready to deliver them on Christmas Eve.

A special Thank you to all at the Fleet-Dermot, Alison and Holly.

We have hit our targets

Supporting Communities with Zoom Riverside Community has been helping communities to continue to gather and has reached three milestones this week

Over 1000 Zoom meetings

Over a quarter of a million minutes on Zoom

Over 5000 people connecting via Zoom