Community Payback: resurrecting art in Great Linford Park

Elliot Caddy is a Probation Service Officer in Thames Valley Community Rehabilitation Company. In this blog, he discusses one of their most recent projects.


Despite having to endure enormous challenges over the course of this year, the Thames Valley Community Payback team look set to end 2020 by resurrecting a long-neglected work of art.

Bringing a dragon back to life

Located in the children’s play area of Milton Keynes’ Great Linford Park, the well recognisable stone sculpture of a snoozing dragon has been a well-loved part of the children’s play area for more than 30 years. However – three long decades exposed to the elements had clearly taken a heavy toll on the beast, leaving it in a run down, unsightly, and exhausted looking state.

At least that was the case until our service users teamed up with local artist Roland Lawar and played a key role in bringing the Great Linford Park dragon sculpture back to its former glory. Thanks to their hard work and commitment, the local children were surprised – and absolutely delighted – to find their beloved dragon looking vibrant and proud once more.

dragon repairs.png

(Left: the original state of the statue, right: the statue restored)

Making it easier to navigate

And our group did not stop there. Throughout the rest of the park, the previously dilapidated and long-neglected paths have been brought back to their original condition. Over several working days, service users removed the grass and moss encroaching from the sides, then sheared away the overgrown bushes and brambles that were partially obstructing much of the pathway and becoming increasingly difficult for people to avoid as they went about their day.

One long-time resident remarked that she didn’t even know the paths had straight edges. Another elderly resident who is reliant on a wheelchair commented: “They’ve done a great job, it now looks lovely, much easier to navigate and makes the place look cared for. Big thanks to the teams who have done this work.”

Looking ahead

The CP team in Milton Keynes will end this unusual year on a positive note by tackling the wooded area on Downs Barn, which is currently considered a problematic area due to the antisocial activities that occur there. It is early days, but the team are hoping to reinstate the pathways and regain control of the surrounding foliage, whilst also clearing away the bundles of waste, trash, and drug paraphernalia that remains. The end goal of the project is for families, schools, and residents to once again feel safe enough to use the area for the purposes of which it was once intended.


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