Looking after our parks and green spaces

Post date 7 December 2018

How can we ensure a brighter future for our Parks? Public parks are at the very heart of our communities, they act as ‘green lungs’ for our cities and define our sense of place.  Our parks and green spaces provide vital benefits to us as individuals, communities, economies, towns and cities and are a barometer of how we are responding to social and environmental challenges. At a time when public finances are under considerable pressure, innovative solutions are required to help sustain our parks and green spaces.

In July 2018 a consortium of local partners was awarded grant funding by Nesta through the ‘Rethinking Parks’ programme in order to establish a Parks Foundation for the Bristol and Bath area. The main partners are Bristol City Council, Bath & North East Somerset Council, Bristol Parks Forum, and The Natural History Consortium, working alongside Quartet Community Foundation and Bristol Green Capital Partnership. This collaborative approach will test how public giving, volunteering and social enterprise can be encouraged to benefit parks for public use and enjoyment. The work will build on and learn from Bournemouth Parks Foundation - the pioneering foundation that was supported by Rethinking Parks in 2014 and similar models that have been successful in the US, such as the Seattle Parks Foundation.

What difference will it make?
The Bristol & Bath Parks Foundation aims to make a difference by opening up a new route to charitable giving including individual and corporate donations, gifts and legacies. It will not replace the role of the Councils in managing and maintaining our parks, but identify projects that enhance and add value to our public parks and green spaces. It will be about connecting parks with people and valuing the role and contribution of volunteers. The Foundation will work alongside organisations with a similar agenda - for example those working to sustain wildlife in our cities, promote health and well-being or develop opportunities for volunteering and community involvement. There will be opportunities to find out more about the Foundation over future months, including a series of stakeholder workshops.

How will it be structured?
The Foundation will be an independent charity (a Charitable Incorporated Organisation), with a board of trustees that contribute a broad range of skills and experience.

What is the timescale for the Foundation?
The aim is to have a charitable structure registered in early 2019 and to develop a 5 year business plan and fundraising strategy. The aim is to launch the Bristol & Bath Parks Foundation at the Festival of Nature in June 2019.

How can I get involved?
Up Our Street will be hosting a Neighbourhood Conversation in the new year for residents in Lawrence Hill and Easton. Keep an eye on our ebulletin and social media, or get in touch with Saliha on 0117 954 2834 or saliha@upourstreet.org.uk