Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000

Description

The Aviva fund will enhance the creation of an exciting Play Zone in Manor Farm Park to stimulate, activate, energise and challenge children and adults. The Friends' 2017 survey of park users and the local community showed that more play facilities for all ages were a high priority, along with a café and toilets. Birmingham City Council will use Section 106 funding from a nearby development to create the Play Zone on an area of parkland enclosing the existing small playground. The Friends of Manor Farm Park want to supplement the limited range of equipment and activities which can be included in their plan.

The Play Zone is a key element of our overall vision of making the park a more vibrant and integral part of the local community, with a range of activities and events supported by new amenities. This involves renovating disused buildings to create a café, toilets and community space at the main entrance. An extended play area will encourage more people to use the park, hence increasing the sustainability of the cafe and vice versa, while supporting and improving the health and wellbeing of the local community.

There is much evidence that outdoor play and exercise improves physical and mental wellbeing, as does simply being in the open air in a natural landscape and environment. Similarly, whole family and intergenerational activities develop socialising, well-being, co-operation and a sense of community. The Play Zone would therefore contribute to mental and physical wellbeing within the community. The park is surrounded by high density housing with a mix of old and new estates so accessible to thousands of families within a mile.

We want to see whole families playing and exercising together. An Aviva funded zipwire would be an exciting addition to the Play Zone as it would appeal to all ages. The grant would also enable us to purchase some items of outdoor gym equipment that parents can use while supervising their children, as well as offering older children, teenagers and other adults an opportunity to incorporate additional types of exercise alongside walking and running in the park. This would make the Play Zone more inclusive and attractive than the Section 106 money alone could achieve. Once installed the equipment should have a minimum lifespan of 15 years. The Council work will start in 2019 so the extra funding is needed urgently to create a unified project.

The Section 106 funding will cover drainage works, landscaping and provision of some more simple equipment for the youngest age group. The Friends have a separate funding application underway to install some benches so parents can rest and relax and watch their children play, as well as allowing people with limited mobility to enjoy the park and its Cadbury heritage (the park was once George Cadbury's former estate).

The Friends regularly organise events and activities in the park which are a combination of energetic, educational and entertaining (175 people of all ages came on our recent Bat Walk). The Play Zone will reinforce and complement these activities and provide greater opportunities for community engagement and cohesion.

The Friends play a vital role in raising money to make sure that the park thrives and develops to meet the needs of the local community while retaining its natural environmental beauty for all to enjoy. Without our several hundred members and a team of regular volunteers the park and the community would suffer given massive funding cuts to park maintenance, wardens, rangers and managers over recent years. The Friends are committed to working hard so that more and more people can enjoy the pleasures of this wonderful and historical outdoor space while enhancing their physical and mental health and wellbeing. If successful the Aviva Fund would play a significant role in moving towards our vision and goal of ultimately attaining Green Flag status for this beautiful natural park in the heart of Birmingham.

Friends of Manor Farm Park

Moment of Pride

The Friends have worked with the City Council to enhance the park's environment and amenities to benefit users, the local community and wildlife since 1985, so we are very proud of the stewardship role of our dedicated committee, enthusiastic members, hard-working volunteers and eager participants.

Location: Bristol Road South, Birmingham B31 2AB, UK