Together we can change lives through Bath's parks.
Our parks are where we teach our children and grandchildren to ride their bikes, where we exercise, bees pollinate and - more recently during national lockdowns – we have met to support a loved one or ‘clear our heads’.
You may not have considered it, but our parks are at the centre of our community and lives. Can you imagine our area with overgrown parks or no play equipment? We once visited a local park and heard no bird song.
But parks are more than just recreational spaces with pretty flowers and slides. They have very real benefits for people, and the planet.
The cooling benefit of parks can extend to half-mile from the boundaries. By planting 20 trees alone in Bath we can mitigate over 11,000lbs of carbon throughout the trees' lives. Trees also filter other nasties in the atmosphere, further cleaning our air.
The World Health Organisation states that urban green spaces help improve mental health, reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, reduce obesity, risk of type 2 diabetes and improve pregnancy outcomes.
But, deprivation has a severe effect on people’s ability to access outdoor space.
One in eight households in England do not have a garden and people from non-White backgrounds are more than twice as likely to have no access to outdoor space compared to white people.
Your Park Bristol & Bath is passionate about equal access to outdoor space and are committed to breaking down barriers which stop people from benefitting. We just need to establish our Park Activator Programme as a permanent catalyst for social and environmental change.
The Parks Foundation is an innovative concept which started in the USA. Your Park Bristol and Bath was the second Parks Foundation to launch in the UK and we remain one of just five.
We were established through a partnership between local councils, Bristol Parks Forum, the Natural History Consortium, Future Parks Accelerator and Nesta's Rethinking Parks. We are the go-to organisation for parks and green spaces in the area.
Our work improves nature and biodiversity through community gardening, but we are also people-focussed. We use existing, underused parks as the catalyst for social change (rather than carrying-out maintenance which remains local authorities’ responsibility). All projects are designed by beneficiaries.
We are completely independent of – but work in partnership with - other charities and local authorities to ensure communities’ needs are met.
For Bath's People and Parks
Your donation will help to pay for our work in Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES) including our Park Activator Programme in Brickfields Park, Twerton where we will:
- Host twice weekly community gardening sessions from April to October (creating bug hotels, wildflower planting, bird box design and installation; building steps, pathways, ponds and shelters; maintenance and clearance; and installing equipment).
- Facilitate community consultations.
- Host yoga, nature trails, dog friendly events and mindfulness sessions.
- Plant seeds, bulbs, plants, trees, pond resources and other capital with the community to improve biodiversity.
- Establish a Friends of Brickfields group to help maintain the space once developed.
We are working with B&NES Council and Make Space for Girls; we are completing a youth consultation to define residents' needs, especially ensuring young girls are catered for in terms of sports equipment, safe social furniture and layout, and activities available.
Well, Brickfields is in Twerton. Twerton is in the top 10% most deprived areas of England. 23% of Twerton's residents live in purpose-built blocks of flats with extremely limited outdoor space.
There are over twice the amount of Gypsy or Irish Travellers and people from mixed or BAME backgrounds compared to B&NES average. Over double the amount of people compared to B&NES as a whole are in very bad health, are long term unemployed, have never been employed, are carers, long-term sick or disabled; and 16% of residents are single parents, again, over twice the B&NES average. All of these issues can contribute to low green space usage.
When talking to people in the area, they tell us they feel excluded. Only 42% own a car and the most popular form of transport is taxi which people use to do a weekly shop and return home.
Also Bath (and Bristol) has declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency. We need innovative ways to complement Bath’s Clean Air Zone with nature-based climate solutions which increase carbon sequestration and offset emissions.
Our work really can benefit people and the planet.
Who will it help?
A wide range of people living Bath including:
- people feeling isolated or lonely
- single parents
- adults with learning disabilities
- people from non-White backgrounds
- elderly people
- people with mental or physical health problems
- homeless people
- victims of human trafficking.
We expect around 300 people to attend our sessions in a year.
Don't just take our word for it
After taking part in our park sessions:
- 94% of people now feel able to connect with others
- 80% feel they now belong to their community
- 70% understand more about can make a difference to the local environment
- 63% say they have more opportunities to meet others
- 63% say they feel closer to others
- 40% feel they have learnt new skills
- 35% are spending more time with family or friends.
Ismail said: "Each tower block has 14 floors. Large families have four or five children and don’t have a garden. A lot of the families have a lot of Barriers because they are new to the country and English is not their first language... They need organisations like Your Park to help them access green spaces... This is very important after lockdown, families have little space inside, and the children don’t have anything to do. After the project I saw people using green space more, doing activities and learning how to do new things and learn new skills. Learning about planting wildflowers, seeing people be more physically active and connecting with nature."