Bristol City Council and Bath & North East Somerset Council have joined forces to develop a Parks Foundation to support parks across the two cities.
Bristol Parks Forum are a key partner in this project and worked closely with both Councils in the successful bid for funding from the Nesta Rethinking Parks programme.
The Foundation will raise money and support volunteering in parks, but will not take the ownership and maintenance of the parks away from the local authorities.
The Steering Group that is working to setup the Foundation will be issuing regular briefing notes as the work progresses.
Some of the aims of the foundation include:
- Allow residents, visitors, community organisations and local businesses to support improvements and activities in parks;
- Develop sustainable relationships between business, parks and their communities;
- Enable public donations for specific projects both in individual parks and across the cities;
- Use innovative ideas to seek unrestricted public donations, including legacies;
- Work with park groups and others to apply for grants;
- Encourage and facilitate more volunteering in parks;
The Foundation’s 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 (along with our ParkWork project). The Bristol and Bath Parks Foundation will also share lessons learnt with South Gloucestershire and North Somerset Councils in the final 6 months of the project.
The Rethinking Parks Replication Award will assist eight projects supporting new ways of running parks with communities and councils working together to make the most of these vital community assets, including; forming parks foundations, nurturing friends groups and generating new income streams. The award is part of the Rethinking Parks initiative which aims to help those with creative and innovative ideas for running public spaces and plans to help them thrive. The projects that have been awarded funding have all demonstrated excellent potential for changing the way that public space is used and managed, putting communities at the heart of ideas to make parks more sustainable and vibrant.
The setting up of the new Foundation is being managed by a steering group consisting of representatives from the two Councils and the project partners. The steering group has appointed a Project Manager, Sue, to manage the process. The group is working closely with Nesta and the other Rethinking Parks projects, particularly those in Leeds and Redcar & Cleveland who are setting up similar Foundations.