Together with BCP Council, we have secured almost £750,000 of funding to deliver our ‘Green Heart Parks’ project in 13 urban parks across Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole.
Cathi Farrer, Chief Executive Officer of The Parks Foundation, said “We’re absolutely delighted to announce Green Heart Parks, a collaborative two-year project which begins this spring.
“The project aims to improve biodiversity, engage and inspire residents with the nature on their doorstep, encourage community growing, and break down barriers for non-park users. We’ll do this by delivering fun and informative nature-based activities, forming gardening groups, planting, and creating important habitats. In some spaces, we’ll also operate community cafés.
“This will build on our work over the last three years, through the Future Parks project and Nature Recovery project, and we’re excited to continue enhancing local spaces for people and wildlife.”
The parks selected for the project are Alexandra Park, Boscombe Chine Gardens, Branksome Recreation Ground, Mudeford Woods, Muscliff Park, Pelhams Park, Redhill Park, Seafield Gardens, Sherborn Crescent Open Space, Slades Farm, Turlin Moore Recreation Ground, Watermans Park, and Winton Recreation Ground.
The parks were chosen based on their size, proximity to a densely populated area or an area of deprivation, as well as their potential for biodiversity improvements and community growing which is a particular focus of the project.
The funding for the project includes £350,000 from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund via BCP Council, a £250,000 grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, £123,000 awarded from Public Health Dorset, and a £20,000 grant for a New to Nature staff placement.
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) is a key part of the UK Government’s Levelling Up agenda. It provides £2.6 billion of new funding for local investment, with all areas of the UK receiving an allocation from the Fund. The government has allocated £4.2 million to BCP Council for investment in communities across Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole for initiatives to deliver value for businesses, people, and place.
Cllr Andy Hadley, Portfolio Holder for Climate Response, Environment and Energy, said “We’re very happy to be working with The Parks Foundation on the Green Heart Parks project, bringing positive outcomes for both our local parks and local residents.
“Spending time outdoors in nature is beneficial for our wellbeing. We hope that this project will encourage residents across the conurbation, especially those who may not usually visit their local park, to explore these spaces, connect with the community, and discover the wonderful nature in our area.”
Thanks to the funding awarded from Public Health Dorset, The Parks Foundation has welcomed a Community Partnerships Officer who will focus on diversifying the audiences using the parks, and a Parks Activator who will deliver fun and informative activities as well as physical enhancements such as planting trees and wildflowers. Both positions are funded for two years.
Rachel Partridge, Deputy Director, Public Health Dorset said “We’re delighted to be able to support the Green Heart Parks project.
“BCP Council has some fantastic parks and greenspaces which make a significant contribution to the health and wellbeing of local people. Green Heart Parks gives us an opportunity to make our community parks even better and enable more of us to enjoy spending time in them making us healthier and happier.
“We’re really pleased that this project with The Parks Foundation, BCP Council, and communities will continue the collaboration that we started originally as part of a national pilot Future Parks Accelerator project, and that the good work and learning delivered through the project can continue.”
Stuart McLeod, Director of England – London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Urban landscapes are integral to our natural heritage, encouraging biodiversity in our towns and cities and offering a corridor for nature. This is why we’re thrilled to support the Green Heart Parks project thanks to National Lottery players.
“The project will connect communities with the green spaces on their doorstep, improving biodiversity and supporting nature’s recovery. It’s fantastic that a New to Nature placement is also part of the project, giving a young person a chance to kick start their career with paid experience working in nature.”
Funding through the New to Nature programme has enabled the Parks Foundation to employ an Assistant Parks Activator for a year-long placement. The role is part of the wider New to Nature programme, funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and led by community charity Groundwork, that targets young people from diverse backgrounds to undertake paid work placements across the natural environment and landscape sector.
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Published June 2023