Although, due to the impact of the coronavirus, the world we find ourselves living in has changed dramatically since the project started in August 2019, the project has been able to continue and the importance of providing good quality green space has become even more widely accepted.
A big thank you to everyone who engaged in our Community Conversations during the summer of 2020, we really hope you’ll keep talking to us through the next phase of the project. The FPA team has read through all your responses both verbal and written and we have used what you told us to reflect on our proposals and revise them where needed as to test the ideas in our pilot sites.
Please find below three reports that came from our consultation and communication with you over the summer:
You can still get involved in Birmingham’s Future Parks Project by:
- Inviting the Naturally Birmingham project team to join any virtual meetings you are already having to give your network more information about the project: email Futureparks@bosf.org.uk
- Follow the Naturally Birmingham Project online: @NaturallyBirmi1 – Twitter / Instagram / Facebook to find out what other activities we have planned.
Our Pilot Sites
Children’s Pilot: Dawberry Fields Park
Job’s and Skills: Ward End Park
Health and Wellbeing: Witton Lakes and Perry Common Recreation Ground
Housing: This will be city wide but as projects arise we will test our proposals in specific areas
Information about our proposals and what we wanted to test.
The vision for the project shows the City’s understanding of the role of open spaces as so much more than the view that they are ‘nice to have’. Parks and green spaces also play a crucial role in helping to improve air quality and absorbing carbon emissions and the Naturally Birmingham project also sits firmly within the City’s plan to become carbon neutral by 2030 – Route to Zero (R20).
Cllr John O’Shea, Cabinet Member for Street Scene and Parks at Birmingham City Council, says: “In the early days of Birmingham’s history as a city 130 years ago, the creation of parks and open spaces was a hard-fought battle in the face of rapid transformation, industrialisation and urbanisation – and their importance has remained high ever since. As an asset they contribute enormously to the city, from a health, wellbeing and economic perspective. We can learn from what parks and open spaces of all shapes and sizes did for us in the past and what they are doing in the present. The funding we have received will help us unlock the huge potential in the future.”
Our Big Idea
Naturally Birmingham Housing Objectives
- Nature Based solutions for city resilience with cleaner air and water
- Environmental net gain across the built environment, housing creating flourishing neighbourhoods.
- Equal access to safe, clean and sustainably managed green spaces
Naturally Birmingham Employment Objectives
- Invest in nature based green jobs and skills learning.
- Embed the natural environment in all growth sector strategies
- Green our grey transport routes and extend walking and cycling
Naturally Birmingham Children’s Objectives
- Help our youngest citizens to learn nature based healthy lifestyles and behaviour.
- Connect young people’s attainment with their local environment
- From life start to green future inspire a new green aware generation.
Naturally Birmingham Health Objectives
- Active and connected citizens in the natural environment for improved wellbeing.
- Celebrate people’s deep cultural connections to food, landscape and nature.
- Connect Health & Social Care Services to the natural environment.
SKILLS AND JOBS PILOT PROPOSALS BEING TESTED
- A Skills Showcase – Provide a skills a showcase? This will be a chance to learn all about the skills required and jobs parks, green spaces and the surrounding areas including engineering, leisure, horticulture, business and more. This could involve opportunities in apprenticeships, work experience and volunteering – something for everybody.
- Schools & Young People – should we endorse the learning of ‘green’ skills and support those that have an interest through our Park Ambassadors Roles and Green Academies Programme?
- Business Engagement – should we encourage businesses to get involved through park activities, staff engagement days and recommend corporate social responsibility activities such as looking after local green spaces or having wildlife friendly workplaces?
- Joining forces – should we be building on the amazing community activity and events in the park, supporting more improvements and activities as well as group action and joint ownership?
HEALTH AND WELLBEING PILOT PROPOSALS BEING TESTED
- Health and Wellbeing Activities – should we increase activities in the park to enable greater participation and connection to nature e.g. ‘nature walk’ around the park or ‘sensory gardens’ as taster sessions?
- Participation in the community – should we encourage community groups to lead and share on this, through community allotments, photography, drawing, poetry, singing, cooking and more…?
- Provide greater education & training – should we provide training to Healthcare Professionals (including those in GP practices) to ensure they understand the importance of green spaces and the activities that are available?
- Joining forces – should we build on the amazing community activity and events in the park, supporting more improvements, activities and group action into the future?
CHILDREN’S PILOT PROPOSALS BEING TESTED
- Bringing the park to life – should we showcase greenspaces as part of children’s education, through daily use of the parks to enhance learning? Should we trial a ‘Wildlife Wellbeing Week’ across nearby schools? Should we help you get to school by setting up a walking bus or a cycling group?
- Mentoring & Park Ambassadors – should we work with young people to encourage others to learn about our parks & green spaces by becoming Park Ambassadors and learning life skills through our mentoring programme?
- Increased community involvement – should we encourage communities to set up a Friends of Park group to increase community involvement and build sustainability for both children and their families?
- Provide a menu of opportunities – should we make available a menu of opportunities for young people to engage through work experience, possible routes into future employment or training, volunteering around how to look after a park, growing food and more?
HOUSING – BUILDING BIRMINGHAM BEING TESTED
- Residents at the heart of design – should we create residents ‘Friends of Parks’ type groups for housing green spaces before and after it has been created? Would residents want support in finding different ways to fund looking after the green space around their homes? This could include money for shared tools to look after green space through to building a space for the community to come together.
- Related to housing, there is the question of wider development – There is currently a lot of policy and guidance that planning, and housing need to understand for putting green spaces into homes and all development sites. Should we find a simpler way to pull all this guidance and policy together to help design even better green spaces for Birmingham homes and other developments?
What did we learn from our consultation and communication?
Generally our proposals were supported and this feedback together with our other surveys, previous green space consultations and national project research gave us the confidence that our proposals were valid and that we should go ahead with testing them at our pilot sites.
You can follow what is happening on our pilot sites by following on Social Media @Naturallybirmi1