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Bristol Parks Forum Update

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Happy New Year!

In this update: 


Love Your Park Volunteer Celebration 29th January

Have you booked your ticket for the Love Your Park Get Together and Volunteer celebration on Saturday 29th January on Zoom from 10 to 12.30pm?

If not, Book here!  

Your Park Bristol & Bath are inviting all park volunteers to join together for a morning to get to know one another, look back on all that was achieved in 2021 and hear from Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England.

Tony will talk about the importance of our inner city parks in restoring our natural world and their role in delivering 'A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment'.

As well as his role for Natural England, Tony Juniper CBE is a Fellow with the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. He is a former Director of Friends of the Earth, Executive Director with WWF UK, President of the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts and environment advisor to HRH the Prince of Wales. He is the author of many books, including the best-selling What has Nature ever done for us?

At the event Your Park will be giving out awards celebrating the volunteers in Bristol and Bath who go the extra mile for their green space and community.

You can vote for one of the eight shortlisted groups in the People’s Choice award. Vote here for one of the following projects:-
  • Bath WI Edible Garden
  • Dame Emily Park Project (Bristol)
  • Friends of Brislington Brook (Bristol)
  • Friends of Hedgemead Park (B&NES)
  • Friends of Royate Hill LNR (Bristol)
  • Grow Batheaston (B&NES)
  • Grow Green Carolina (Bristol)
  • Hillfields Community Garden (Bristol)

You can only vote once and have until 5pm on the 26th January to cast your vote. The winner will be given a cash prize of £200, potentially in addition to a prize in the Community Impact awards!!

Look forward to seeing you on the 29th January.


Council Budget

The first look at the Council’s budget for 2022/23 has been published today in the papers for next week’s Cabinet meeting.
At a first look there seems to be only a relatively small reduction of £25k in the Parks Service budget, which they hope to cover by raising further income through Future Parks.

Parks and Green Space Strategy

Bristol City Council Park Service has started the process of writing a new Parks & Green Space strategy. This is the long term plan to set out the service’s approach to tackling the climate emergency, the ecological emergency, health inequality, inclusive neighbourhoods, safeguarding and financial sustainability.

On the theme of “Inclusive Placemaking”, they would like to speak to Friends of Groups, as key stakeholders, to better understand the interests and experiences of the communities using Parks and Green Spaces.

Please feed in your experiences here:

The insights and stories will be presented at a series of co-design engagement events this spring and will help the Parks Service to set out its approach to working with communities going forward. These events are planned to ensure cross council involvement in the creation of the strategy and will be attended by internal council services and other key stakeholders.

Separate threads of work will cover other themes such as the ecological and climate emergencies.

Battery Power Tool Training

14th / 21st January and 11th February 2022
Ella has some good news about battery operated power tool training…
In January & February will run training courses for Volunteers who have use of battery operated power tools.
In order to make sure we are looking after you properly as volunteers, in the same as our staff, we need to do this in a more formal way than might have happened in the past. We need to take the work you do to improve the site seriously, which means training must also be taken seriously. This relates not only to Risk Assessments and paperwork(!) but to the practical support we give you to keep you safe.
To make this happen, we will train you over the course of one day, and follow the training up with a site visit to ensure you are able to work with the kit confidently and safely.
We will record the training on the Parks Volunteer Database, which will automatically flag up when your training needs refreshing or if it lapses through lack of use. This means we need anyone who is trained using the power tools to have a profile on the Volunteer Database and to record the work they do using the tools. This is quick and easy and can be done with a few clicks at the end of each month, or more frequently (depending on your preference).
The requirement will be for each trained volunteer to use the tools at least 4 times per year, including one supervised session per year (we will arrange these annually in late Autumn/early Winter to get you set up for the next season of tool use).
The final piece of information we are required to keep a record of, is Hand Arm Vibration (HAV) Forms. This is to protect you from the negative impacts of vibrating machinery use. All our staff complete these forms, for their own safety, too.
To recap, the key pieces of info are:
  • Risk Assessment for tools use must be signed off by your Area Coordinator
  • Battery Tools must be used at least 4x per year to keep training active (less will mean needing to attend a full training refresh)
  • Use must be recorded on the Volunteer Database (just date and hours)
  • HAV forms to be filled in (this will be via feedback qu.’s in the Volunteer Database, so no extra form finding/sending)
The training will take place on:
We can accommodate up to 2 volunteers from each group initially, to ensure we allow the several groups who need the training to book on during this first run of the training.
Please book on as soon as possible to secure a place.

Trees and Wildlife in your local park

Bristol Tree Forum have a very helpful Website Trees of Bristol that has some great tools to find out about the trees in your local park.
They have also now added a feature that allows you to look at the iNaturalist records for your park so that you can see all the wildlife sightings that have been recorded via iNatualist.
This is likely to be a very useful feature for encouraging people to record wildlife on your site.
There is a guide on how to access the site and the information here.
Thank you to Dougal for putting this together

Frog & Toad Spawn Count: January 1st to 31st March 

Take part by recording any frog or toad spawn you encounter this spring - whether in your garden pond or in one of your local green spaces.
Following the lead from the Somerset Wildlife Trust who are running the count as a citizen science project for the first time this year a group has been set up to record sightings in Bristol.
Like SWT they’ve set up an iNaturalist group for the count, which you can view here:
Details on how to set up use an iNaturalist account and a free Guide on Frog and Toad Spawn can be found here: 
Why take part: 
Frogs and toads are often under recorded, largely due to them being so familiar that many people don't expect a record to be of significant value. However, frogs and toads are indicator species, as they absorb water directly through their skin, making them especially vulnerable to water pollutants like pesticides. 
Recording these species can show potential fluctuations in population and distribution and also any changes in seasonality/ effects of climate change.
Frog spawn usually starts appearing as early as January into February. Toad spawn usually starts appearing in February into March. So start keeping an eye out now and remember to record any sightings! 

One Tree Per Child Volunteer Programme

The One Tree per Child website now has the listing for tree planting events for January, February and March.
The dates and a link to the programme are available here.
Rob Acton-Campbell
Bristol Parks Forum   
BPF meetings for 2022:
Sat 26th February, Summerhill Methodist Church, St George – Sat 2nd July – Sat 15th October – all 9.30am to 12.30pm - venues for July & Oct to be confirmed

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