Future Parks project

Background

In 2019 the BCP region was one of only nine places across the UK selected to take part in the Future Parks programme which puts green spaces at the heart of local communities. This success brought with it a share of £6.2 million of Future Parks Accelerator funding, and £5 million worth of support from experts in conservation, fundraising, volunteering and park management.

Future Parks Accelerator is a collaboration between the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the National Trust and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).

The Future Parks project has helped us understand that how we design our towns and greenspaces has a vital role to play in supporting the vision for the BCP region as a healthy, resilient, green and world class place. Jaz will take you on a short look around our place showing you how we can work with nature to make that happen.

Revitalising Community Parks

In the first year of the Future Parks project, and working in partnership with independent local charity The Parks Foundation, three BCP ‘Pilot Parks’ were selected in which to explore ways of increasing biodiversity, inspiring local residents about the environment, and testing ways in which we can successfully bring urban community parks to life. Those parks were:

  • Winton Recreation Ground in Bournemouth
  • Watermans Park in Christchurch
  • Alexandra Park in Poole

Initiatives included re-wilding, upgrading or opening a café, trialling health activities, and improving park access – ensuring the local community were engaged throughout the process. Details can be found at www.parksfoundation.org.uk/future-parks-project

Our Pilot Parks video describes project successes and how the they have fed into an expanded new ‘Nature Recovery Project’ which includes a further eight parks in the BCP region

Nature Recovery project 2022-2023

The work and achievements of the three Pilot Parks has been condensed into an infographic report – download the Pilot Parks report 2021-22

In August 2021 The Parks Foundation secured a further £224,000 from the Green Recovery Challenge Fund to build on that work in a further eight parks across the BCP region, with the aim to help create a nature recovery network across our local area – known as the ‘Nature Recovery’ project.

This brings to 11 the number of ‘Future Parks’ now being transformed in partnership with The Parks Foundation; the additional eight being Branksome Recreation Ground, Haskells Recreation Ground, Jumpers Common, Kinson Manor Playing Fields, Muscliff Park, Pelhams Park, Slades Farm and Strouden Park.

This second phase of the Future Parks project began in autumn 2022.

Green Heart Parks

A model for rejuvenating our community parks

As a result of the work in the Pilot Parks, we now understand that our community open spaces can thrive when we work in partnership. The co-management of our community parks, where BCP Council continues with its current level of maintenance and The Parks Foundation provides additional benefits including fundraising, community engagement, nature education, biodiversity improvements and cafe management. Continual collection of data about park use, satisfaction and changes in demand will help create spaces that communities can cherish.

Green Heart Parks

Green Heart Parks

The model is the result of work in our Pilot Parks over 3 years

Green Infrastructure Strategy

Investing in a healthy, biodiverse, resilient and world class region 2022-2031

We want our parks and greenspaces across BCP to encourage healthy living and wellbeing in our communities, strengthen resilience to climate change, support nature recovery and biodiversity, and support economic recovery and prosperity. With this in mind, we have also developed a 10-year Green Infrastructure Strategy and Business Plan, which aims to achieve these goals through 4 main principles: 

  1. Rethinking the future of parks and green spaces increasing the functionality of spaces as natural health centres and green living rooms, rewilding urban greenspaces and promoting nature-based solutions to help adapt to a changing climate
  2. Connecting the Green Netstrengthening nature recovery and green travel networks and creating two new landscape-scale countryside and coastal parks
  3. Greening the urban environmentgreen roofs/walls, greener streets/public realm and celebrating trees, and embedding green infrastructure into new housing and regeneration areas
  4. Championing green infrastructureadvocating green infrastructure benefits and changing mindsets for a greener future

The documents below expand on our goals, and describe proposals for an ambitious ‘Green Net’ of parks, nature reserves, woodlands, beaches and rivers to rethink the urban environment, develop green travel networks and embed green infrastructure into new housing and regeneration areas.

The Stour Valley Park

A landscape scale project

One of two proposed Strategic Parks in our Green Infrastructure Strategy, the Stour Valley Park is described by our partner, the National Trust, as one of their top ten development projects nationally. This is a landscape-scale project which aims to provide connected greenspace through the Stour Valley – from Christchurch Harbour to Kingston Lacey along a 25km stretch of river.

This ground-breaking project explores improving public access and managing the spaces along the Stour Valley corridor – bringing landowners, the public, user groups and professionals together to shape the park into a landscape where people and nature thrive. Through this park, we want to improve prospects for wildlife, visitors and the local community, health, heritage, economy, and mitigate climate change.

For more information:

Working in Partnership

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The Parks Foundation

An independent charity devoted to enhancing the BCP area’s parks and green spaces for everyone to enjoy