Dear Friend of Horfield Common,
Please see below for the latest news and updates from FOHC.
1. Changes to FOHC’s terms of membership – Please respond to this
2. Bristol City Council’s Grounds Maintenance (Parks) consultation
3. Horfield Common Tree Plan Update
iv) Practical Working Party in Wellington Hill Playing Field to clear scrub – 25th October 2014
v) Tree Plan Fundraising Campaign
vi) Wildlife and Biodiversity Group
vii) Horfield Common Edible Garden Project
viii) Fundraising Internship
ix) Project Ardagh
x) Winter Wanderland – 7th February 2015
1. Changes to FOHC membership
At our most recent AGM, the committee agreed that our constitution would be amended so that membership of FOHC would become free.
This is to ensure that all who would like to are able to join, and also because we think that as Horfield Common is a public space, it is important that all people who would like to contribute their views about the way in which it is managed, improved and maintained are able to do so and having a free membership aligns more closely with this ethos.
However, we do need to maintain accurate records of our membership (funding applications, for example frequently ask how many members the group has), so will now ask members to confirm annually that they would like to continue to be a Friend of Horfield Common for the following year.
So, please can you complete the simple form at: http://bit.ly/1s3lA4l to confirm that you wish to remain a member for this year? It shouldn’t take more than 2 minutes and will help us to ensure that our records are as accurate as possible. You can remain on our mailing list to receive updates without joining as a member – if you’d like to do this – please let us know?
2. Bristol City Council Parks Maintenance Consultation
Bristol City Council’s Parks Department is currently running a consultation to ask Bristol residents how they would like to see Parks and Green Spaces in the city maintained and managed in the future. You may be aware that Parks do not attract statutory funding (ie Local Authorities do not have to provide funding to maintain them other than to ensure that they do not present health and/or safety risks), which means that maintenance budgets are under extreme pressure.
There is a lot of work taking place nationally by groups seeking to develop new ways of paying for the upkeep of parks and green spaces (see http://www.nesta.org.uk/blog/11-projects-are-rethinking-parks; http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/jun/26/uk-parks-crisis-budget-cuts-campaigners; http://theparksalliance.org/ for examples).
Bristol will be changing the way that it manages Parks and Green Spaces from February when the current contracts for Parks Maintenance come to an end. It has previously been our experience that certain parks and green spaces in the city have attracted considerably higher levels of resource in terms of maintenance/park-keepers etc than others. It is important – if we are to avoid going backwards in terms of the progress we have made recently - that Horfield Common is managed as one whole site, not as 3 separate ‘bits’ of green space, and we are keen to understand what the new regime will provide in terms of a minimum standard of maintenance. We will keep you updated about developments with this as we find out more.
3. Horfield Common Tree Plan
We are delighted that the Horfield Common Tree Planting Plan has now been formally approved by Bristol City Council so that we can begin planting new trees on the common this planting season (which runs from November – May).
You can view the final plan here: http://bit.ly/1wBn9ax, and read the comments and responses to input from the consultation period here: http://bit.ly/1xPH1I4, for information. Thank you to all who took part in this.
4. Practical Working Party in Wellington Hill Playing Field to clear scrub
To support delivery of the tree plan, we are planning a practical volunteering/working party in Wellington Hill Playing Field on Saturday 25th October from 10am. We have been working closely with Tree Bristol to plan this work, which will enable Tree Bristol to enhance the existing hedgerow with new planting of species that will support increasing wildlife and biodiversity. Further information about the work that we will be undertaking, and the reasons for it are available here: http://bit.ly/1v9C8Kx.
Please do come along and get involved if you are interested in helping out with practical work on the common. If you can, please bring hand tools (Pruners, Loppers, Heavy gloves and Arm and Leg protection) and wear sturdy shoes. There is a lot of work to do, and it may be that we need to have a few sessions to complete it all, but we will be starting with the 25th and hope to make good progress on the day.
There is some litter picking, and light scrub clearance which is suitable for children to undertake – so please do bring young people along if they are interested.
5. Tree Plan Fundraising Campaign
We launched a community fundraising campaign to pay for the new trees for the common at our Summer Picnic in August. The response from local families, residents and businesses has been fantastic. The below businesses are amongst those who have sponsored new trees – supporting improvements to the common for the benefit of all of us in the local community:
Animal Health Centre http://animalhealthcentre.org/
Bishopston Matters http://www.bishopstonmatters.co.uk/
Gloucestershire County Cricket Club http://www.gloscricket.co.uk/
Horders Electrical http://www.horders.co.uk
Rob Needs Roofing
Room 212 http://www.room212.co.uk/
The Way Design http://www.thewaydesign.co.uk/
Additionally, a number of local families have chosen to commemorate their loved ones with Memorial Trees on the common, which is wonderful. Individual residents have also sponsored trees, bought the limited edition T-Shirts designed by local Illustrator, and long-time FOHC supporter, Bett Norris and made individual donations through our website or in person.
We have also received funding support from Horfield & Lockleaze Neighbourhood Partnership – through both their Well-being and Green Capital funding streams which will pay for at least 10 trees to be planted; Henleaze, Westbury-on-Trym and Stoke Bishop Neighbourhood Partnership have supported us with funding which will sponsor at least 3 new trees, and our application to Bishopston, Cotham and Redland Neighbourhood Partnership is pending, but has been recommended and if successful will pay for at least another 10 trees to be planted which is fantastic.
At present, we are waiting to hear the outcome from our BCR NP application and another external application. If we are successful in those – we will be able to plant all 58 new trees this planting season which is an incredible achievement. We’ll let you know as soon as we do when we reach our target!
Thank you very much to all who have supported the fundraising campaign to date – it is very much appreciated!
6. Wildlife and Biodiversity Group
Our Wildlife and Biodiversity Group is putting together a work plan for the coming year. We are currently recruiting a volunteer co-ordinator for this group who will be able to help organise practical working parties, and support the group to plan effectively and fundraise for improvement work. There are a range of projects in progress including improving access to the pond, planting wildflower and ‘no-mow’ meadows on the common to improve habitats for wildlife and encourage biodiversity and the Horfield Common wildlife survey project. These are in addition to the tree planting plan and hedgerow enhancement in Wellington Hill Playing Field, so there is a lot happening!
If you would like to get involved and support the work of this group – please do get in touch.
7. ‘Horfield Common Edible Garden’ project
In November we will be launching the Horfield Common Edible Garden Project with a presentation at the Ardagh from Incredible Edible’s Sara Venn, who has been working with FOHC volunteers to develop plans for some of the planting beds inside the Ardagh.
If you are interested in growing food, and want to work with other like-minded local residents, but are not ready to take on an allotment or a full-time commitment – this project could be for you. We are recruiting a team of volunteers to work on this project, and are delighted to have the support of the Edible Bristol project which has inspired food growing in public and community spaces across the city over the last year – including a range of Parks and Green Spaces. See http://ediblebristol.org.uk/ for more information about this great project & come along to the event in November to find out more. More details available on the website soon!
8. Fundraising Internship
We have been incredibly lucky to have recent graduate, Anna-May working with us for 8 weeks through a UWE-funded internship scheme for voluntary organisations. Anna-May has done a fantastic job writing funding bids, promoting the tree plan and developing links with other groups across Bristol.
Anna-May is going to stay on as a volunteer with FOHC to lead the ‘Horfield Common Edible Garden’ project which is fantastic news for us. We will also be launching a crowdfunding campaign developed by Anna-May to bring APE Project CIC back to Horfield Common in 2015. The outdoor and adventure play activities that APE Project delivered last year were incredibly popular and well-attended (up to 40 families were attending every week) so we are really keen to get them back on to the common for the long term. More information will be available about this crowdfunding campaign as soon as we have finalised the Tree Planting Plan fundraising campaign at the end of October.
9. Project Ardagh
Thanks to all who attended the meeting in March at the Friends Meeting House. We have been working steadily behind the scenes to move the project forward and are now intending to undertake a series of visits to other local projects which have been through the Community Asset Transfer process to learn from them, and better understand the different ways that facilities and projects are being made sustainable. Sarah, our Secretary will be in touch directly with all those who expressed an interest in getting involved at the meeting in March, but if there are any other FOHC members who would like to join the team moving this project forward – please do get in touch.
10. Window Wanderland
We are really pleased to be taking part in a new project in February which aims to bring a little bit of cheer to the winter months! Winter Wanderland will take place from 5-8pm on Saturday 7 February 2015. The organisers are planning to turn Bishopston into a Wanderland by inviting any artists who live in the Bishopston Ward to create a window display in their own homes for one evening only.
Artists are invited to respond in any way they like (a show, performance, projection, set piece etc) bearing in mind that it is a family friendly event! We will be working with local artists to develop window displays at the Ardagh as part of this event and invite you to come along and enjoy the outcomes! More information will be available on the website nearer the date.
You can find out more about the project (and how to get involved if you would like to) at: http://windowwanderland.wordpress.com/
As always – if you would like any further information, please do get in touch.
Friends of Horfield Common