Budget Cuts to our Parks – Immediate Action Needed!

Save Our Parks PhotoCuts from central government funding mean that Birmingham City Council is again looking to make Budget Cuts and there are serious reductions being proposed to Parks!

At the moment these are only proposals – it’s not too late to change the plans – you have less than 35 days to have your say before the final decisions are made.

The survey closes on 18th January 2017

 

Press release with B&BC Wildlife Trust sent to the Birmingham Post at Christmas:

Greener Birmingham Pledge for the Natural Environment

A coalition of organisations in Birmingham is asking people and businesses to sign a pledge committing to protect the natural environment.

Greener Birmingham have united to ensure that the natural environment remains protected at a time when budgets for parks, green spaces and the natural world are reducing.

Park-Hall-Bluebells-Chris-WishartGeorgia Stokes, CEO of The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country explained: “We are incredibly fortunate to have an abundance of beautiful parks and green spaces in this city providing places for children to play, opportunities for exercise and for communities to come together, and homes for wildlife. We all benefit from the natural world even in ways we don’t realise including absorption of carbon dioxide and improved air quality, soaking up excess water helping to prevent flooding, and multiple health benefits. Research shows just looking at a green space can help us feel happier and less stressed.

At the moment funding for these essential spaces comes from a small budget from the local authority which is reducing each year. Management of green space does have a cost but the return on that investment is great. We are asking Birmingham City Council to rethink the cuts to the budget for parks that will secure the essential roles of park keepers and rangers.”

Witton Lakes Orchard WorkSarah Royal of Birmingham Open Spaces Forum added: “Friends of park groups donate many thousands of hours of their time every year to improve green spaces for the local communities. They add real value to any investment from the local authority or from other sectors. Friends groups are volunteers and need to work with rangers to achieve results.”

Georgia continued: “Long term a more fundamental shift is required to secure these vital spaces.  We need a different model. We all benefit from these green spaces: individuals, businesses, public health, Local Enterprise Partnerships and the West Midlands Combined Authority. We all benefit and we must all be prepared to invest in these spaces for our communities now and in the future.”

The pledge asks people to do everything in their power to:

  • support the development of a 25 year plan for the environment recognising the importance of all green spaces in the city and across the West Midlands Combined Authority.
  • secure investment to protect, manage and enhance the green spaces and corridors of the city.
  • actively manage land within my control to enhance benefits to the natural environment.

To take the pledge for Birmingham’s Natural Environment and to find out more about Greener Birmingham go to ‘I Pledge’ on The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country’s website: www.bbcwildlife.org.uk/Ipledge

 

 

Handsworth Park AutumnBOSF is a volunteer network organisation that brings together all the people in Birmingham with an interest in open spaces. Currently we have funding for two part time support workers, but this funding is time limited. Our main focus is supporting the volunteers who add value to the city’s open spaces.

Who are we?

Currently there are more than 130 BOSF member groups – some are large & organised, others are 2 people & a dog, but all add in a vital role to their open space. There are areas of the city less well represented than others and we need your help to make sure that all of the city can benefit from what a friends group can offer. Studies undertaken by us, with help from Be Active, show that an open space with a friends group benefits from an average of £35k a year additional funding and that BOSF volunteers contribute more than £10k per month in additional grounds maintenance to the city’s open spaces.

Why is there a BOSF?

Cllr Ian Ward speak at Conference1. We set up in 2005 to provide a support network for friends groups and to use that wealth of experience to encourage other individuals to get involved.

2. Our other key role is to facilitate partnerships with the organisations that manage Birmingham’s open spaces. In most cases this is Birmingham City Council.

We actively work in partnership with Birmingham City Council & its contractors to ensure that users & volunteers are able to be involved in how open spaces are managed.

Wildflower meadow Handsworth 2012What do we do?

We offer opportunities for groups & individuals interested in open spaces to share knowledge and experience. This is in the form of regular information digests, funding advice, networking opportunities and training.

BOSF, working in partnership with Birmingham City Council, is recognised nationally as a model on which other authority-wide networks can be successful. Our members, sometimes with Birmingham City Council staff, have spoken at events across the country.

NFPGS CommitteeBOSF is a founder member and is currently the Chair of the National Federation of Parks & GreenSpaces (NFPGS), working in partnership with other national organisations, including Keep Britain Tidy and Love Parks.  Through this committee we hope to promote the national community voice for our parks and open spaces!

 

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