Saturday 13th June 11am to 3pm at The Studio, Cannon Street, Birmingham
We were again back at The Studio on Cannon Street for our 2015 conference & AGM which was well attended with over 80 delegates from our BOSF Member groups, our partners and experts from many different backgrounds.
It was a day packed with networking and information. For the first time we tried “Agency Speed Dating” which proved to be overall successful, if a bit noisy. We are looking at everyone’s feedback and will be seeing what improvements we can make for next year. The Programme for the day was:
11.10 ‘Just a minute’ speakers corner session – sixty second presentations of successful activity from five/six of the groups present.
11.15 “Data is the new Oil” – Why are you being asked to collect data and how it can help your group.
11.45 ‘Just a minute’ speakers corner session – sixty second presentations from each table for the “Speed Dating” session :
- Grounds Maintenance
- Heritage Funding
- Physical Activity
- Love Parks
- Better Points
1.00 Networking Lunch – carry on the discussions started during “Speed Dating”
2.05 BOSF AGM
2.25 “Just a minute” speakers corner session
2.30 Current Position in Parks “A Call to Action!” – Darren Share – Head of Parks
There were two main presentations on the day. The first was looking at Data Collection and why it is so important. Steph Clarke from Podnosh spoke about how important data is to us all and the different ways in which we can use it. Click here to view her presentation. Steph talked about some very useful website that we can all use and the links to these are:
Be Vocal – The site where Steph has been blogging their learning about open data
Open data Communities – Open data communities map, where you can search by postcode and see what level of deprivation the area you are is is rated at
Police UK – police crime mapping, search by police area or draw your own area to see crime figures
Local Health – health data mapped
Doorda – a searchable map that combines lots of data to give a combined view of the area
Then Emma Woolf MBE the Vice Chair of BOSF explained why we are asking for so much data from all our member groups. Emma explained the different data we are asking all groups to collect and why it is so important to us at BOSF and to all our member groups. Click here to view the presentation.
Darren Share, Head of Parks closed the conference with an update on the present situation in the Council with Parks and a “Call to Action” to us all, to do our part and work in partnership to improve Birmingham’s parks and open spaces. Click here to view the presentation.
Agency Speed Dating
One of the most important aspects of the BOSF networking events is the chance to talk to other volunteers and other organisations that are dealing with similar issues and who have come up with interesting solutions.
At all BOSF networking events people never have trouble finding someone to talk to – but we do have the tendency to talk to people we already know.
Although it is always good to touch base with friends and colleagues it might mean we miss out on new opportunities and new ideas.
So that’s where the speed dating idea comes in.
Everyone had 7 minutes on each table to ask quick questions to the experts and then move on to the next in their group. The networking lunch was then used for everyone to carry on those conversations started to find out more details.
The networking tables were:
Table 1 Parks & Rangers
A chance to speak to the representatives from the Rangers and Park Managers from your area
Table 2 Grounds Maintenance
A chance to ask specific questions from your grounds maintenance team. Representatives were present from Quadron, Glendale & BPN. Feedback from this table did highlight that not everyone had the contact details for their grounds maintenance manager. We have therefore gathered together this information for you:
- Craig Horton is responsible for the Perry Barr Area – [email protected]
- John Broom is responsible for the Sutton Coldfield Area – [email protected]
- Scott Bradbury is responsible for the Erdington Area – [email protected]
- Kevin Haynes – Northfield & Edgbaston – [email protected]
- Strategic Parks – Terry Spensley – [email protected]
- Tim Oakes – City Centre – [email protected]
Table 3 Heritage Funding
Catherine Kemp from heritage Lottery Fund West Midlands:
What is heritage about your site? Your park doesn’t have to be ‘historic’ or contain listed buildings to attract Heritage Lottery Funding. Our funding supports projects which make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities. This could include training volunteers to conserve habitats or species or researching the history of the park and local area and involving local people in the creation of interpretation. Our grants start from £3,000. You can find out more about our programmes on our website, and see examples of funded projects in your area. If you have an idea for a project, send us an enquiry and we’ll get back to you will some feedback.
Table 5 Habitats & Conservation
Simon Needle Birmingham City Council Ecologist answered questions on conservation and ecology and how to create new habitats on all sites.
Table 6 Better Points
Lobelia and Hannah from the BetterPoints™ team were on hand at the conference to answer questions about BetterPoints™ and how they can be used to encourage people to visit parks and get active, from walking to volunteering and everything in between! In the 1 minute presentations Hannah explained how BetterPoints™ can not only be redeemed for high street vouchers but donated back to the Friends of Parks groups. This was expanded upon during the speed networking where the BetterPoints™ app was demonstrated and delegates had the opportunity to ask more questions. Many Friends Groups didn’t know they already had a profile on the BetterPoints™ portal, if you haven’t seen yours yet please have a look here. If your group doesn’t have a profile page yet or you want to add more to yours, please get in touch with Lobelia or Hannah. Any questions or comments about the programme and the app are always welcomed by the BetterPoints™ team so please do contact them, details below:
Table 7 Love Parks
Love Parks (Nigel Sharp) provided a brief overview and discussion on Event Planning. Taking the group vision and aims as the basis for an event, the importance of planning to suit the scale of available budget and resources was stressed. The need to consider all obligations and legal considerations was highlighted but equally important is the desire to ensure an event is inclusive, to all members of the target community. The value of promotion and marketing, particularly in terms of partnership development and maximising the impact of the event was also discussed.
Finally, when considering the day of the event – and the aftermath – all agreed that such activity can be influential in group development, a vital opportunity to generate on interest, support and record evidence to inform future funding bids and grow membership.
Discussion highlighted the need for further materials and advice to support groups particularly in terms of addressing event obligations which Love Parks will seek to respond to in future work.
Love Parks is a Big Lottery Funded project supported by Keep Britain Tidy, to help develop and sustain parks and green space community groups ,establishing a national network focussed on area and regional forums. Any enquiries to [email protected]