• Future Parks Accelerator – Project Proposals

    Get involved in the Future of Parks

    Although the world we now find ourselves living in has changed dramatically since the project started in August 2019 due to the impact of the coronavirus, the project has been able to continue and the importance of providing good quality green space has become even more widely accepted. Although the world we now find ourselves living in has changed dramatically since the project started in August 2019 due to the impact of the coronavirus, the project has been able to continue and the importance of providing good quality green space has become even more widely accepted.

    A big thank you to everyone who engaged in our Community Conversations, we really hope you’ll keep talking to us through the next phase of the project. Through July 2020 the team will be reading through all your responses both verbal and written and using what you have told us to reflect on our proposals and revise them where needed as we start to test the ideas in our pilot sites.

    Currently our pilot sites are:

    Children’s Pilot

    Dawberry Fields Park

    Cotteridge Park

    Job’s and Skills

    Ward End Park

    Health and Wellbeing

    Witton Lakes

    Perry Common Recreation Ground


    This will be city wide but as projects arise we will test our proposals in specific areas

    You can still get involved in Birmingham’s Future Parks Project by:

    • Inviting the Naturally Birmingham project team to join any virtual meetings you are already having to give your network more information about the project: email [email protected]
    • Follow the Naturally Birmingham Project online:

    @NaturallyBirmi1 – Twitter / Instagram / Facebook

    Information about our proposals

    Birmingham Open Spaces Forum welcomes the Naturally Birmingham Project as a statement of intent and a recognition of the work that has been done in the city by all partners – public, private, third sector and volunteers. The vision for the project shows the City’s understanding of the role of open spaces as so much more than the view that they are ‘nice to have’. Parks and green spaces also play a crucial role in helping to improve air quality and absorbing carbon emissions and the Naturally Birmingham project sits firmly within the City’s plan to become carbon neutral by 2030 – Route to Zero (R20).

    Cllr John O’Shea, Cabinet Member for Street Scene and Parks at Birmingham City Council, says:

    “In the early days of Birmingham’s history as a city 130 years ago, the creation of parks and open spaces was a hard-fought battle in the face of rapid transformation, industrialisation and urbanisation – and their importance has remained high ever since.

    “As an asset they contribute enormously to the city, from a health, wellbeing and economic perspective.

    “We can learn from what parks and open spaces of all shapes and sizes did for us in the past and what they are doing in the present. The funding we have received will help us unlock the huge potential in the future.”


    • Covid 19 is having a huge impact on our residents, staff, their families and the services we offer. We recognise that parks and green space is becoming really important for some members of our communities. Birmingham Parks are open and we are working hard to help residents use them responsibly during this pandemic.
    • Although the focus of this programme is to encourage people to join their communities in parks and green spaces, we know this is currently not possible within Government guidance on social distancing.
    • The FPA team have been focussing our energies on developing ideas and proposals on how we encourage people to use green spaces. We are not encouraging our residents to undertake any of these ideas whilst social distancing rules are in place. Instead we invite you to consider our ideas and put forward your views.
    • Once social distancing rules are relaxed, we will work closely with appropriate agencies to start to test out these ideas.
    • Thank you for your co-operation.

    For more information about Future Parks Accelerator national programme click this link

    Green Spaces in Birmingham 

    Birmingham is one of the greenest cities in Europe with 591 parks and green spaces, recently earning prestigious Tree Cities of the World status.

    We have much to be proud of with 15 of our parks receiving Green Flag status. They have much to offer including: 

    • Space for children, you and your families to exercise and play – improving your wellbeing 
    • A place to relax or get some fresh air run, walk and cycle – during the weekends and even on your lunch break 
    • A place to play and socialise with our friends and family – increasing community spirit values 
    • The opportunity to enjoy all the benefits that green open spaces have to offer.
    • A good work life balance and opportunity to learn new skills
    • However, the future of our parks is becoming more unclear for future generations and budget cuts have resulted in us having less access to green spaces. Covid19 has also highlighted the desire for green space as well as the inequality and inaccessibility some people suffer. Embedding the value of green space across the Council is key in tackling this.  
    • By listening to residents’ concerns and their successes, collecting evidence and looking at current recommendations, we have developed some ideas (or proposals) to test out how we can put green spaces at the heart of Council working. 

    The Big Idea

    Housing Objectives

    • Nature Based solutions for city resilience with cleaner air and water
    • Environmental net gain across the built environment, housing creating flourishing neighbourhoods.
    • Equal access to safe, clean and sustainably managed green spaces

    Employment Objectives

    • Invest in nature based green jobs and skills learning.
    • Embed the natural environment in all growth sector strategies
    • Green our grey transport routes and extend walking and cycling

    Children’s Objectives

    • Help our youngest citizens to learn nature based healthy lifestyles and behaviour.
    • Connect young people’s attainment with their local environment
    • From life start to green future inspire a new green aware generation.

    Health Objectives

    • Active and connected citizens in the natural environment for improved wellbeing.
    • Celebrate people’s deep cultural connections to food, landscape and nature.
    • Connect Health & Social Care Services to the natural environment.

    Key Outputs

    We (BOSF and the FPA Partnership) want to talk with you about the Naturally Birmingham project – these proposals are just ideas at this stage.

    We want your views on whether they are worth progressing. 

    Skills and Jobs Pilot Proposals

    • A Skills Showcase – Should we provide a skills a showcase? This would be a chance to learn all about the skills required and jobs available within parks, green spaces and the surrounding areas including engineering, leisure, horticulture, business and more. This could involve opportunities in apprenticeships, work experience and volunteering – something for everybody.
    • Schools & Young People – should we endorse the learning of ‘green’ skills and support those that have an interest through our Park Ambassadors Roles and Green Academies Programme?
    • Business Engagement – should we encourage businesses to get involved through park activities, staff engagement days and recommend corporate social responsibility activities such as looking after local green spaces or having wildlife friendly workplaces?
    • Joining forces – should we be building on the amazing community activity and events in the park, supporting more improvements and activities as well as group action and joint ownership?

    Health and Wellbeing Pilot Proposals

    • Health and Wellbeing Activities – should we increase activities in the park to enable greater participation and connection to nature e.g. ‘nature walk’ around the park or ‘sensory gardens’ as taster sessions?
    • Participation in the community –  should we encourage community groups to lead and share on this, through  community allotments, photography, drawing, poetry, singing, cooking and more…?
    • Provide greater education & training – should we provide training to Healthcare Professionals (including those in GP practices) to ensure they understand the importance of green spaces and the activities that are available?
    • Joining forces – should we build on the amazing community activity and events in the park, supporting more improvements, activities and group action into the future?

    Children’s Pilot Proposals

    • Bringing the park to life – should we showcase greenspaces as part of children’s education, through daily use of the parks to enhance learning? Should we trial a ‘Wildlife Wellbeing Week’ across nearby schools? Should we help you get to school by setting up a walking bus or a cycling group?
    • Mentoring & Park Ambassadors – should we work with young people to encourage others to learn about our parks & green spaces by becoming Park Ambassadors and learning life skills through our mentoring programme?
    • Increased community involvement – should we encourage communities to set up a Friends of Park group to increase community involvement and build sustainability for both children and their families?
    • Provide a menu of opportunities – should we make available a menu of opportunities for young people to engage through work experience, possible routes into future employment or training, volunteering around how to look after a park, growing food and more?

    Housing – Building Birmingham

    • Residents at the heart of design – should we create residents ‘Friends of Parks’ type groups for housing green spaces before and after it has been created? Would residents want support in finding different ways to fund looking after the green space around their homes? This could include money for shared tools to look after green space through to building a space for the community to come together.
    • Related to housing, there is the question of wider development – There is currently a lot of policy and guidance that planning, and housing need to understand for putting green spaces into homes and all development sites. Should we find a simpler way to pull all this guidance  and policy together to help design even better green spaces for Birmingham homes and other developments?

    For more information about the Project Proposals click here