Introduction

 Why BEN?

 BEN Strategy

 MC & Structure

 Offices & Staff

 Membership

 Funders

 
  Introduction
  What BEN will do
  Visits & activities
  Invitation to take part
  Portfolio of programmes
  Portfolio outcomes

 Introduction

 England

 Wales

 Scotland

 Annual Report

 BEN News

 

 General

 Publications

 Photos

 

 Introduction

 Training Pack

 

 BEN grants guide

 EMAS

 Grants News

 

 Green Spaces

 Features


Green Spaces Project of the Month

September 2002 - St Agnes Park, Bristol
Contact: Peter Wilkinson, Head of Parks Department, Bristol City Council 0117 922 2000

 

Background

At the turn of the millennium, St Agnes Park was a virtual no-go area frequented mainly by local drug dealers. The Victorian lodge house was derelict, the playground abandoned, with overgrown shrubs and dead trees making the park seem like a dark and dangerous place. Today, it is a clean, bright, welcoming community green space at the heart of Bristol's multi-cultural St Paul's neighbourhood. A major factor in its revival is having a park warden living on the ground and a building, which brings the community into the park. The restored lodge is now home to Park Keeper Constantine Blake, a well know local figure who has received an award from the Institute of Leisure and Amenity Management for his role in transforming the park. The building's new annex also houses a management committee drawn from local communities, together with offices and meeting space fro various community groups. So what else happened to bring about this dramatic change for the better?

“It's about the community coming together to make this a community park,” Constantine says.

Making it happen

First an organisation called Involving Residents in Solutions (IRIS) funded by the Single Regeneration Budget (SRB) conducted consultations with local communities. They found out that people wanted to use the lodge for a resident park keeper and as a community resource; and they wanted to clean up the park, improving lighting and pruning trees and shrubs.

The next step was for IRIS to help St Agnes Park Association to apply for funding to achieve their goals. Refurbishment of the building was paid for by £165,000 from the Regional Development Agency (RDA) and the SRB's Inner City Lifeline scheme. Salaries for Constantine and his colleague Kathy Jacks a community development worker, were paid from European funding.

The council's park maintenance contractor got together with the probation service to tackle the clean-up, then donations from the council, the Home Office Police fund and residents' own fundraising provided thousands of bedding plants and bulbs to brighten up St Agnes Park.

A survey by Bristol parks department showed that, as well as appreciating improvements to the infrastructure and maintenance of the park, a majority of residents felt that improved security was an important achievement. Armed with this evidence, they were able to make a case for Neighbourhood Renewal funding to pay for additional lighting. Children are now able to use walkways through the park as a safe route to and from the nearby school. Peter Wilkinson, head of the parks department says, “A safer park makes people feel more confident and better about themselves.”

We asked Constantine what sort of activities local people enjoy in the park and he listed,

“family picnics, a fun day at which they have puppet shows, workshops - children orientated, teach them how to DJ and everything - they have a four day event just before Jamaican Independence Day with circus leader workshops, drama ...”

In 2002 St Agnes Park received a mention from the Civic Trust in recognition of the architectural restoration of the lodge. By March 2002 IRIS withdrew from the project. St Agnes Park Association is growing, becoming increasingly representative of the communities it serves, and has plans to become a charitable company which would manage the lodge and may manage the park in future. Constantine still lives in the lodge house and is currently employed by Bristol City Council on secondment to Bristol Contract Services who maintain the city's many parks and green spaces.

In order to address wider community concerns, and in the context of the Neighbourhood Renewal Initiative, Constantine now works half his week at St Agnes and the remainder of his time is divided between nearby St Paul's Park, Grosvenor Road open space and Mina Road Park. When he sees that some maintenance work is needed, he brings his tools and attends to it.

Future Plans

The St Agnes Park Association want to improve the kitchen in the lodge house annex and get it working as more of a café, to bring in some funds. The Parks Department are thinking of ways Constantine can safely transport tools on his weekly rounds. One idea is to use sustainable transport such as a milk float or a little three wheeled buggy - like a motorised rickshaw.

There are plans to develop the park further over the next couple of years, with new paths, a play area and better shrub borders. A memorial garden to Bangy Berry, the community worker who was shot dead in St Pauls in the 1990s, has occupied a small corner of the park, but the hope is to position a more prominent feature - perhaps a sculpture placed in a circular flower bed - to create a focal point in the park. A design for improved railings and entrances would enhance the feeling of St Agnes Park as a `secret garden' - a surprise green space in the midst of the urban chaos.

Further Information

For Alison Benjamin's Guardian article `Bright Spark' go to
http://society.guardian.co.uk/societyguardian/story/0.7843.553847.00.html

Institute of Leisure and Amenities Management
http://ww.ilam.co.uk

Database of historic parks
http://www1.york.ac.uk/depts/arch/landscapes/ukpg.database

Background to community safety in St Paul's area and survey results
http://www.crimebristol.org.uk/audit/appendix3.html
http://www.crimebristol.org.uk/index.html?audit/action-groups/ashley.html~main

Bristol City Council website gives lots of information about how to get involved in parks:

To complete a survey on park maintenance in Bristol go to
http://www.bristol-city.gov.uk/cgi-bin/w3index-frames.p1?BLO0017+BG

For a picture of residents volunteering to maintain St Agnes Park see
http://www.bristol-city.gov.uk/cgi-bin/w3menu?C+BLO00108+BG+F+CMM00102+DPE00104

For more details about Civic Trust awards visit
http://www.civictrust.org.uk/top.shtml

click here to download a copy of this page

top

Green Spaces | Features


 


Please click here to return to the Front Page
Please click here if you would like to complete the Feedback form

Green Spaces
Issues

Issue 1>
Issue 2>
Issue 3>
Issue 4>
Issue 5>
Issue 6>
Issue 7>
Issue 8>
Issue 9>
Issue 10>
Issue 11>
Issue 12>

Green Space
Projects

Home>

March 2005>
February 2005>
January 2005>
December 2004>
November 2004>
October 2004>
September 2004>
August 2004>
July 2004>
June 2004>
May 2004>
April 2004>
March 2004>
February 2004>
January 2004>
December 2003>
November 2003>
October 2003>
September 2003>
August 2003>
July 2003>
June 2003>
May 2003>
April 2003>
March 2003>
Feb 2003>
Jan 2003>
Dec 2002>
Nov 2002>
Oct 2002>
Sept 2002>
Aug 2002>
July 2002>
June 2002>
May 2002>
April 2002>

BEN UK Office
1st Floor
60 High Street
Llanberis
Wales
LL55 4EU

Tel
0207 9214339

email BEN

Black Environment Network logo
Black Environment Network logo
Black Environment Network logo