What do Friends Groups do?
Regular park users know their park inside out, they are in touch with its rhythms and fully understand how it functions. They have opinions about what works well and what could be done better and often put forward suggestions to the Council on how it might be improved.
In Bath and North East Somerset an increasing number of people are able to channel their support and opinions through one of the Friends Groups that are now established, or simply start one of their own.
A Strong Link
Friends Groups are a strong link between the Council and the community and they make an invaluable contribution, a real difference. For example, they often bring the local community into the picture, listen to their views, and take their opoinions of the future direction of the park back to the Council. This helps inform development plans to respond to local needs. In turn, this is more likely to result in improvements that have local support, are sustainable, and offer better value for money. This helps Bath and North East Somerset Council to continually work to improve our standards and to produce, not necessarily "perfect" parks, but green spaces which suit local need, are accessible to everybody, and which provide a clean, safe and healthy environment.
Financial resources for parks are limited – at present there is no statutory duty for councils to provide a parks service in spite of their obvious benefits to the community. Friends groups, working in partnership with the Council can boost the money available for improvements to parks and public spaces by tapping into funds that are available to community groups but not to Local Authorities. In addition to this many groups perform hands-on tasks to help improve a site beyond the regular maintenance work of the Parks Team. There are already a number of successful examples of this partnership between Friends Groups and the Parks Team that have resulted in practical improvements and benefits for local parks and communities within the district.
How to get involved
You can contact groups directly, and there are links below for those with websites. Or if there is no link then please feel free to contact the Parks Team and we will put you in touch:
Tel. 01225 394041, or via email on: firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively you can write to us at: Royal Victoria Park Nursery, Marlborough Lane, Bath, BA1 2lZ
List of groups:
Friends of Firs Field
Friends of Moorlands Park
Friends of Sandpits Park - new group being created by local residents. Please contact Parks for more info.
Friends of Widcombe Crescent
Friends by Nature (if not by name):
Bath In Bloom - support groups in improving local areas
Bath WI - tend a bed in the Botanical Gardens
GoodGym Bath - help with various tasks to improve our parks
Keynsham In Bloom - support groups in improving local areas
Keynsham Wombles - help clear litter from parks in Keynsham (and countless other places)
Sustrans Volunteers - help clear vegetation and litter from shared paths through parks (as well as other places)
Vegmead - tend a vegetable bed in Hedgemead Park