By Maria Adebowale (director, Capacity Global) 15 May 2013. Getting...
By Daniel Pearmain (monitoring, evaluation and learning co-ordinator, ...
By Sarah Thompson, 29 April 2013 Following our spring events that h...
by Sarah Thompson, 29 April 2013 Local Trust recently held the seco...
GUEST BLOG: Green places – local spaces: Getting Started
By Maria Adebowale (Capacity Global)
If you ask anyone what they like about where they live they’ll talk about people and they’ll talk about the places that make their area special – parks, a shopping parade, local river, forests or a play area. On my Big Local community visits, residents have highlighted what “areas” hold dear: green places and local spaces. Areas really want to protect and improve their local environment.
Big Local is shaped to help support areas do exactly that. Why? Because local environments are totally connected to creating vibrant neighbourhoods that people want to live in. Working with local communities, I can’t think of one conversation where someone hasn’t said they wanted to sit in a lovely park, play with their kids in a dog poo-free play ground and plant flowers or food with their neighbours.
I mean what’s not to like? We are all wired to enjoy green and open spaces. There’s plenty of research to show that good green spaces are crucial to our well-being – physical and psychological. Not only that. Green spaces add economic value to an area and offer great opportunities for developing local economies through jobs and skills: food growing, establishing social enterprises, building environmentally friendly energy efficient homes, and park management – to mention just a few.
Starting up a green or local space project can really make a difference, building confidence, getting people together and making better places to live.
Here are five tips on starting your own green or local space project:
1) The big Idea: have a think about the type of project or projects the area needs. It doesn’t have to be new or large scale. You can start small and build on it.
2) Get talking: share your ideas with other residents, local groups, business and the local council. Listen to their ideas, too. Visit other green or local space projects. Talk to the people who have set them up. Most ideas become real when a group of people can bring their skills and ideas together.
3) Plan ahead: all good projects need some kind of a vision and plan. Before you get started really think about what you want the project to do or provide. Make sure green place and local space ideas are part of your Big Local plan.
4) Raise resources: this might mean getting volunteers’ help, applying for grants, getting business sponsorship or agreeing to use some of your Big Local fund. Work with people you shared the big idea with and see how they can help to get the resources you need.
5) Be confident: local communities and local groups have set up amazing projects from city farms, conserving heritage buildings, sprucing up local shops, managing local parks and setting up public gardens. You can, too.
Big Local is offering opportunities that can help you get going. Take up the chance to learn more about setting up green space or environmental projects:
- People, place & environment workshop, 7th September, Kent – You can find out more information on the Local Trust Big Local e-newsletter or book a place on the workshop by contacting Emma Herbert: Emma@capacity.org.uk
- Environment pilot projects – we will be providing further support to areas interested in setting up or developing green and local space projects. Look out for further information on how to apply to be an environment pilot project on the Big Local website and newsletter later in the year.
- Advice and information – get help from the monthly ‘environment & place’ advice session which starts at the end of October and the Environment and Place guide coming out soon. Also watch out for green and local space case studies.
This is a guest blog by Maria Adebowale, Director of Capacity Global. Capacity Global are working with Local Trust on Big Local.