Connecting the City’s Green Spaces
Brighton and Hove Green Spaces Forum brings together more than 90 community groups who care for the City’s many parks and open spaces.
The Forum empowers the groups with one voice – enabling them to mutually support one another and to share knowledge, ideas and information.
The Forum was set up in 2017 from a partnership project funded by the Community University Partnership Programme (CUPP), involving B&H City in Bloom, Trust for Developing Communities, Community Works, Brighton & Lewes Downs Biosphere, the University of Brighton and B&H City Council.
Most of the City’s green spaces are owned and managed by Brighton and Hove City Council. They include outdoor recreational areas for people and wildlife, such as urban greenways, woodlands, nature reserves, large estates, cemeteries, allotments, playing fields, traditional parks and play areas.
With growing financial pressures on local authorities to reduce the cost of managing parks and green spaces, the volunteer community has become increasingly important.
The Forum has worked closely with Brighton & Hove City Parks to establish ‘green space volunteer leadership training’. This provides training for volunteer leaders to manage volunteer groups without direct supervision, yet still under the City Council insurance umbrella.
In the long term, the Forum is hoping that it will gain recognition for Brighton & Hove as a role model City. With this in mind, it has actively encouraged volunteer groups to participate in the RHS ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ and ‘Brighton & Hove City in Bloom’ competitions.
‘These have been marvellous for small community based green spaces groups,’ says the Forum’s Cliff Munn. ‘Most especially because it gives them the opportunity to reflect on how they are doing against a set of community/gardening/sustainability criteria at no financial cost to themselves.’