Bristol’s parks and green spaces are there for all of us

August 02 2019
Bristol’s parks and green spaces are there for all of us

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees writes for the Voice

I AM proud that Bristol is one of eight organisations to be awarded £900,000 by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to transform the future of our parks. Parks and green spaces such as playing fields and nature reserves improve the quality of the air we breathe and provide a habitat for wildlife. They’re also great places to exercise, meet friends, and relax, which is important for our health and well-being. I regularly go on park runs, and find that greenery not only makes the challenge of a run worthwhile but also offers a moment to pause and take a break from the rush of the city.

But not everyone can access a park easily, and too many people are missing out. Although our Quality of Life survey found the proportion of residents who visit Bristol’s parks and green spaces at least once a week has increased to 80% from 56% in 2018, our poorest residents are often disconnected from these areas. The benefits that these spaces bring are not equally distributed and needs to change.

This funding is designed to help councils find sustainable ways to manage and fund parks and open spaces. It will mean we can find our potential to deliver health benefits matched to areas of greatest need. We hope to provide mental and physical exercise programmes in these areas so that we can continue bringing great benefits to as many people in the city as possible.

If you can see an opportunity to improve our green spaces tell your local councillors what you can bring and what you want to see as a result. I want everyone to be able to access, use and appreciate nature’s scenery. Working with communities and partners across the city, we can make sure Bristol has good quality, attractive and enjoyable parks.

An aim of Bristol’s One City Plan, a document that sets out ambitious targets for the future of Bristol, decade by decade up to 2050, is for everyone to have access to excellent quality green space within a 10-minute walk from their home, by 2036. Delivering this goal will be a challenge but it is vital that we meet it, not only for the city’s lungs and public areas, but for the health and well-being of every one of us who calls Bristol their home.