Bristol Parkhive is a collaborative project between the University of the West of England (UWE) and the Bristol Parks Forum (BPF), Bristol’s network of volunteer parks groups, and the support of other local partners, who, in the age of ever-shrinking budgets, play an increasingly important role in maintaining city parks and green spaces.
The project was born out of the Bristol Green Capital and aims to help build up the skills and capacity of parks groups volunteers to innovate and do their work, by delivering training in volunteer management, activities and event organisation, app and website development, and social media usage.
This training is delivered by UWE Learning and Teaching Fellows, Academic and Technical Staff, masters and undergraduate students – all of whom are in turn volunteering. Parkhive does this by linking up university students with community groups and live projects around parks and green spaces, harnessing the potential of these new networks to generate ideas and problem solving strategies to improve and develop Bristol’s green spaces now and into the future.
Doing this also increases the visibility and awareness of the work of parks groups and helps highlight the critical importance of parks and green spaces to the quality of life of local residents, and therefore helps to safeguard the parks existence.
“More than 83% of Bristol residents use their local park – meaning that Bristol’s parks are the most used leisure facility in the city – and hundreds of Bristol residents volunteer their time to be involved in, fundraise for and manage improvements to their local parks. However, funding for parks is not statutory, meaning that nationwide – including across Bristol – parks are facing an uncertain future.”
Sam Thomson, Director of Civic and Cultural Engagement at UWE
There are many different ways students can get involved with Parkhive, from running workshops or skill-building sessions and writing copy to doing research, creating art and redesigning an area of a park.
One project that has been developed with the help of staff and students at the University of the West of England’s Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries and Education, is a smartphone app detailing 200 of Bristol’s parks and green spaces. This app not only showcases these spaces, but actively enables Bristol visitors and locals to find and explore them within the city. The app was a collaboration between Calvium, the award-winning app building company and Bristol Parks Forum for Parkhive.
If you’d like to apply or find out more, please send an email indicating your interest, course/year of study, and which kinds of tasks you’re interested in to Lisa Friedberg, Bristol Parkhive Project Coordinator, at Lisa.Friedberg@uwe.ac.uk. Please also include a link to an online portfolio or examples of your work if you have them.