Burnley Go to the Park: project highlights
Looking back over the last 17 months, Go To The Park has begun to make significant changes in the way that Burnley’s formal parks are maintained.
Volunteer In Parks (VIP)
We’ve made steady progress recruiting 78 volunteers (35 currently active) who have collectively worked with our park-based gardeners for more than 2,000 hours in a variety roles in our parks. The ages of volunteers range from 15 year-old work experience placements to actively retired volunteers aged 70+. Our VIPs have all been through a short induction, taken part in training courses and social activities and are set up on the ‘Better Impact’ volunteer management software that we are piloting.
We now have approximately 68 hectares of managed meadows saving over £41K, including 11 hectares in our formal heritage parks which we are managing using an Amazone Profihopper 4WDi mower, which achieves a great cut on formal lawns and is also able to cut and collect from the meadow areas. After carrying out the 2nd annual meadow species survey we’ve introduced a new star rating system so that parks friends groups can easily see the progress of meadow improvement.
The introduction of the Burnley Bee Cage in Queens Park has been a success with the two hives establishing well and no concerns raised by the public. The hives are part of Offshoots 45 hive urban bee farm managed by Offshoots. We are currently revising the design and hope to have a model commercially available for Spring 2016.
A popular activity for our volunteers, woodland management activities have attracted nearly 800 hours of volunteer time on coppicing, thinning and rhododendron clearance in our park woodland. As well as improving recreational and biodiversity value we have produced woodchip worth £9,800 for topping up playgrounds and wood fuel valued at £4,900.
Replacement of annual bedding schemes with perennial planting is making significant savings in labour costs. We are funding the replanting from the bedding plant budget and will also be planting more naturalising bulbs and annual meadows.
Rethinking Parks was a joint Big Lottery Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund and Nesta programme to find, support and test the impact of new business models that may help sustain public parks in the UK.