On Sat 11 Feb some of us attended a free event put on by Your Park Bristol & Bath. There were workshops, a volunteer-led discussion about how to bring parks to life, and lots of opportunities to meet and talk to other volunteers.

We were particularly pleased to get the opportunity to meet Councillor Ellie King, who recently wrote about our pond restoration project on the Bristol Mayor’s blog.

We all took different things away from the event. The main highlight was meeting lovely people from other parks. Other top takeaways included:

  • Learning that diversity of plant life is the foundation for diversity of all wildlife in the park. Nettles are not the enemy!
  • Finding out about the challenges other volunteers face in their green spaces. Even though parks come in all sizes, shapes and locations, some of the challenges (for example litter) were common to all of us.
  • Finding out that we are already initiating things that will make a difference for threatened wildlife. 
  • Being given a template for an accessibility guide to provide information that will make it easier for disabled people and carers to plan a visit Stoke Park.
  • Learning about the importance of ‘Cinderella’ species, which might not be the most obviously pretty plants but play a vital role in supporting wildlife, especially invertebrates such as pollinators. 
  • Hearing some great ideas for fundraising. One volunteer group raised funds for tools by selling a calendar with photos of their park. I am pretty sure there are at least 12 scenic spots in Stoke Park so we may give that one a go!

Thanks to Nicky, Darren, Holly and Mark for giving me their highlights to include in the above list.

One of the sessions focused on how to recruit more volunteers. We were advised to tell everyone that we provide free hot drinks and biscuits. Which we do! 

So if you fancy a free coffee and a chocolate hobnob (other biscuits are available), volunteer sessions are 10:00-12:30 every Thursday and the first Saturday of the month. Sign up here if you are interested. We’d love for you to join us.

Your Park have very kindly made the presentations and other resources from the get together available to download for free from their website.