GreenSpace's initiative wants to promote park use to BME groups

Employing "community champions" to promote the benefits of green spaces could prove key in engaging black and minority ethnic (BME) communities in urban and rural parks.

The idea of training community champions - people who act as a parks representative - is part of a model developed through a £1m project completed last month.

The Mosaic Partnership's project manager Nina Arwitz shared results of the three-year scheme at GreenSpace's Reaching Out conference, held in Reading on 23 September.The event examined why BME groups might not be accessing parks and how the challenges could be overcome.

Although the Mosaic Partnership, a project hosted by the Campaign for National Parks, focused on national parks, Arwitz described how the model could be used in urban green spaces.

She said: "It is very adaptable to urban parks and we are hoping to do a pilot project to test if it is also transferable to single parents and other minority groups.

"The key is working with the community champions and looking at organisational change. It might be about cherry-picking the things that work within a local authority's budget because obviously not everyone can do everything."

The project had a goal of training 80 community champions by the end of September this year, but actually attracted a total of 217 people in its three-year run.

Arwitz is currently working on a toolkit for local authorities and communities, which is expected to be ready in the next few months.

"We want to make sure the experience of parks is about more than just a one-off visit," she added.

Community champions get different levels of training depending on how much time they can devote to their role, but all are taught fund-raising and organisational skills so their work will be sustainable after the end of a project.

"They don't have to be the leader of their community," said Arwitz. "They can be anyone - from a stay-at-home mum to a director of the local racial equality council."

- See analysis, p14

To comment on this story, visit www.HorticultureWeek.co.uk.


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Sargent's solutions - how to attract the best staff for your business

Sargent's solutions - how to attract the best staff for your business

There are ways to find quality candidates for horticultural jobs if you widen your search parameters, Alan Sargent suggests.

Get set for Saltex 2017

Get set for Saltex 2017

This year's Saltex show at the NEC in Birmingham offers something for everyone, says Sally Drury.

Sargent's Solutions: What is the difference between a head gardener and gardens manager? Part 2

Sargent's Solutions: What is the difference between a head gardener and gardens manager? Part 2

In the second of a two-part article, Alan Sargent looks at the functions of today's gardens manager.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs
Horticulture Week Custodian Awards 2017 - the winners!

Find out more about the outstanding parks, gardens and arboricultural projects and teams that became our Custodian Award 2017 winners.

Products & Kit Resources