The things our parks and green spaces offer us have never been more important than they are now. The Covid 19 pandemic has meant we can’t do all the things we would normally do – visit our friends and family in their homes, go to the gym, go to school and play and learn with whoever we want to, go watch a film, see our colleagues in the office and so much more. The one thing that we have consistently been able to do since March 2020 has been to visit our parks and green spaces. They have become our classrooms and offices, our gyms, our meet up place for friends and family, entertainment spaces (when appropriate) – they have helped to keep our mind and bodies healthy.

In return for nature always being there for us and never closing, we need to look after our parks and green space not just for us now, but for future generations. Birmingham City Council Parks Service, green groups and volunteers have a huge job to make sure these spaces are well looked after and not only survive but also thrive and are welcoming to anyone who wants to use them. We have 591 public open green spaces throughout the City, and all of them need to be nurtured, supported, respected and made accessible to all those that need them.

As part of our Naturally Birmingham Future Parks Accelerator programme, we want the residents of Birmingham to tell us what their hopes and dreams are for these green spaces of the City so we can make sure they meet the needs of our diverse population. We want to hear people’s stories – and importantly, we want to hear from a diverse group of people who live and/ or work Birmingham. We would like to gather 500 stories from across our population.

We are therefore putting forward an opportunity for community groups and organisations to help us reach this ambition. We want to target those groups we often struggle to hear from about parks and green spaces. These include:

  • Particular ethnic groups (from Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Arab, Chinese, Eastern European (inc Polish community and Roma Gypsy communities), Black African – Caribbean descent)
  • the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) community
  • Young people (under the age of 16)
  • People with disabilities (mental and physical)
  • Faith groups (Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist)
  • How will your project be implemented?

We will pay an organisation or community group £500 for gathering stories from 25 people who fit these particular groups. You must have a group bank account to receive payment.

Stories can come in various forms – they could be written as a blog, recorded as a video, written as a poem, drawn as a picture, written as a post on social media. They could also be recorded as a group conversation between residents in native languages (but will need to be translated into English – this does not need to be written into English but could be a verbal translation recorded on video). We are open to various methods of communication.

Some examples of Earth Stories are available on the Naturally Birmingham Future Parks Project website.

We will also require the organisation to help us collect key demographic data from residents who take part to ensure we are reaching a diverse population. The questions to collect this data will be provided by us so that we can collate all data collected through this engagement process.

Please tell us:

a. Which group will you be supporting to capture earth stories?

b. What experience do you have helping residents and citizens to give their views in consultations?

c. How do you plan to support residents in sharing their earth stories with us?

d. How will you use the £500 to gather 25 stories?

To apply for a grant, please download the application form:

Earth Stories Application Form

Please return the form by 17:00 8th March 2021.

If you are successful, we will require the stories to be with us by 15th April 2021.