Engaging Families with Urban Wildlife in Yorkshire
As part of an initiative to reconnect residents of Bradford with their local, urban green spaces, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and Bradford Council’s Countryside and Rights of Way team have been consulting with local people to design a project which inspires the cities’ communities to get outdoors and get active. A generous award from The People’s Postcode lottery has facilitated consultation around the restoration of neglected wild habitats and created opportunities for families to begin to explore, engage in natural play and discover urban wildlife.
Local residents and organisations have been getting stuck in to help with the reclamation of Poplar Grove and Black Mountain; two neglected and fly-tipped green sites in Gt Horton. Events in February half term and the Easter break run in partnership with The Youth Association, Yorkshire Housing and local wardens from Bradford Council engaged children from the local community to help Yorkshire Wildlife Trust gather over 50 bags of litter, a mattress and even a bath! Everyone attending has been delighted with group activities running alongside the clear-up which involve den building, whistle making and natural crafts.
A parent accompanying children to a litter pick said, “We want an environment which is safe and happy for children to play in”.
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, with support from Bradford Council, are now applying to the Big Lottery to run a longer term project called the Bradford Urban Discovery Project to regenerate seven green urban sites which sit on the doorsteps of residential communities. The project aims to provide families with attractive and accessible wild spaces and create opportunities for local communities to actively engage with nature. Bradford is rated the 4th most inactive Local Authority in England, so good quality urban green space and outdoor events provide important opportunities for people to get outside and connect with nature. If the funding bid is successful this long term initiative will empower local communities to gain new skills, regenerate their local green spaces and have fun in flourishing natural environments.
A young person from Gt Horton explained how vital the development will be for improving his access to green space. He said “The nearest big park is ages away and little kids can’t go there on their own”.
Project leader Sarah Goldsmith said, “Wild urban green spaces provide fantastic opportunities for people and wildlife to co-exist and children who grow up engaged in their natural spaces will be more inclined to get outside to explore and play and live a more active life”.
Although the consultation and litter picks have been very successful, there is still lots of work to do to transform the green spaces. Yorkshire Wildlife Trust are running a series of family-friendly events in South West Bradford during the May half term and summer school holidays. If you would like to get involved visit our website to find upcoming events http://www.ywt.org.uk/whats-on