Over the past year, the Future Parks Programme, and our Enrich programme, has given particular focus to Plymouth’s parks and green spaces, where collaboration with communities, institutions and businesses across the city, has sparked new ways of thinking and many great social and community business ideas.
Following on from this, we are pleased to announce our partnership in Green Minds, a city-wide project funded by the ERDF Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) programme. It provides urban areas with resources to test innovative solutions to address urban challenges, including nature-based solutions. Green Minds is a system for rethinking nature – as a solution, not a problem and will develop, test, and demonstrate a transferable and sustainable system for planning and managing land in the urban environment.
The project is being led by Plymouth City Council’s Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Department together with Public Health, in partnership with:
Plymouth College of Art
Devon Wildlife Trust
The Data Place
Green Minds aims to positively enhance people’s interaction and involvement in these natural spaces, recognising that spending time in green and blue spaces has positive health and wellbeing benefits.
Green Minds Fund
As part of the project Real Ideas will be providing business support and small grants to community businesses and social enterprises working in green spaces in the South West of the city. We wanted to support ideas that have environmental, social, and financial value, and that see nature, alongside the communities they are working in, as interconnected equals in what they are trying to achieve.
The funds will support organisations in the design and implementation of green space improvements and enterprising activity, that will engage and benefit communities in the Devonport and Stonehouse neighbourhoods.
Green Minds fund winners were selected through a two-part application process – an expression of interest followed by a full application. We received 13 expressions of interest, of which, we invited 8 to submit a full application.
The standard of the applications was high; it was exciting to see so many amazing community businesses and organisations developing in green spaces, working alongside nature and encouraging others too!
We are pleased to introduce you to the five main winners and the incredible work they will be delivering in a green space near you!
Stiltskin Creative Arts & Theatre CIC
Stiltskin are founders of the Soapbox Children’s Theatre based in the heart of Devonport Park, Plymouth, where they have transformed a derelict building into a children’s cultural hub, focusing on engaging children and their families in the arts and culture at a grassroots level.
Stiltskin will be using their grant money to:
develop a community art garden and outdoor storytelling performance area.
install solitary bee totems, and plant trees and flowers to encourage more biodiversity in the area
install solar panels and hot composting facilities to ensure what they do works with nature and has low environmental impact
Bringing communities together through nature. This is the tagline for Snapdragons Plymouth CIC. Situated on a disused bowling green in Victoria Park, they are an umbrella organisation for many smaller projects which focus on bringing communities together with a huge emphasis on sustainability and working with nature.
The site will be a welcoming and inclusive venue and space where children and adults can access workshops, forest school sessions, kindergarten facilities, community growing, a book exchange and more!
Snapdragons will be using their grant fund to purchase more top soil to make the site safe. They will also purchase equipment to support planting and growing to enhance the biodiversity of the area and begin to facilitate their nature inspired workshops.
Cliik is a new community business that solves some of the hard-to-tackle issues in North Stonehouse to improve the lives of existing and future residents; economically, socially, and environmentally.
Their vison is to ensure North Stonehouse is a place people enjoy living, working and playing and is recognised as an area local people enjoy a good quality of life, with improved life chances, health and financial stability. Cliik will be using their Green Minds fund to:
bring community urban agriculture and green space wellbeing work into North Stonehouse, developing an existing pilot project ‘Seed and Feeds’
utilise the current growing beds, focusing on Melbourne Square
developing the space to generate more growing via poly tunnels, community working through activities and workshops and the introduction of a new community gardener role
build a hub from which green based learning activity can be delivered from
The Village Hub
The Village Hub’s mission is for every community member to lead connected, joyful, and purposeful lives within the geographical boundaries of where they live. They value people and their innate ability to organise and find solutions to social and environmental issues. They value asset-based community development approaches where people are supported and empowered.
The Village Hub are currently transforming a disused shop in Stoke Village, into a community space that will act as a hub for activities, workshops, shared learning, and drop-in advice. Their aim is to link this space with an accessible outdoor classroom set in Blockhouse Park. They will use their Green Mind fund to landscape a small section of the park using permaculture principles, this will support the community to access fruiting trees and growing spaces and to “be” in a wilder area of nature. They will use natural materials to create a space for learning and activity which will bring a more diverse range of people closer to nature and support them to develop their interest and understanding of the benefits of being in our green spaces.
Pollenize is a community interest company whose mission is to improve urban biodiversity through pollinator conservation and enable people to take action to improve the environment. They tackle the challenge of pollinator decline in a number of ways, including:
installing hives and bee totems across the city
collecting pollinator and habitat data as part of their citizen science project
distributing native wildflowers seed packets
engaging and raising public awareness through community beekeeping, and internal and external apiary cameras.
With nine sites which host their beehives, that range from rooftops, to hidden gardens in old victualling yards. The Green Minds grant will enable Pollenize to make their apiary sites and bee colonies more visible to the public. Providing camera and sensing equipment, to collaborate with host organisation to live stream the bees onto monitors in high footfall community spaces, making nature more visible. In the wider aims of Pollenize, the data generated from the hives will contribute to the understanding of foraging behaviours of honeybees and inform a gap analysis of floral diversity in host apiary postcodes. This will enable them to further develop the seed recipes for their citizen science seed packets and improve urban biodiversity.
Look out for more updates on each of our Green Minds awardees as we follow their progress.