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First Ever 'Love Your Park' Volunteer Awards for Bristol and Bath Announced

The first ever Love Your Park Bristol and Bath Volunteer Awards have been announced in recognition of the outstanding contribution made by volunteers to our parks and green spaces across our cities. Your Park Bristol and Bath in partnership with Bath & North East Somerset Council and Bristol City Council announced the awards at an online celebration with special guest, Chair of Natural England, Tony Juniper.

Tony Juniper highlighted the role of volunteers in helping to tackle the climate and ecological emergencies. He commented “When ideas for our parks are community driven and owned they deliver real value. A volunteer force of local people getting involved in their green spaces is so vital.”

The Award winners were nominated by their fellow volunteers and communities for award categories designed to demonstrate their impact in the local community. Winners of the ‘TLC’ category in the Love Your Park Volunteer Awards were the Friends of Hedgemead Park, Bath. Formed just four years ago the volunteers have enthusiastically carried out park restorative work including clearing overgrown bushes, planting flowers and producing an interactive guide to its magnificent trees. The park has is now more ecologically diverse, colourful and a more welcoming space to visit.

A Special Mention in the ‘TLC’ Award category went to Bath Women’s Institute for their popular ‘Edible Garden’ within the Botanic Garden at Royal Victoria Park. This extraordinary garden is well loved by local people and visitors alike and is the result of the hard work by WI gardening volunteers.

Grow Batheaston were given a Special Mention in the Happy and Healthy Award category for their project bringing people together to plant wildflower meadows, trees and vegetables in shared community green spaces around the Elmhurst Estate, Batheaston Playground and Penthouse Steps all of which support improved health and wellbeing of village residents.

The overall award for Individual Volunteer of the Year, Bath was presented to Gill Gazzard of the Friends of Sydney Gardens who has been at the forefront of volunteering activities to enhance the park and make it more welcoming. Nominations for Gill highlighted her dedication and breadth of volunteering including at events, devising a tree trail, co-ordinating litter picks and co-leading the monthly Sydney Gardens volunteer gardening sessions. Gill commented “I love volunteering in this terrific park and want to make it even better. As a Friends Group we try to get the community involved and are looking forward to inviting people back again this year.”

There was also a Special Mention for Ian Critchley of Friends of Henrietta Park for his outstanding volunteering. Nominated many times, people commented that Ian deserves great credit for ensuring this green space in Bathwick is such a special haven. A Special Mention also went to Tamsin Randle for her volunteering activities with Friends of Hillcrest Park including liaising with local residents to repair park steps and creating family friendly activities in the park.

There were also awards for outstanding long service for an exceptional group of people with over 15 years volunteering experience in our local green spaces. In Bath the recipients were: Tricia Scammell (Manor Road Community Woodland), Henry Ford (Friends of Henrietta Park), Ian Critchley (Friends of Henrietta Park), Barry Cruse, MBE (Bath in Bloom).

The Awards reflect Your Park Bristol and Bath’s work helping communities to develop a closer relationship with their local park and supporting groups in playing a greater role in shaping the future of their green space.

Full results of the Love Your Park Volunteer Awards can be found on the charity’s website

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