First director takes up post as new Bristol and Bath Parks Foundation beds in

September 26, 2019

Fledgling charity Bristol and Bath Parks Foundation (BBPF) has appointed its first director along with 11 trustees as it begins to gather the views of residents of the two cities on what they want from their local parks.

In her new role as director Charlee Bennett will spearhead BBPF’s next stages of development.

She has worked in the charity sector for the past eight years, including as a campaigns manager for Save the Children UK and most recently as chief executive for the countryside pressure group CPRE Hampshire.

She will be supported by the new board of 11 trustees, who bring between them a wide range of experience and backgrounds including legal, HR, environmental, marketing and communications. Bristol Parks Forum secretary Rob Acton-Campbell, who is a member of the team that led to BBPF’s creation, will become the board’s chair.

The charity was initiated by a consortium of partners including Bristol City Council, Bath & North East Somerset Council, Bristol Parks Forum and the Natural History Consortium, working alongside Quartet Community Foundation and Bristol Green Capital Partnership.

It received £193,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund, National Lottery Heritage Fund and innovation foundation Nesta in July last year to begin its work as part of the nationwide Rethinking Parks programme, which looks into new ways of managing and funding public parks.

It was registered as a charity in February and is now an independent organisation.

It was officially unveiled to the public in June at Bath and Bristol’s Festivals of Nature, with members of the public asked ‘What is special about your park?’ and ‘What does it mean to you?’ to help gather early insights about parks in both cities and their relationships with local communities.

With this insight, BBPF will decide on projects to fundraise for and support parks. Consultation will take place this autumn and a five-year plan developed.

Charlee said: “We all know that parks and green space provide positive benefits for everyone and it is vital that we promote and enhance them. This new charity aims to make Bristol and Bath’s parks better places for people to play, learn, grow, and really enjoy nature.

“We will be looking to local communities to tell us what might make a difference to their parks – from improvements to existing features, health initiatives and better access – and finding new and innovative ways to fundraise to make them happen.

“I feel very privileged to be appointed as the charity’s first director and I can’t wait to begin working with our partners and Board of trustees to start developing some great initiatives.”

Rob Acton-Campbell added: “After 12 months of work setting up the charity, it is fantastic to have this new team in place. It became clear during the recruitment process that there is a large pool of very talented people across Bristol & Bath who care deeply about parks and green space and welcome this new opportunity of volunteering as a trustee so that they can play their part in improving them.

“It is exciting that the charity will now move to the next phase of its development and I am confident that working with the two councils and park groups across both cities it will make a real difference to our parks over the next few years.”

One of the new trustees, strategic food safety adviser Lisa Ackerley, said: “Living in Bath, I appreciate that those living in urban environments have little, if any, outdoor space of their own.

“I feel very lucky to be able to rely on our beautiful parks for peaceful respite. Spending time in my local park helps me to de-stress and has huge benefits for my health and wellbeing.

“Through the Bristol and Bath Parks Foundation, I hope to help make the most of our green spaces for everyone across Bristol and Bath to feel the benefits. A little ‘green time’ can make a huge difference in a busy day.”

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Pictured, from left: Trustee Lisa Ackerley, director Charlee Bennett and chair of trustees Rob Acton-Campbell



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