10/12/2014

People’s Plant Collection project in the running for £120,000 to transform Bristol with native wild flowers

The People’s Plant Collection, a Bristol project, is gearing up for a chance to win £120,000 of funding from the Big Lottery Fund to help communities transform their area through Grow Wild, a UK mass participation programme.

The People’s Plant Collection, a Bristol project, is gearing up for a chance to win £120,000 of funding from the Big Lottery Fund to help communities transform their area through Grow Wild, a UK mass participation programme. The ‘People’s Plant Collection’ aims to bring a flowerbed of colour to the Cumberland Piazza and transform it into a vibrant greenscape for wild flowers to grow. It will also provide the Bristol community with some of the UK’s rarest native plants to be displayed via ‘pop up’ gardens, which will emerge around the city, illuminating grey areas.

The People’s Plant Collection, a Bristol project, is gearing up for a chance to win £120,000 of funding from the Big Lottery Fund to help communities transform their area through Grow Wild, a UK mass participation programme.

The ‘People’s Plant Collection’ aims to bring a flowerbed of colour to the Cumberland Piazza and transform it into a vibrant greenscape for wild flowers to grow. It will also provide the Bristol community with some of the UK’s rarest native plants to be displayed via ‘pop up’ gardens, which will emerge around the city, illuminating grey areas.

Grow Wild’s winning project will be chosen by public vote in a national campaign which launches on 7 October and closes on 4 November 2014.  The public will decide on the project which will receive the £120,000 worth of funding to create inspiring wildflower spaces full of colour and wildlife for everyone to enjoy.  The other four shortlisted projects are based in East London, Plymouth, Sheffield, and Liverpool/Manchester (a two-city bid).

Partners involved in delivering the People’s Plant Collection include Bristol City Council, Bristol Nature Network, Bristol Green Capital UK, Bristol Zoological Society, Bristol Natural History Consortium, the Hotwells and Cliftonwood Community Association and Bristol in Bloom.

Becky Belfin, Nature Conservation Officer, Bristol City Council said: “Being shortlisted provides a great opportunity for us to work in partnership towards the creation of unique wildflower havens, for people, for communities and for wildlife. We are delighted to be one step closer to realising part of the City’s aspirations for Green Capital 2015.”

Looking at the cross-generational benefits of the Project, Maddy Bartlett, Co-chair of the Bristol Nature Network said: “Winning the Grow Wild competition would be great for the young people of Bristol - offering them opportunities to develop their knowledge of our native wildflowers and the local environment and allowing them to come together in making their city a greener place to live.”

The UK is home to some amazing wild flowers, but they're in danger, with 97 per cent of wild flower meadows being lost since the 1930s. This not only means less colour in our lives but also has a big impact on populations of butterflies, bees, pollinating bugs and birds.

Hotwells & Cliftonwood Community Association, who has been campaigning to rejuvenate the Cumberland Piazza said: “The Grow Wild project is an exciting development for the people of Hotwells; an inner city neighbourhood with no formal park but with a large derelict space; crying out for improvement and visible to thousands of passing travellers every day”.

Grow Wild is creating four high-profile flagship sites; one in each UK country, voted for by the public and rolled out between 2014 and 2017. Each receives £120,000 to create a site which will inspire Grow Wild participants, involve young people, and leave a lasting footprint of the programme in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Gay Coley, Director of Public Programmes for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew said: “These shortlisted Grow Wild finalists showcase fantastic ideas of how people can  transform urban space with wild flowers, for the benefit of the whole city and for the environment. The five finalists are all imaginative steps towards Grow Wild's overall ambition to re-engage the nation with nature.  It is great to see the involvement from local communities in each city at this important stage in the projects.”

Peter Ainsworth, Chair of the Big Lottery Fund, said: "Our Fund is proud to support projects which improve the quality of life for all. We know that making the places where we live more beautiful and connected to the natural world can give a real boost to happiness. Grow Wild aims not only to make places look better but also feel better. The involvement of young people is so important; they have a chance to make a big difference to the world they will inherit"

The vote for flagship sites in England is the second of Grow Wild’s special projects to take place. The inaugural flagship was launched earlier this year in Barrhead, Scotland, following a public vote. A call for nominations for flagship sites in Northern Ireland and Wales will be made later this autumn.

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