Friends of Brandon Hill


Your story

To protect, maintain and enhance Brandon Hill for the enjoyment and well-being of Bristol's communities, visitors and future generations

Group introduction

Brandon Hill, an historic park in the heart of Bristol, is thought to be one of the oldest publicly owned parks in the country. It has been owned and managed by Bristol Corporation since the 12th. century. Friends of Brandon Hill was formed in 2008 in response to the perceived neglect of this important space, not least the continued closure of the Cabot Tower on its summit. The Friends campaigned for its repair and restoration which was funded by English Heritage with matched funding from Bristol City Council. The tower, built in 1897 to commemorate the 400th. anniversary of Cabot's voyage to Newfoundland, re-opened in 2011 and the public were once again able to climb the 300 steps to the summit to enjoy the spectacular views. Since then we have raised the funds to renovate the derelict bowling green and turn it into a community garden ( Photo 1 before and Photo 2 after); planted a community orchard and herb garden with the help of volunteers and local school children (photos 3 and 4 below) and devised a tree trail. We lead walks around the tree trail during the annual Bristol Festival of Walks and this year our 3 walks were attended by approximately 70 members of the public. In addition to our development projects, our volunteers carry out regular maintenance sessions of the areas we have improved and receive occasional help from local businesses seeking community action days and from students at Bristol University wanting to do community service. At present we are being helped by Parkwork, a programme set up by a member of our committee in conjunction with Bristol City Council using charitable funding that he applied for. This programme provides short term horticultural training to those seeking to re-enter employment.
Each year we enter the Royal Horticultural Society's 'I'ts Your Neighbourhood 'Competition and for the last few years have been awarded Level 5, Outstanding.
Our work is overseen by our committee of 11 members who meet regularly throughout the year and each year we hold an Annual General Meeting open to interested members of the public. We liaise regularly with the Parks Department of the Council and are supported by our local Councillor who helps us by advertising our meetings and events in his newsletter.
Our activities involve the local community comprising residents, local businesses and students in a joint activity which provides social interaction and physical exercise, The results enhance an important leisure facility enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.

How would this funding have an impact on your community?

If we are successful in obtaining this funding we would use it to buy additional tools and shrubs and plants for the hill. We are, for example, responsible for maintaining the shrubbery that we planted in the new community garden and need to replenish plants that have died. Our tools are much used and these too need replacing regularly.

"This money would enable us to involve a larger number of volunteers by providing us with much needed additional tools for them to use.
Fraser Bridgeford, Treasurer and Volunteer Coordinator"

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