Nature Connects Brent is a new project run by the Rangers Programme at London National Park City and kindly supported by Natural England.

The project will run until April 2022 in the London Borough of Brent and will provide a variety of activities and opportunities for residents to explore their local area, discover nature on their doorstep and get stuck in with some community greening and nature workshops.

What sort of activities and workshops will be taking place?
We will be running a range of activities and campaigns including:

  • Stories by Moonlight campaign
    Stories By Moonlight are outdoor bedtime adventures and a growing national campaign celebrating the value of nature connection, family time and the universal tradition of moonlit storytelling.
  • Forest school related campaign and activities
    Led by Forest & Family, part of the project will involve the design and development of a free forest school scheme in Brent, alongside a number of free forest related activities. 
  • Community walks including health and exploration walks, nature walks and plant & animal identification and surveying sessions
    A selection of free, public events will take place at a range of locations across Brent.
  • Community planting days
    Three community planting days will be held in April 2022 to improve local spaces.
  • Community activities at St Raphael's Edible Garden
    Managed by Sufra, a number of community events will take place at St Raphael's Edible Garden to support local residents in connecting with nature.
  • Art and nature walks
    A series of four Artecology walks will take place led by artists Becky Lyon and Rhona Eve Clews. These themed walks will use art practice to connect people with nature.

Who can get involved?
This project is being run with local communities in Brent for all to take part. There is no prior knowledge or experience needed and the sessions are free of charge. There may be a limited number of spaces for some events.

How can I get involved?
See below for details on sessions and how to book. Alternatively, feel free to drop an email through to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions.

Event Date and Time Location Detail Registration
Artecology walk #1 Sunday 19th December 2021: 10.30am-12.30pm  Welsh Harp Open Space

What do fire, rats, oranges, dead logs and eyebaths have to do with winter? Join artists Becky Lyon and Rhona Eve Clews on a playful art-inspired winter walk and find out!

Come wander, wonder and warm-up with us as we explore collective drawing, bodywork, micro-looking, sound mapping, word-making and ritual to connect with nature and the outdoors amidst deep midwinter, tuning into the delights of the season through the Welsh Harp Open Space. This walk is suitable for over 16's. 

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Artecology walk #2 Saturday 23rd January 2022: 10.30am-12.30pm Fryent Country Park

How can bare-branch gazing, deep-listening with birds, panoramic image-making and airy sourdough equip you for the most depressing week of the year?! Find out as you join artists Becky Lyon and Rhona Eve Clews as they host a nourishing ‘fresh start’ walk in Brent’s spacious Fryent Country Park.

Through a playful, experimental art and nature journey through the park we’ll offer simple practises to help you zoom out on the big picture, find new horizons in the new year and see the wood through the (bare) trees. Instead of hunkering down and knuckling through the Winter months we’ll offer creative and nurturing strategies, setting you on a positive course for the months ahead. Bring an open heart and join us for a Winter wander! This walk is suitable for over 16's.

Please register here

 

More events and activties for 2022 will be added here shortly. You can also sign up to our Friends of Rangers newsletter - you'll recieve a newsletter in January which will provide more details on the Nature Connects Brent project as well as other Ranger activities and events taking place across London.

The project supports and feeds into the ongoing nature connection programmes taking place in Brent. This includes Nature Connects Us, a Brent based project increasing nature connection, nature-based time and outdoor play amongst Brent residents for improved health, wellbeing, cohesion and happiness. The project is led and managed by local social enterprise Forest & Family with funding from the Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy (NCIL) and support from Brent Parks. Outputs include the creation of a Forest School and Nature Connection centre, enhanced forest school and outdoor learning programmes, Brent’s first outdoor nursery, nature connection park resources and community engagement and events programme.

Nature Connects Brent is a project run in partnership with Forest & Family and Sufra, and is possible due to the generous support of Natural England.

ForestFamily                 sufra logo                 NE logo

 

We asked our network for ideas to put to candidates and we have produced 5 top asks and 99 What If ideas on how the next Mayor can make life in London better.

The next Mayoral election is in May 2020. You can read more about the Mayor and their role here

 

Download a PDF of the Commitments and What Ifs >

 

5 NATIONAL PARK CITY COMMITMENTS FOR THE NEXT MAYOR OF LONDON

London leads the world by being the world’s firstLondon leads the world by being the world’s first National Park City.

The Mayor of London has a lead role in championing, supporting and enhancing our London National Park City. The National Park City Foundation asks the next Mayor of London to support London National Park City in five ways.

The commitments reflect ideas gathered from Londoners and some of the 250 groups and organisations in the London National Park City Network:

1. SIGN, SUPPORT AND PROMOTE THE LONDON NATIONAL PARK CITY CHARTER

2. DEVISE A LONDON NATIONAL PARK CITY STRATEGY INVOLVING ALL PARTS OF THE GREATER LONDON AUTHORITY – FROM TRANSPORT, HEALTH, EDUCATION, SKILLS AND BUSINESS TO CULTURE, SPORT, HERITAGE, ENVIRONMENT AND COMMUNITY.

3. PROMOTE LONDON’S NATIONAL PARK CITY IDENTITY, STORY AND PRESENCE TO INSPIRE MORE PEOPLE TO ENJOY LONDON’S GREAT OUTDOORS AND HELP MAKE LONDON GREENER, HEALTHIER AND WILDER.

4. CONNECT LONDONERS TO SHARE SKILLS, TRAINING, KNOWLEDGE, BEST PRACTICE, IDEAS, HOPES AND DREAMS BY SUPPORTING SEASONAL CITY-WIDE NATIONAL PARK CITY GATHERINGS.

5. PROTECT AND INCREASE LONDON’S GREEN, BLUE, PUBLIC, WILD OPEN SPACES AND IMPROVE THEIR QUALITY, QUANTITY, SAFETY, CONNECTIVITY AND DIVERSITY OF USE. 

 

99 WHAT IF'S FOR THE NEXT MAYOR OF LONDON

The Mayor of London should help London be a world class National Park City in many other ways too. Londoners answered our call for What if ideas to make life better in London. For each “what if” idea, the follow-up question for us all is “why not?”.

WHICH OF THESE IDEAS, HOPES AND OBJECTIVES WILL THE NEXT MAYOR OF LONDON FULFILL?

 

*1 What if more than half of London was physically green?   

*2 What if we doubled the number of people enjoying outdoor sports and activities?   

*3 What if all Londoners felt London’s great outdoors was for them?   

*4 What if London was the first major capital to be net carbon neutral?   

*5 What if half of London’s green space was prioritised for nature?   

*6 What if every resident could see green space and trees from their window?   

*7 What if London’s air was not poisonous?   

*8 What if most children walked or cycled to school?   

*9 What if souvenirs sold to tourists featured London’s great outdoors and natural assets?   

*10 What if women could walk and run safely in our green spaces on their own at any time?   

*11 What if London celebrated all four seasons, not just two?   

*12 What if London businesses held staff awaydays outdoors?   

*13 What if green spaces could help cross divides between postcodes and borough lines?   

*14 What if more people felt able to enjoy the outdoors more often - as part of everyday life?   

*15 What if every child could play in nature on their doorstep?   

*16 What if a quarter of all of London’s walls were covered in well mantained ivy or other nature-rich plants?   

*17 What if the Mayor and Councils backed an annual campaign to connect everyone with nature and help them enjoy themselves outdoors?   

*18 What if London doubled tree cover for shade and beauty and to store carbon, boost nature and cut flood risk?   

*19 What if spaces between new development were designed to be great for nature, play and learning? 

*20 What if shopping centres, visitor attractions and entertainment venues promoted active travel?   

*21 What if there were 1,000 signed residential play streets?   

*22 What if London had 1,000 volunteer National Park City Rangers?   

*23 What if the Mayor’s National Park City Festival was as big as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival?   

*24 What if new public ponds were created in each of London’s 654 wards?   

*25 What if a tree was planted in the greenbelt for every child born in London?   

*26 What if 33 major streets (1 per borough) were transformed into parks?   

*27 What if anyone without a car could turn a parking space into a parklet space?   

*28 What if there was a new and fully-funded All-London-Green-Grid?   

*29 What if there was an independent National Park City Fund to raise funds from philanthropists?   

*30 What if a “tourist tax” on hotel stays helped make London greener, healthier and wilder?   

*31 What if all of London’s rivers were clean and safe to swim in?   

*32 What if, inspired by business improvement districts, there were Green Improvement Districts?   

*33 What if London parks were as well funded and run as Royal Parks?   

*34 What if every child in London was taught about living in the London National Park City?   

*35 What if there were more natural lidos?   

*36 What if there was an urban right to roam map of London?   

*37 What if there was a “Tinder” style website for connecting people to available land?   

*38 What if there was more signage to help people discover parks, green and blue spaces?   

*39 What if all TfL, police and fire staff were told about the London National Park City?   

*40 What if the greenbelt was made greener and better for people and wildlife?   

*41 What if orchards were planted going through people’s back gardens?   

*42 What if there was a National Park City course for people to learn green your street and other skills?   

*43 What if more golf courses became public parks?   

*44 What if there were more grants to scale-up National Park City-related projects and businesses?   

*45 What if all new buildings and their surroundings included habitat making and connecting features?   

*46 What if there was more social public seating?   

*47 What if there were 1,000 rope swings across London’s parks?   

*48 What if part of every park’s grassed area was given to children to plant up and maintain?   

*49 What if council and housing association grounds became spaces for food growing?   

*50 What if existing nature on developers’ sites as protected and incorporated into development plans?   

*51 What if there were more free bike courses for fixing and riding bicycles?   

*52 What if 10,000 new fruit trees were planted in people’s back gardens?   

*53 What if mature trees were properly protected?   

*54 What if Transport for London’s rail routes were thriving with nature?   

*55 What if TfL Legible London applied to London’s long distance footpaths and waterways?   

*56 What if London’s rivers, waterways and water bodies were restored for nature and to reduce flooding?   

*57 What if all major roads were lined with pollution absorbing hedging?   

*58 What if we all stopped using bug sprays and weed killer?   

*59 What if every London home stored rainwater for gardening and ran on clean, green energy?   

*60 What if everyone in London could confidently identify 10 trees, 10 birds, 10 plants and 10 insects?   

*61 What if London bought no bottled water?   

*62 What if “Garden Bridge amounts of money” went to manage and create green spaces, parks and greener streets London wide?   

*63 What if an eight year-old could bike to school safely?   

*64 What if more streets and public spaces were designed to give people joy?   

*65 What if all parks were linked to each other by at least one ‘quiet way’ for walking, cycling and gardening?   

*66 What if London brought back house sparrows, swifts, starlings and skylarks?   

*67 What if more school lessons were held outside?   

*68 What if there were more places for growing food in public spaces?   

*69 What if London held a massive plant swap day?   

*70 What if residents could turn streets into pop-up sports and play areas, complete with painted lines?   

*71 What if there was no rubbish in our streets?   

*72 What if there was a beach or public swimming pool on the Thames in central London?   

*73 What if all London schools taught a London National Park City curriculum?   

*74 What if there were more playful “do this” signs instead of “don’t do / no ball games” signs?   

*75 What if we could hear birdsong and buzzing bees above road and aircraft noise?   

*76 What if every child in London went on a Thames safari to look for seals and a walk in Richmond Park?   

*77 What if more of the greenbelt was used for sustainable smallholdings and similar skills?   

*78 What if allotments and parks were safe from development threats?   

*79 What if signs, art and interpretation on buses and trains helped people understand the world outside?   

*80 What if bandstands were brought to life again through talks and performances?   

*81 What if all brownfield sites were made available for meanwhile use, for play, recreation and exercise?   

*82 What if the city was designed so we heard more beautiful sounds?   

*83 What if the Mayor of London went camping in Epping Forest with a group of young people?   

*84 What if we could see the night sky in London?   

*85 What if businesses made their window boxes, hedging and hanging baskets great for bees, pollinators and nature, and knew how to maintain them?   

*86 What if London valued and invested in skills like food growing, gardening and urban greening?   

*87 What if there were more fish, eels, otters and beavers in London’s rivers?   

*88 What if parks had signs and information to explain and promote their multifunctional benefits?   

*89 What if people in London could adopt a new street tree outside their home?   

*90 What if there was a National Park City community hub in every borough?   

*91 What if there were more revenue grants to support people’s time to do things?   

*92 What if every ward knew what it could do in its area to bring nature back?   

*93 What if well known and respected people championed their part of the National Park City?   

*94 What if central London had a National Park City eco-cultural visitor centre?   

*95 What if every front garden lost to hard paving had to create new green space within 100 yards?   

*96 What if there was more colour in London?   

*97 What if people gained Oyster card credits for physically active visits to green spaces and places across London and the south east, including to local Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks?   

*98 What if London showed the world how urban life can be nature-rich and climate friendly in the 21st century?   

*99 What if all Londoners felt empowered, proud and hopeful to be part of the world’s first National Park City?   

*100? What would you add as the 100th What If idea? Let us know

Could you become a National Park City Champion?

The next 6 months are huge for the London National Park City as we build on the launch in July.

We want to reach as many people around London to let them know that London is becoming a National Park City, what that means, and what they can do to be involved.

We are challenging you to become a National Park City Champion. Champions will reach out to friends, groups, organisations and companies. To present to them National Park City and to explore the ideas with them, and then to take part and make their own difference.

We invite you to become a Champion if:

1. You will have an interest in the London National Park City and related ideas - enjoying the outdoors and making life better by making it greener, wilder, healthier.

2. You are interested in taking that story out to groups, organisations and companies, and to use our tools to engage them with our vision and your own experience and knowledge.

If that sounds of interest, please register your interest on our form https://actionnetwork.org/forms/be-notified-about-the-next-champion-workshop/ and we will let you know when the next workshop is organised.

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