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Connecting people and plants

The Green Links Bridgend initiative has chalked up some impressive achievements over the past 12 months while continuing to strengthen the links people have with the green spaces around them.

Yellow flowers in the foreground with people on a guided walk in the background

Over the past 4 years, our Green Links initiative has been helping the community in Bridgend to connect meaningfully with the nature surrounding the town. By celebrating the area’s special green spaces, it aimed to benefit both people and plants by helping habitats remain wildlife havens which everyone can cherish. 

The project enjoyed further successes during 2022/23 thanks to support from the National Lottery Community Fund. Here are some of the highlights. 

A purple orchid in the foreground and a group of children at a sand dune in the background

Improving access to green spaces

One of the initiative’s key aims was to boost people’s wellbeing and environmental awareness while helping them feel more involved in their community.  

By working closely with Mental Health Matters and Bridgend Carers, we were able to understand the barriers which prevent some groups from connecting with nature.

Many soft conversations about access for people experiencing isolation or poor physical or mental health have been sparked as a result.

Recommendations have also been made to improve access at Kenfig National Nature Reserve following an audit. This aims to ensure that everyone can access the great outdoors and enjoy the wellbeing benefits associated with nature. 

A desk with potted plants, leaflets and guides for a training event

Inspiring children and educators

Two digital species-rich grasslands sessions took place in the spring, reaching 2,225 children and 144 educators from 91 schools. 

The sessions were delivered in partnership with Eco-Schools, which is a Keep Wales Tidy initiative, and helped to reinforce Plantlife’s No Mow May and Every Flower Counts messaging.

Several schools went onto hold activities in their grounds to benefit wildlife as a direct result of the sessions. 

Supporting species-rich grassland in urban areas

Over the past year, Green Links Bridgend has continued to provide support and training to estate managers and council staff to improve biodiversity in public grasslands. Feedback from the 50 Bridgend County Borough Council employees who took part was positive, and included comments such as:  

  • “I really enjoyed the session. Can it be longer next time?” 
  • “I did enjoy training and I really endorse what they are doing.” 
  • “It was interesting and I learnt lots. I liked the fact that live plants were used and not just pictures.” 

As a result of the training, changes to traditional management are being trialled at 3 housing association sites.

We are linking with our Road Verge campaign to make sure learning from these trials, and the relationships which have been built, are not lost when Green Links comes to an end. 

A group of workers participating in an training event investigating potted plants

Growing a supportive network

Over its lifetime, Green Links Bridgend has steadily developed a dedicated network of professional and volunteer members.

The group meet virtually and in person to discuss issues relating to green space connectivity. Members come from across all sectors, which demonstrates the potential of whole-system leadership.  

The network held a green space wellbeing event called the Bridgend Green Gathering in 2023, which attracted over 90 delegates. Experts from Public Health Wales, Natural Resources Wales and Bridgend County Borough Council.

Local entrepreneurs also took part, recognising that a thriving economy is part of any solution.

More ‘Connect People with Nature’ Projects

Celebrating success at our Magnificent Meadows
Close up image of a purple Southern Marsh-orchid on grass

Celebrating success at our Magnificent Meadows

Our partnership project to connect communities to species-rich meadows while restoring these important habitats has come to a close.

Bringing new audiences to conservation at Ranscombe
A man of colour wearing a blue hat and blue shorts walking through a wildflower field at Ranscombe Nature Reserve on a sunny day

Bringing new audiences to conservation at Ranscombe

Many visitors are unaware of Ranscombe Farm Nature Reserve’s importance for nature conservation. Ranscombe will play a leading role in a new strategy to connect people with nature.

No Mow May blooms bigger than ever
Rye grass reversion, Pembs c Lucia Chmurova.

No Mow May blooms bigger than ever

No Mow May lets wild plants flower by asking the public to relax their mowing regime each spring. Find out why 2023’s campaign was bigger and wilder than ever.