‘Make Space for Us’ – Older Girls and Rowntree Park
Can you help?
We are putting together a programme of events/activities this June in Rowntree Park that is aimed at older girls, and we’d love you to be involved in running a one off event/session or a series of sessions. For why, and what, read on…
‘Make Space for Us’ programme of events – June 2023:
Facilitators – run a session
If you’d like to run an event/session these can be a one off, or a series of things. This would take place on a weekday evening or at a weekend – any date in June. We welcome ideas and suggestions. The sessions would run in an outdoor space.
Ideally the sessions would be a donation of your time as we’d like to keep events free or low cost to encourage many girls to get involved. However, depending on the nature/length of the sessions, it may be possible to get payment as we can charge people to attend (we have a ticketing system). The payment would depend on the amount of tickets sold (via us) minus our fees. We don’t have external funding for this at present, therefore we will need to look at ways to cover costs and that’s based on discussions with individual facilitators. We do also hope that through involvement, the girls may opt to get involved in future sessions you run at any venue and raise awareness for your business.
Deadline for applications to be involved – April 30th
By the end of April we need to start creating the programme in order to give us enough time to get things printed and advertised to make the event the best it can be!
What we need from you:
- Suggested dates/times for your event (weekends or evenings in June)
- Max number of participants
- Brief blurb on what the event activity is
- Whether the event is free or you’d like to charge (we can discuss this with you if not sure/what to know more)
Happy to chat more in advance – just get in touch!
The Friends of Rowntree Park have been running the ‘Make Space for Us’ project since October 2021. The focus is on looking at how to get more older girls (aged 10-18 approx) to use the park. This work started linked to ‘Make Space for Girls’ who argue that public parks are designed for the default male citizen’ and the views of girls aren’t considered (equipment added for older children often becomes skateparks, MUGAs, BMX tracks and Basketball courts that can’t be seen as gender neutral when dominated by boys). The views of older girls (and boys) are rarely sought when new parks are planned and councils and designers default to what they know. Research shows that after the age of 10 girls use public parks less and therefore this can affect physical and mental health. There are numerous reasons as to why girls use of park’s drops, however looking at how to both improve the physical space to make them more welcoming to girls plus having more events/activities aimed at girls should hopefully start to make a difference.
Our work/ideas have been referred to in some national research over the last year including by Women in sport (Yorkshire Sport Foundation) and MSG. We have worked with York University Department of Environmental & Geography for the Festival of Social Science (Nov 2022) looking at how girls/women use green and blue spaces. Currently we are involved in a conference/case study with Leeds University Criminology Dept/West Yorkshire Authority/MSG on how to improve the safety of women and girls in Rowntree Park.
What we’ve done so far and what we’d like to do:
We have carried out a range of research via surveys, observations, drop in sessions and focus groups. As a result we are looking at physical additions (equipment) and more groups/sessions for girls.
So far we are seeking funding to get some additional equipment in the park. We would add this near the ‘older children’s playpark’ (based on feedback). The top suggestions have been basket/group swings, agility and gym equipment. Also some additional ‘social benches’ in the area. We have secured some funding toward our aim of a swing but as a park that floods, the ground prep and materials to be used add to the costs and we need more to make something happen – a basket swing alone is just over £10,000. Therefore we are looking at potential alternatives and also seeking grants or business funding to support our aim of getting some physical change in the pak based on the feedback and girls groups work on what they’d like.
Changes that benefit girls will hopefully also benefit other users. For example, our most recent survey and feedback has shown that both older boys and girls who use the park have similar equipment wants that include more swings and agility/gym equipment. Although park facilities such as the skatepark and basketball court are well used, this is mainly by boys/men and our research shows that the majority of boys using the park don’t use these facilities and have others they’d prioritise if building a ‘perfect park’.
Secondly, we have also been looking at groups/activities that can be run to bring older girls to the park. In spring 2022 we started ‘Wild Ones’ a group for 10-16 year old girls. It’s a weekly evening term time outdoor youth group with a forest school feel. Activities include hanging in hammocks (very popular), foraging, campfire cooking, agility, orienteering, whittling and nature crafts. This group is continuing to run and proves popular. The same group meets for a term block. Feedback has shown that older girls like seeing the park busy and especially events like womens dance and exercise classes. Feedback has stated things like they feel more comfortable and it’s great to see women enjoying themselves whilst doing sports/dance. Therefore it would be good to get more events and activities aimed at older girls such as sports/exercise and/or the arts/creative things (other ideas welcomed). The aim is to encourage girls to see the park as their space too, develop some skills, and also engage with nature.
What we’d like:
To find funding/business sponsors to help us be able to get a swing (or similar) and some benches to go in a specific area, as suggested in the feedback.
We’d like to run a programme of events for older girls throughout June 2023 and are looking for:
- Event organisers (anyone/people willing to take on the overall events organisation and coordination).
- People willing to run sessions/events
Thank you for taking the time to read this information and showing interest in the project. At this stage, here is no guarantee the programme will run, it depends on interest and costs involved. However, we’d like people to express interest in being involved so we can work out if this can happen (fingers crossed!)
I keep referring to us/we (FRP) but I currently run the ‘Make Space for Us’ project as a volunteer – I’m abigail (FRP Charity Manager) and you can drop me a line at email@example.com
Contact abigail – hello@rowntreepark.