Reimagining Brickfields Park

We have chosen Brickfields Park to become an exemplar park for accessibility for women and girls. We undertook a consultation with young people to understand what they wanted from Brickfields Park, and used the opportunity to work with another charity, Make Space for Girls to understand the needs of teenage girls.

It is a large park, which was mainly used for dog walking and as a pass-through for commuters. It was underused due to antisocial behaviour. It contains a play park, pump track and the only free, full size basketball court in Bath, to which people travel from all over the city and outskirts to use.

man on a skate.

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The locality

Brickfields Park is at the heart of Whiteway, Twerton and Southdown which are some of the most disadvantaged wards in the country. 23% of people live in purpose-built blocks of flats with extremely limited outdoor space.

Compared to Bath & North East Somerset’s (B&NES) average:

  • There are over twice the amount of Gypsy or Irish Travellers, people from mixed or BAME backgrounds
  • 11% of residents’ lives are limited a lot
  • Over double the amount are in very bad health, long term unemployed, never been employed, are carers, long-term sick or Disabled
  • 32% have no qualifications
  • of those who are employed, only 50% work full time
  • 16% are single parents – over twice the B&NES average.

Youth Consultation

Brickfields pic 3

The Brickfields Park Youth Consultation focused on improving access, safety and usage for 11–19-year-olds. It was carried out in partnership with the University of Bath in November and December 2021, and found that:

  • 20% of users estimated between the ages of 9-19 were accompanied by an adult (5 female, 4 male);
  • Young people were only observed in the park without peers when accompanied by an adult;
  • Males using the park engaged in a much wider range of activities including using the sports facilities;
  • Females didn’t use the basketball court or football pitches and primarily engaged in social activities (talking and using phones) while cutting through the park.

The exercise was repeated in July 2022 with charity Make Space for Girls, with a focus on determining the current use of sporting facilities in Brickfields Park.

It found that:

  • 89% of users of the basketball courts were teenage males with only 10% of users being teenage females;
  • No females of any age used the football pitches;
  • Girls walking through from Hayesfield School mostly used benches or the grass to sit and chat, so mostly engaged in social activities;
  • Males used the park most weeks, but most females only visited a few times a year;
  • 25% of females do not feel safe enough to visit Brickfields Park at all.

Read the full Brickfields Park Youth Consultation report here.

Work completed

Brickfields pic 1

Before 2021, the site was otherwise barren. Now, the space hosts more than 500 trees, thousands of wildflowers, a nature pond and natural habitats for more than 2,000 species.

Improvements that have taken place in the last year or are ongoing include:

  • High hedges and height of fencing dropped to make pathways more open and increase visibility across the site;
  • Entrance gateways opened to make them more accessible and welcoming;
  • More natural features added, such as plants, flowers and water;
  • More social seating – three brand new social seating areas going in;
  • New swings for teenagers outside of the children’s play area.

Next steps

Brickfields pic

Further funding is required to deliver further improvements over the next year, including:

  • Shelter and lighting
  • Wider pathways for access and roller skating
  • Redesigning the sports area and shelter in collaboration with teenage girls
  • Outdoor gym with a charging port for phones.
man on a skate.

Donate today

Make a donation towards this work today.