Bristol Lord Mayors Award 2023 - unsung heros
This year was the 40th anniversary of the Lord Mayor’s Medals - so what a time to get nominated! There were 20 awards this year, and Shane Richardson of Spacemakers Bristol was lucky enough to be one of those 20.
What is a Lord Mayors Award?
These annual awards celebrate the achievements and charitable efforts of those within the community who have gone above and beyond for their communities during the past year. The 2023 awards were awarded to individuals or organisation who've shown true dedication to improving the lives of their local communities.
Who can be nominated?
How does an individual or organisation become nominated/win such an amazing award? Well the criteria for this is outlined below;
The judging criteria for this year’s nomination were:
- Service of the nominee and what is unique, distinctive, or special about it
- how the nominee has enhanced the quality of life for the people and city of Bristol
All work nominated for would need to be unpaid work or work unrelated to the person’s career.
The Lord Mayor presided over the judging panel where anonymous nomination forms were evaluated and assessed based on the nominations "contribution to Bristol’s communities, plus the strength of supporting forms."
Why was Shane Richardson (Spacemakers, Bristol) nominated?
19 years ago, Shane was part of a group of young people who transformed an unused and practically avoided part of Willmott Park in Hartcliffe into the Spacemakers park in Willmott Park we are all familar with today, which was designed to be for literally everyone.
Shane's hard work resulted in improvements throughout the site, including;
- Replacement of the wooden panels that make up the seating in the shelter
- Removal of graffiti from the shelter, with help from Simon from Hartcliffe BMX and Naomi from Bristol Waste.
- Repaired railings
- Daffodil flower planting with local schools, including Grow In Hope at Merchants Academy Primary School
- More regular grass cuts
- Twice weekly litter picks!
- Repair to brickwork on drains
Shane is continuing the original objectives of Spacemakers, namely, to involve youth in the project - and by doing so develop a feeling of community, create a level of ownership within the local community, improve the self-worth of young people and to improve career prospects of young people.
There is also ongoing support for Hartcliffe Football Club and their need to have a home pitch, after too many years without one.
Check out the press release, which includes details of all the other winners too, here - https://news.bristol.gov.uk/press-releases/31b88556-80f4-4118-b2b3-dcb256076eec/bristol-s-unsung-heroes-recognised-with-lord-mayor-s-medals
What did Shanes Nomination say?
Hayley Swift - Community Development Practitioner Parks and Green Spaces
As a teenager, Shane was part of a group of young local people that designed and built an area of Willmott Park in Hartcliffe called Spacemakers. Now, motivated by his own children, Shane has stepped up to bring people in his local community together to look after and bring life back into the park. He has made connections between local residents, Bristol City Council, sports clubs, youth workers and more.
He holds regular (very busy) meetings - holding the space with good humour and grace. Everyone is given a chance to share (including people that are there to talk about their ideas for parks other than Willmott). Shane's hard work has already resulted in improvements including renewal of a seating, removal of graffiti, repaired railings, flower planting and twice weekly litter picks! Shane hosts the Spacemakers Facebook page where he raises awareness of what's happening in the park and skilfully steers the tone towards what can be achieved when people act on the things they care about.
What Shane has achieved in such a small amount of time is an inspiration, he deserves recognition for both the work he is doing in Willmott Park and for his very genuine and warm approach to building his community. He speaks openly and honestly about his passion for creating a safe and inspiring space for his children to play, this has had a real knock-on effect to the people around him. Every neighbourhood needs a Shane Richardson.