The West Midlands Parks Forum is currently evolving as Parks Officers from the West Midlands and the East Midlands are joining forces in an effort to develop wider opportunities for skills sharing and personal development. Members of both organisations recognise that as resources are becoming scarcer for parks professionals, that economies of scale should be considered to improve opportunities for the current networks to survive and grow. The Interim Board has been successful in securing funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to develop this proposal and have employed a part time Partnership Manager to deliver the concept.
There have been discussions nationally about who is best placed to represent the views of parks and greenspace professionals but there is still a vacuum for networking and personal development across the sector.
The West Midlands Parks Forum (WMPF) has long been a good practice example of how green space professionals from various sectors can come together and deliver meaningful change.
WMPF has been going for 33 years and is funded and run by its members. It meets 6 times per year and membership has grown over the last 3 years. We were the largest responding region in the UK in the State of UK Parks research, demonstrating the value that our forum can add to the national debate. In 2017 we started development work with colleagues in the East Midlands and have jointly created the Midlands Parks Forum, a new organisation that will bring together both regions to develop learning opportunities, informal networking and act as a unified voice at a national level. We secured National Lottery Heritage Funding to take forward Midlands Park Forum for 18 months with the aim of creating a self-sustaining network and we now employ a part time Partnership Manager.
We are keen to be part of national research and discussions as well as collaborating with other sector organisations to develop workshops and learning opportunities
The forthcoming conference ’Empowering Parks for the 21st Century’ is being delivered by the Landscape Institute, in association with the Parks Action Group, West Midlands Parks Forum and The Parks Alliance. This day of learning and development supports people who manage natural spaces of all scales – from urban parks and green spaces to national parks and designated landscapes.
We are currently recruiting new members from the East and the West Midlands, so if you would like a membership application form or further information, please contact us at email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: Alison Bate – Partnership Manager on 01562 887884