The Parks Alliance (TPA) is the voice of UK parks, representing the people and organisations that create, maintain, invest in and use the public
green spaces that we are proud to have at the heart of British life.
A bumper issue newsletter this month. Here are the highlights:-
Back in May the Boards of The Parks Alliance (TPA) and The Landscape Institute (LI) agreed in principle to bring their organisations closer together in order to create a stronger voice, avoid duplication and to better support the parks and green space sector. In this issue we highlight some of the work of the new Parks and Green Space Network that TPA and LI brought together to fulfil this promise including developing new parks management apprenticeships, delivering a Green Recovery and creating a professional home for parks and green space professionals.
As the UK government seeks to kick start (save?) the economy in response to the COVID19 it is widely accepted that any comeback from the pandemic has to address climate change, reverse the decline in nature and tackle health inequalities. This means a green recovery. The Parks and Green Space Network worked alongside the LI to produce ‘Greener Recovery – Delivering a sustainable recovery from COVID19‘ including a special supplement for parks and green spaces.
The Welsh GI Forum received a presentation from Dr. Bharat Pankhania, Senior Clinical Lecturer at the University of Exeter Medical School on some of the basic facts about the origins and transmission of viral respiratory diseases and the implications for managing green spaces. Watch the presentation below.
The Parks Community UK team and the National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces have developed a peer-led ‘one stop shop’ website ‘Better Friends’ to help local Friends Groups continue to improve and serve their communities.
Landscape Journal carries quite a lot of parks and green space related content as you can imagine. In this newsletter we highlight a few of the most interesting articles.
In November the Landscape Institute and the Midlands Parks Forum are running a CPD Day focused on the key skills required to help parks managers make sure their parks thrive into the future. Find out below how you can get involved.
Recently The Friends of the Earth published a great report and (on-line tool) New highlighting how 1 in 5 people in England struggle to access quality green space – be it private gardens, public parks or open fields. Download the report below.
Finally, the publication of ‘Making Parks Count – The Case for Parks‘ was widely reported across the sector and proved extremely popular amongst those who have to make the case for investment and resources. Its publication could not have been more timely just as the Prime Minster and Chancellor announced the summer economic stimulus package and ahead of future statements on public finances. We have taken the opportunity to highlight once more the Business Case, the evidence base and the resource library here.
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In May 2020, the boards of The Parks Alliance (TPA) and the Landscape Institute (LI) agreed in principle to bring their organisations closer together. The goal: to create a stronger voice, avoid duplication of efforts, and better support the parks and green space sector.
The Network’s vision is ‘…for everyone to have access to quality green spaces that improve their physical and mental health, are inclusive, that contribute to the sustainability of their community and the world, and that support the economic vitality of their neighbourhood, town or city.’
The Network aims to provide a voice for parks, representing and empowering the people and organisations that create, maintain, invest in and use public green spaces.
Working collaboratively and inclusively across the sector, the Network will promote parks and green spaces at every level – from local to international – to ensure the very best for these vital public assets.
The Network includes over 50 leaders and experts from public, private and voluntary organisations across the UK. These leaders will decide the Network’s priorities, and members will be able to support delivery according to their interests.
Greener Recovery – How Parks and Green Spaces Can Play a Key Role
A policy paper from the new Parks and Green Space Network (PSGN) calls on the UK Government to seize a ‘once in a generation chance’ to deliver a truly green economic recovery from COVID-19.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, parks and green spaces have provided a lifeline for millions. Rightly championed as crucial assets to maintaining people’s physical and mental health, they became a vital part of the national response to the pandemic.
As we emerge from the pandemic, we have the opportunity to make parks and green spaces a central part of the nation’s economic and social recovery. We need to recognise their role in improving public health, addressing climate change and reversing biodiversity loss.
Parks are THE smart infrastructure investment. For every £1 invested in urban green spaces, urban communities receive £7 in well being benefits. Parks in England deliver over £6.6bn of health, climate change and environmental benefits each year, including £2.2bn in avoided health costs alone. To seize these opportunities, the government must give them the support they need.
The report’s recommendations to government include:
‘Level up’ access to parks and green space. One in eight households (12%) in Great Britain has no access to a private or shared garden. . In England, black people are nearly four times as likely as white people to have no access to outdoor space at home.
Invest at least £1bn per year into parks and green spaces. Under investment is rife, with billions of pounds lost in health and well being as a result. We need ‘shovel-worthy’, not just ‘shovel-ready’ projects, delivered in ways that address climate change, prioritise communities most in need, and improve our quality of life. We also need to make the most of the assets we already have, supporting skills and long-term maintenance.
Place the same focus on sustainable operational funding for parks and green spaces as we do for capital investment.
Invest in a talented green workforce. Our sector can help to create new green jobs, especially for young people and those living in disadvantaged areas. (The new level 3 Landscape Technician apprenticeship for parks provides an excellent opportunity for employers recruit more young people into this critical sector.)
Introduce clearer rules and new green space standards in England to avoid a ‘race to the bottom’ in planning laws. We must avoid falling further behind countries such as Wales, Scotland, and overseas green infrastructure leaders such as Singapore.
The Wales GI Forum had an excellent presentation on Covid-19 and green spaces by an international specialist on infectious diseases. In the presentation, Dr. Bharat Pankhania, Senior Clinical Lecturer at the University of Exeter Medical School reviews some of the basic facts about the origins and transmission of viral respiratory diseases before describing the implications for managing green spaces. Dr. Pankhania has worked on all kinds of disease from Ebola to Tuberculosis and has been interviewed extensively about the current pandemic by news services around the world. This short presentation will be informative for site managers and policy makers.
Thanks to Pete Frost at Natural Resources Wales for sharing.
The Parks Community UK team and the National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces have developed a peer-led ‘one stop shop’ website to serve the movement of over 7,000 local Friends Groups. The site contains highly-focused guidance, relevant and inspiring case studies, and links to key national organisations. The PCUK team, supported by the NFPGS, have now created a special ‘state of the art’ online tool designed specifically to help the thousands of volunteer Friends and community groups who champion and try to animate and improve their local parks and green spaces. The Better Friends tool is an enjoyable challenge and a neat and non-judgmental way to test the current health of any greenspace Friends or community group – to support and encourage groups to continue to do the best possible for their local green spaces. Try it out below.
Nesta’s Rethinking Parks programme has also produced a leaflet discussing the experiences of three Rethinking Parks projects. You can find it here.
Landscape is the quarterly journal of the Landscape Institute (LI), the chartered body for the landscape profession. The journal showcases the best in landscape design, management and thinking including parks and green spaces. It gives professionals a broader view of the key issues facing the profession, while also equipping them with tools and knowledge to make them better at their jobs. The last issue had a number of articles about parks including:-
Phin Harper Director of London Open House reflects on the importance of access to public parks and private space during the COVID19 pandemic here. Sarah Gaventa of Illuminated River Foundation sets out some ideas for ensuring parks have a bright future after the pandemic here and finally Dr Meredith Whitten, from the London School of Economics, addresses the impact of COVID-19 on parks and green ‘in-between’ spaces in the city here.
We’ll highlight more parks and green space related content in the Journal in the future.
Making Parks Count: LI Collaborates with Midlands Parks Forum for CPD day
Parks sector professionals need new skills to make sure their parks thrive in the 21st Century. This new context demands new skill sets, and parks staff need to be empowered with skills in critical areas including commercial entrepreneurship, income generation, marketing and promotion, ‘influencing decision making’ and the ability to demonstrate the value of parks to a wider range of services and priorities. Parks managers believe the most important skills for the future of the service will include financial and partnership skills that focus on funding and resources.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of good quality well-managed parks in our cities and towns. This has further emphasised the skills and capacity required to manage these spaces in ways that not only demonstrates their value but also can secure much needed investment and unlock their multiple benefits and deliver them for their local communities. The pandemic has underscored the need for highly networked leadership and new skills in managing parks to deliver on the key challenges of climate change, nature restoration and tackling inequality.
The Landscape Institute has come together with the Midlands Park Forum to explore what these skills look like from practitioners in the field and how today’s managers can acquire them.
The two-day online LI CPD event, held on 11-12 November will explore the themes of leadership, the skill sets of future park management, consultation and community engagement techniques, methods influencing, collaboration and innovation. Real practitioners with real experience and real examples will help provide a route map over the two days for parks and green space managers to chart their future development needs, to make sure they can make their parks count.
New research from Friends of the Earth supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery shows 1 in 5 people in England struggle to access quality green space – be it private gardens, public parks or open fields.
Friends of the Earth identifies the 1,257 neighbourhoods that are most green space deprived in England, with 1 in 5 people struggling to access green space. View list here and map here.
42% of England’s Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities live in the most green-space deprived neighbourhoods
Environmental group calls on government to commit to investing £4bn a year to boost green space in the most deprived neighbourhoods as part of a Green and Fair Covid-19 Recovery Plan
The report ranks neighbourhoods from A (the best access to green space) to E (the least access to green space). Almost 11 million people live in E rated neighbourhoods with an additional 7.7 million in D rated neighbourhoods.
Bringing together official data on the availability of green space to communities for the very first time, the research shows that millions of us lack basic access to green space and nature, with income and ethnicity being huge factors.
The findings further demonstrate that people from BAME communities are disproportionately impacted by a worsening environment – often living with dire air pollution, little in the way of green spaces, and greater risk from the impacts of extreme weather.
The Parks Alliance has published Making Parks Count – The Case for Parks. This newsletter is dedicated to the business case and the information and tools provided alongside it that can be used by all of the parks community to make parks count.
The Making Parks Count – The Case for Parks – was produced by TPA in conjunction with the Parks Action Group and funded by MHCLG. Although it was written prior to the pandemic, it sets out why parks are the smart investment, and should form part of the infrastructure investment being planned to kick start the post COVID19 economy and the overall Green Recovery.
Why Parks are a Smart Investment –the one page graphic of a park illustrating the numerous and multiple benefits of parks, as well as their value, is available to download and use.
Why Parks Matter Evidence Base – is available. It was produced to support Making Parks Count and includes a vast array for research publications and report on the benefits of parks and green spaces.
Resource Library for Parks – is available. It contains an array of guides and resources about managing and providing parks.
Making Parks Count Resources and Tools – is available. It contains links to other resources that will help you use the evidence and resources to make your parks count.