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. We are the only independent, nationwide organisation solely dedicated to parks.
Find out more at www.theparksalliance.org.
Welcome to Our New Newsletter
Welcome to our new newsletter. Over the coming months we hope to keep you up to date with all the issues affecting public parks in the UK. The Parks Alliance is playing a key role in the government’s Parks Action Group (PAG) and we’ll use this newsletter to keep the sector up to date on what’s happening especially as we build the case for parks prior to the government’s spending review in the autumn. We’ll also be making some changes to our web site and our other social media so please bear with us.
Finally, please encourage your work colleagues, friends and family to sign up the news letter. The more supporters we can recruit the stronger our case – that parks really matter. They matter for our health and well being and they matter for our climate and environment. But we must invest in our parks if we are to realise the incredible benefits they bring.
The PAG, which is comprised of a Cross-Government group of senior officials and a sectoral group, (with project management from The Parks Alliance) have been taking forward the recommendations of the Select Committee report into public parks in England published in 2017. The Minister for Parks recently gave an update on progress against all of the recommendations of Select Committee and this can be found here.
The sectoral group has been working on five key areas in response to the select committee report and progress on each area, and what happens next, is outlined below. For more information on the PAG please contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
Richard, the second Marquis of Westminster – “I am desirous of placing it (the park) on the hands of the Corporation as a gift on my part to the Citizens of Chester hoping it may afford health and recreation to themselves and their families for many years to come.”
Valuing Parks and Green SpacesThis group is chaired by The Parks Alliance and is charged with developing Business Case for Parks to be published prior to the next government spending review in the autumn. The business case will be based on natural capital accounting principles and will be aimed at influencing key decision makers in national and local government.
Members of the group also worked with Public Health England on their Improving Access to Green Spaces project that is due to report before the summer. Additional analysis was commissioned of the Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment (MENE) database to explore usage patterns of urban green spaces by segmented groups – attempting to focus most on those groups likely to demonstrate lower health outcomes. The aim is to see what the barriers might be to accessing green spaces and therefore the health benefits green spaces bring for these groups. This work will contribute to the business case.
Parks practitioners (including Chris Worman from Rugby and from APSE) have been involved in determining the true picture of parks maintenance funding at an all England level in preparation for the business case. This continues to prove challenging given the way parks funding is recorded in local authority returns. We aim to publish the business case by the summer and will be running a media campaign over the coming months to help #makethecaseforparks. If you want to find out more please contact Robert.email@example.com.
The Green Flag Award® scheme recognises and rewards well managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of recreational outdoor spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world.
Standards for Parks and Green Spaces
This group is chaired by Field in Trust and aims to identify a definitive baseline figure of parks and green spaces by typology and assess the percentage of this base line that currently meets Green Flag Award standard and is protected in perpetuity. The group is currently working closely with Natural England (who are leading on developing national standards for all Green Infrastructure) and others to ensure the developing GI Standards include a specific subset of standards and guidance that can be effectively applied to both existing and new parks and green spaces. The national work is has just finished its evidence review and draft framework and aims to ensure the standards are integrated into National Planning Policy Guidance by 2020. If you want to find out more please contact Alison.firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Woodland Walk, Autumn 2018, Alexandra Road Park, Camden. By Elizabeth Knowles Chair of Friends of Alexandra Road Park.
This group is chaired by The National Federation of Parks and Green Space (NFPGS) and aims to promote and support the effectiveness and influence of community empowerment throughout the sector and on the ground within the country’s 27,000 local green spaces. A series of regional ‘Parks and People – Stronger Together’ community empowerment events of Friends Groups and green space community groups is currently being planned by Locality, NFPGS and Groundwork in order to support the development of forums and networks around the country – and encourage long-term partnership-working with Local Authorities. A NFPGS Networks Coordinator post has been funded to coordinate this. Research conducted last year indicated strong support among Local Authorities for this strategy. Locality will also expand the ‘My Community’ website to provide online information and signposting for community groups interested in supporting their local parks. Future work may include building up a database of key national organisations and networks actively engaged in supporting green space community empowerment, and identifying existing relevant parks-related community empowerment research and on-line resources. If you want to find out more please contact email@example.com.
Preparing the wild flower meadow 2019.
Knowledge and Skills
This group is chaired by the Association of Public Service Excellence (APSE) and aims to identify the knowledge and skills required by modern parks managers and all those helping manage parks and green spaces in the future. The group has completed an initial piece of research “Nurturing Skills for 21stCentury Parks” and is currently mapping the available parks forums and sources of knowledge and good practice open to parks managers as well as consulting on the knowledge requirements of parks practitioners. The next steps are to begin to put together a Sector Skills Plan that provides training and development pathways for the range of managers working in the sector with the clear aim of spreading and embedding the good practice and strengthening parks management. For more information please contact po’firstname.lastname@example.org.
A good park should have a range of facilities that draw people in and make their visit comfortable and enjoyable.
What’s Next For The Parks Alliance
Over the coming year TPA will be strengthening its governance, finances and profile as it campaigns for parks. As the only the independent, nationwide organisation solely dedicated to parks our mission will continue to be providing a voice for UK parks and 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.We aim to achieve this by:-
providing national leadership to the sector and influence government, business and civil society on the policy, financial and regulation issues affecting parks.
providing access to key parks related information for the parks sector.
carrying out research and analysis to provide robust evidence for policy changes that work for government, business, the public and the parks sector.
We aim to do this by:-
Co-ordinating access to parks related services and data provided by our supporters and others enabling all those with an interest in parks to find the support and information they need quickly and easily
Collaborating with the leaders of the major parks related NGOs, funding bodies, charities and industry bodies facilitating joint messages to government, ensuring views on important parks related issues are clearly represented and heard.
Campaigning for effective political leadership for the parks sector by advising on and influencing key political processes, and engaging and informing leading political thinkers and senior politicians on parks related issues.
There’s a lot to do to get there. We will continue to build our base of supporters and ensure they are drawn from all those with an interest in parks – whether they be government departments, councils, NGOs, funders, contractors, practitioners and parks professionals, friends groups and community organisations or just simply local people who care. They all have a contribution to make as well as good reason to make sure parks work for everyone. Please encourage others to join and lets #makethecaseforparks.