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.
June was a busy month for The Parks Alliance! Here are this newsletter’s highlights:
The Parks Action Group (PAG) met early in the month including a session with the Minster for Parks Rishi Sunak MP.
The Future Parks Accelerator was launched in Newcastle and we’ve dedicated part of this month’s newsletter to what they are up to.
The Co-op launched their campaign to support community spacesand TPA are backing this. We hope you can too.
Finally, we are progressing the business case for parks ‘Make Parks Count’ aiming for publication in September. Stay tuned for more on how you can support us.
Launching soon will be our monthly ‘policy blog’ that aims to highlight key issues for parks policy with views from a range of people from across the sector. Next month we hope to launch our campaign to support the case for parks we are developing with the PAG.
As ever please encourage your work colleagues, friends and family to sign up the newsletter. The more supporters we can recruit the stronger our case – that parks really matter.
Join the conversation
We continue to develop the website and TPA social media presence. Find us on Twitter for the latest news, and join us on Instagram where we’ll soon be sharing more.
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.
The Parks Alliance chaired the meeting which included representatives from:
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
National Heritage Lottery Fund
National Federation of Parks and Greenspaces
Keep Britain Tidy
Fields in Trust
Hounslow Council representing the LGA and Rugby Council.
The meeting also included a special session with Rishi Sunak MP (Minister for Parks).
PAG Questions For The Minister
PAG outlined to the Minster the progress made in respect of Knowledge and Skills and supporting the Future Parks Accelerator. The minister recognised the positive work the PAG had undertaken in recent months and was also pleased with the work that was underway with other departments such as Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
PAG members asked the Minister about possible bids for the parks agenda for the spending review being mindful of Local Authorities starting to make decisions about future year budgets shortly. With likely significant investment in transport and physical infrastructure in the pipeline a question was asked about whether pots of money could be available for parks and green spaces in the forthcoming spending review. The Minister replied that there were still uncertainties surrounding the length of the spending review; that there was going to be a new administration; and there were a number of competing priorities for Local Government expenditure.
However, he invited the PAG to explore alternative funding models for the parks sector. PAG asked about links with broader policy areas such as High Streets, Homes England investment and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) funding, as there are overlapping areas in their agendas that parks could fit into. The Minister said if there was a specific issue, he would write to BEIS to explore further cross-departmental working.
Progress on PAG Workstreams
The Knowledge and Skills work stream led by APSE has made considerable progress in developing the skills and knowledge ‘Greenprint’ for next decade. This is now out for consultation with the sector and closes on the 28th June 2019. The Greenprint identifies a career path for the parks profession and recommends recognition of the parks profession, the creation of learning networks, coaching and mentoring for existing parks managers as well as the establishment of apprenticeship standards. There will be a launch event in late September.
The Community Empowerment work stream led by NFPGS is developing the Mycommunity website to provide resources direct to community groups and is planing a series of regional events over the coming months to consult community groups on content and ideas for future development. A final report is planned for December 2019.
Working with Natural England members of PAG have been developing future standards for parks and green spaces as part of the wider standards for Green Infrastructure. A draft framework has been developed and will be tested over the next few months in 6 to 8 places helping PAG ensure the final GI Standards reflect the needs of parks and green spaces specifically. The final standards are due for publication in early 2020.
PAG is overseeing the preparation of the a Business Case for parks aimed at helping decision makers across government better understand the true value of parks and ensure this is reflected in their decision making. The case will pull together all the work PAG has done to date and set out the economic case for investing parks and how the benefits they provide can be better understood and realised. The case will be published in September.
The Future Parks InitiativeThe first participants in the Future Parks Accelerator were announced by National Heritage Lottery Fund and the National Trust in early June. Supported by Government the eight areas are joining the programme to find sustainable ways to manage and fund parks and open spaces across entire towns and cities.
The Future Parks initiative is investing more than £6m of National Lottery and government funding and £5m worth of advice and support from some of the country’s leading experts in conservation, fundraising, volunteering and green space management from the National Trust. The eight places are:-
• Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole;
• Cambridgeshire (county-wide, covering seven council areas);
• Islington and Camden;
• Nottingham; and
One of the most interesting themes that emerges from the plans of the participants is how parks can play a significant role in delivering the community well-being objectives of local areas. However to do so this contribution needs to be better recognised and they must be invested in, and managed, like any other key asset. Where, how and who by these decisions are made will be a key piece of learning as the project unfolds. This is something we raised in a recent blog post a couple of months ago.
The eight places (more details below) were among 81 councils and communities that applied to be part of the programme and all the winning bids demonstrated four key themes: making green spaces central to everyday community life; giving the public a bigger role in how they are managed; ensuring they contribute more to the public’s mental and physical health; and transforming the way they are funded to secure their futures.
Naturally Birmingham will re-evaluate the city’s entire green estate now and for the future. The project will work across the entire council (and partners) to bring about a systems change in policy, service delivery and the governance model for parks, re-engaging communities to provide a new platform and civic voice.
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole
The project will produce a green infrastructure strategy & business plan to create a sustainable parks service model and influence the new local plan. Work includes the development of a charitable trading & volunteering model, testing of a landscape partnership model and the effectiveness of health initiatives.
The project will produce a Parks Prospectus to set out a comprehensive picture of opportunities for partnerships and delivery in green spaces. The prospectus will be heavily marketed across many sectors; expressions of interest will be invited. Significant benefits are anticipated including for health, the environment, the ‘parks experience’ and a more sustainable financial future.
The project seeks to secure the future of Cambridgeshire’s parks and greenspaces by building lasting cross-sector partnership solutions, identifying sustainable sources of funding and investment, identifying partnership models, building community ‘ownership’ and involvement and by providing skills and training to grow our green spaces.
The project will create an ambitious vision and strategy for green spaces, aligned with Edinburgh’s 2050 City Vision. The project seeks to bring about a range of benefits in theme areas, and to explore the operational, financial and governance models needed to deliver these changes. The project aims to ensure green spaces continue to grow, thrive and adapt over the next three decades, and to protect them from loss and decline due to insufficient financial resources.
Islington and Camden
The project aims to transform the role of green spaces, re-commissioning them as public health assets for the 21st century. Work will give green spaces a central role in delivering improvements to health and wellbeing by promoting social cohesion, tackling isolation and creating much wider opportunities for physical activity for people of all ages and interest. Strong partnerships with health and voluntary sectors will ensure benefits are focused on those with greatest need.
The project aims to create an innovative and sustainable delivery model for all of Notingham’s Parks and Heritage. It will reposition the City’s public realm, delivering change through service re-design, and introducing a Total Place Management approach. The work will ensure in-depth understanding of local needs through consultation and provide opportunities for community ownership and governance. The project will introduce full-life cost planning including strategic capital and inward investment planning, aiming to give longevity through conscious commercialism.
Plymouth GEMS aims to transform the way the city collectively cares for, uses and values its parks and urban green spaces by nurturing a more collaborative approach, developing an enterprising funding model, enabling a more inclusive and diverse user experience, placing green spaces at the heart of decision making and establishing a secure future for them that ensures they can support the city’s growth aims and provide a high quality of life for all.
TPA Supports Co-op Campaign to Support Community Spaces
The Co-op has just launched Co-operate 2022, their community vision for the next three years. It has been set-up to help make communities around the UK stronger places to live and work. The first part of the plan starts to tackle the issue of community spaces including parks. With the aim to save, protect, improve 2,000 spaces by 2022. Locality has partnered with the Co-op to support them to help save, improve and protect the spaces that matter most and TPA are supporting the focus on parks in the campaign.Co-operate 2022
Over the past year, Co-op have been talking to their members and people across the UK to find out what matters most to them and what could be improved in their local community. This has helped them to develop their Community Wellbeing Index, which identified three key areas that help improve the overall well-being of our communities.The three areas are:
education and skills
They will be focusing their efforts over the next few years within these areas, launching with spaces this week with the campaign ‘Endangered Spaces’.
The campaign will focus on saving, protecting and improving community spaces, with the overall aim to save 2,000 spaces by 2022. The campaign will launch Friday 28 June asking the public to tell the Coop about spaces that they need help to protect, save and improve. You can read more about the campaign here. The Endangered Spaces Report, released by the Co-op and Locality, investigates how people across the country make use of, interact with and feel about their community spaces, found that parks were the most valuable community space in the UK.
How you can support the campaign
The Co-op would like you to support the campaign by sharing Co-op’s content through your social media and keeping an eye out for the #SaveOurSpaces and #ItsWhatWeDo hashtags
Make Parks Count
Whilst TPA will be supporting the Co-op campaign at the same time we are interested in how people are using their parks now to improve their health, community and the environment. So we’ll be developing content that can be shared as well using the hashtag #makeparkscount and we’ll be asking all our partners and supporters to get involved.
TPA Parks Blog
The Parks Alliance web site has started a monthly blog to explore current parks policy issues. You can find it here https://www.theparksalliance.org/blog/. We kicked off the blog with a piece on community engagement and will be covering health and funding in the coming months. If you want to contribute please contact at email@example.com with your idea.