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#ParksMatter

STOP PRESS – NOVEMBER 17th 2020

Dear ‘Parkie’

Further to my recent communications to you, we have now managed to open up a business account with Unity Trust Bank – a bank well known for its ethics. We are now offering you the individual opportunity to be a registered ‘Founder Member’ of The Parks Management Forum. As the normal membership for professional bodies is at least £100 per annum to over £300 for others, we were hoping many of you who want this organisation to be a success, will donate as much as possible above £50 to provide the resources to really get things started– the choice really is yours. This is really important to allow the PMF to move forward.

We now need funding for the admin capacity, to develop the membership further, develop the website and keep it up to date, and with a constitution (currently being worked on), organisational status (currently being investigated) and bank account, we will be able to look at grant or sponsorship opportunities. Everything we have achieved to date has been done voluntarily and costs borne by individuals (eg website fee, logo). We need to look at how we keep you updated regularly with newsletters, supporting regional groups, arranging meetings with a wider range of stakeholders which will allow us to support you in this incredible sector even better. The longer-term benefits are even greater and now is the time to do this. We are open to all, public, private or third sector, parks management, grounds maintenance, design, horticulture, ecological, community development, academic – if you have parks as your passion, interest, or career, this will interest you.

I attach an application form which is straightforward. Please fill it in and return to me and don’t forget to pay a subscription online or by cheque if preferable.

I look forward to hearing from you. Do also pass to colleagues who work in our sector.

Paul Rabbitts – Chair – The Parks Management Forum

Welcome to the Parks Management Forum

We have launched the Parks Management Forum during the Covid-19 lockdown.  It seemed like a good time.  The crisis has turned the spotlight on the public parks we work in.  The Government decreed that they must stay open; at a stroke endorsing our belief that they are an essential service.  People have flocked to them in record numbers and staff have worked tirelessly through the crisis to keep parks clean and safe  and beautiful. 

The Forum has not been set up to lobby for the need for good-quality public parks.  That case has been made incessantly over the last twenty five years.  It has been set up to give a voice to parks professionals, who know more about these places than anyone.  We work in them daily; we know our trees and our flowers, our water management and our ice-cream sales,  but we also know our users; we know how vital parks are  across our communities, and especially in poorer communities. These are not pay-per-entry leisure facilities or stately homes; free access to good quality parks and open spaces is as fundamental to physical and mental health as free access to health care.

This Forum represents an unrivalled reservoir of understanding, expertise and dedication.  Running parks is an expert job and we are determined to make our voice heard by politicians as they formulate policies and make financial decisions which have huge repercussions for the viability of public open space.  For too long parks, as a discretionary service, have been a poor relation of other public services, down the pecking order as just a ‘nice-to-have’.  The Covid-19 crisis has shown that is not where they belong.

Over the coming months, we will establish this Forum as the authoritative source of information about public parks and park management.  It will be a resource for professionals and a shop window for what we do.   And we will begin the long job of re-establishing the park professional as a key part of the delivery of healthy, resilient communities. 

We will:

  • Celebrate the central role well-run parks play in our neighbourhoods for all sections of our communities and raise its value regionally and nationally;
  • Recognise and endorse the roles of parks and open spaces for health and well-being;
  • Endorse best management practices and play a role in facilitating roll out amongst practitioners;
  • Embed the effective parks and open spaces have as green infrastructure endorsing sustainable development and protection;
  • Lobby for long-term resources for ongoing maintenance, management and development;
  • Play a role in finding solutions with government and relevant partner organisations – “one voice – one lobby”;
  • Encourage and enable community involvement and empowerment of local people and park users.

We are on LinkedIn (The Parks Management Forum) as well as Twitter (@parks_forum). Please follow us.

As this develops we will update and expand the website and content. This is just the beginning.

#ParksMatter

The Sector Survey

In late 2019, a major survey was carried out of parks professionals……over 600+ replies were received and there was an overwhelming support for the need for an institute to represent parks management professionals. The majority were committed to work with many of the organisations who are working and lobbying for the value of parks and open spaces and parks professionals to be recognised. In time it became clear that an Independent Board of Parks Professionals could fill the significant gap in linking all the various organisations to the sectors many practitioners and as a result, The Parks Management Forum was created.