A Welcome from the Chair and thoughts of a Board Member

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A welcome from the Chair

© Licensed to simonjacobs.com. 04.09.16 Watford, UK. Opening day of Cassiobury Park restored bandstand. FREE PRESS, EDITORIAL AND PR USAGE. Photo credit : Simon Jacobs

It gives me great pleasure to be asked to be Chairperson for The Parks Management Forum. Having set about this initiative several months ago, if not longer, it is fantastic to see this take off at last, and whilst it is still early days, we have achieved a great deal already. The task ahead will not be easy but having worked in parks for too many years I care to remember, I know the passion and enthusiasm we have for those who work in the sector. We have a great body of people now working to see our sector better represented, from Local Authorities, Charitable Sector, and Private Practice. We all have the same ideology – better representation for parks professionals which will in turn lead to better parks, healthier communities and enhanced biodiversity for all.

Paul Rabbitts MLA FRSA : Head of Parks, Heritage and Culture, Watford Borough Council

A message from Philippa Reece

Hello everyone
And welcome to the first blog on our new website.
Where to begin with the very first blog really – I guess it should be something that is important to me connected to our world of parks and what we are about as parkies;
By the fact that we will all still be operating in some form of Covid19 world and that through this world our parks and green spaces have played such a vital role to our communities and also for us and our families. It has also raised some old questions once again for me that I feel I’ve never managed to get to the bottom of.
I’ve worked within this sector now for 18 years and I have to say I do not believe that we have ever really been valued for what we bring to the table. Not only as professionals with the really unique and bespoke skill set we provide but also connected to what we have been fighting to protect and preserve for centuries – the very world we live in.I often ask myself why is this?We depend on the very thing that we are destroying and yet in our neoliberal world we are way down the pecking order of priorities.
Some time prior to Covid19 we declared a climate emergency – did we see any increased funding to support the response to this? Did we see an increase of jobs within the sector to enable us to deliver to the new drivers and commitments set out? Did we see an increase in our pay scales that reflect actually how important the roles that we are playing as the guardians of our natural world are? Did we see a huge upscaling of projects and opportunities at such short notice to ensure that we were enabled every opportunity to respond to this emergency?I’ve been comparing that to the response to Covid19 and the difference to approach over the last 10 weeks and reflecting on if there ever even was a climate emergency with the differences of approaches that have been taken?
We know the science. We have data coming out of our ears. We have research programme after research programme – so why is it that we are still not valued, still are not even classed as a key service? for example compared to say, the way you would be if you were a stock broker? Worked for Google or facebook? As my one and only hero, David Attenborough said ‘ Real success can only come if there is a change in our societies and in our economics and our policies’ So how do we go about doing that?I pose this question to you all to think about, ponder on and hope that as a unit of amazing professionals we can draw together as one, to enable the change that is so desperately needed.

Philippa Reece
Parks & Foreshore Manager, Adur & Worthing Councils

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