Adding Value – Making Parks Count

The Parks Management Forum was set up to represent parks professionals working in the sector. However, we aim to work collaboratively with those organisations who are all adding value to what we do, whether through protection, improving quality, evidence gathering, lobbying, training or mutual support. All have a part to play.

Bitts Park, Carlisle

Fields in Trust

Parks and green spaces in the UK are under threat and it is up to all of us to stem this cycle of disappearance and decline. We believe that everyone, irrespective of who they are and where they live should have the right to enjoy and benefit from local parks and green spaces.

Parks and green spaces are proven to help people stay physically and mentally well; places where we can all move, breathe, run and play. They are an important tool to drive social cohesion, combat loneliness and build community spirit.

Fields in Trust is an independent charity with over 90 years’ experience protecting parks and green spaces. We work with landowners, community groups and policy makers to champion the value of our parks and green spaces to achieve better protection for their future at both local and national level.

Partnerships with landowners are crucial, Fields in Trust works with over 300 local authorities, over 650 town, parish and community councils and over 150 private landowners who have at least one park or green space protected in perpetuity. We aim to extend this reach further and increase both the number of partnerships we have with landowners and the number of parks and green spaces we protect.

For more information, check out their website.

Green Flag Award – Keep Britain Tidy

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

Purpose & aims

  • To ensure that everybody has access to quality green and other open spaces, irrespective of where they live.
  • To ensure that these spaces are appropriately managed and meet the needs of the communities that they serve.
  • To establish standards of good management.
  • To promote and share good practice amongst the green space sector.
  • To recognise and reward the hard work of managers, staff and volunteers.

For more information, check out their website.

National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces

The Federation was constituted in 2010 by and for the Friends Groups movement. We aim to share learning, develop good practice, and strengthen grassroots organisation, coordination and co-operation throughout the UK. Most importantly, we raise the issues impacting on our open spaces, including seeking the effective protection and improvement of all the UK’s 27,000 public parks and green spaces. We successfully campaigned for a national inquiry into how to end the current underfunding crisis, and played a significant role in it.

We want to see an active Friends Group for every public green space, and an active and independent Forum run by such groups in every area throughout the UK.

The Federation is a democratic, accountable, ‘bottom up’, grassroots organisation of the movement’s area forums and networks (currently numbering over 60 such Forums actively networking and coordinating over 3,000 of the local groups). We are uniquely placed to be able to support and build up this grassroots movement.

We provide support for friends groups working together to make a difference to their local area, city, region and nationally. Such groups and their coordination forums are dependent on unpaid and over-stretched volunteer commitment at every level, including our own Federation officers and representatives (who are also active in their local Friends Groups and Area Forums).

We are developing a partnership approach to working with other ‘community-facing’ national greenspace organisations, most notably with Keep Britain Tidy (through their Love Parks campaign team) with whom we have an agreed Memorandum of Understanding. We have supported the creation and development of The Parks Alliance as a campaigning body.

We call on all those who value the UK’s green spaces to work together to speak out and defend them, to call for the effective action urgently needed at Government level – make parks a statutory service backed by adequate public funding and effective protection. We call on everyone to support and help build the Friends Groups movement in every locality and area throughout the UK.

For more information, check out their website.

The National Trust – Future Parks Accelerator

A new £10million ‘Future Parks Accelerator’ initiative aims to secure the future of urban parks and green spaces

We’ve joined forces with the National Trust to find and back ambitious and sustainable solutions to protect and enhance public parks and green spaces.

Future Parks Accelerator (FPA) is a UK-wide £10m strategic initiative.

It will enable up to eight local authorities and communities to develop and implement bold and innovative funding and management solutions for all their green spaces across, against a challenging backdrop of financial uncertainty.

How it will work

The FPA will support places to grow the contribution parks make to civic life while becoming financially sustainable. It will involve discovering how parks and green spaces could be better used, managed and funded to serve community needs and aspirations now and over the next generation.

With grant funding and support from a team of experts, the places chosen to be FPA pioneers will work together to catalyse and share innovation, learn rapidly together and build their capacity to lead for ambitious change both in their place and to benefit the rest of the UK.  

It will encourage new partnerships while supporting the role of local authorities as vital owners, funders and co-managers of green spaces

The FPA will promote an holistic approach, ensuring that all parks and green spaces in an area are protected and enhanced to deliver quality and fair access to green spaces for free for everyone.  

The initiative will run over two years and combine £5m in HLF grant funding with £5m in value of National Trust expertise.

To know more about Future Parks Accelerator, check out their website.

Midlands Parks Forum

The Midlands Parks Forum is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. We have recruited our founding trustee board, who bring a wide range of knowledge and skills to the charity to meet our strategic goals. 

During 2020 we will seek additional trustees to meet the skills needs of the charity. 

Day to day management of the charity is undertaken by our Partnership Manager.

Our National Lottery Resilient Heritage project runs until March 2021 and will focus on a range of key outcomes for green spaces:

  • Developing our organisation with our Partnership Manager
  • Developing and implementing our business plan,
  • Collaborating with partners to share best practice, undertake research and develop case studies, resulting in better managed parks and the region’s heritage.
  • Increasing the skills and knowledge of our members by sharing good practice through a range of learning opportunities through professionals and community representation.

Through the application of our business plan and having a collaborative and cohesive approach, our goal is to become a sustainable organisation which has a direct benefit on green spaces.

For more information, check out their website.

Association of Public Service Excellence

The Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) is a networking community that assists local authorities who are striving to improve their frontline services.

APSE works with more than 250 local authorities across the UK to advise and share information and expertise on a broad range of frontline public services. These councils are supported by a team of experts, who draw upon a wealth of knowledge in areas such as policy and practice, as well as in vital frontline service areas.

Members of APSE have access to many excellent benefits that help local authorities to grow. These include regular briefings on the latest policy developments and operational issues, access to groups and forums that allow authorities to come together to share information and collaborate, and the ability to anonymously ask for – and give – advice on a range of service issues. 

One of the most important benefits APSE membership offers is the opportunity for local authority service providers to have their views voiced and represented at a national level. APSE carefully develops this voice by collaborating with members, and supports it using research, extensive campaigns and consistent media activities.

APSE conducts research, publishes reports, and campaigns to create a positive role for local government, helping them to deliver high quality, effective and efficient public services. APSE’s targeted training programme, regular briefings and inclusive events strive to keep council officers and elected members constantly updated on the latest public service issues. There is also APSE Solutions, an in-house team that works closely with individual authorities, offering high quality consultancy and interim management support for members and other relevant organisations. APSE has also developed the innovative Performance Networks service, which is the largest national voluntary local government benchmarking service.

APSE is here to help local authorities and endeavours to do everything possible to help them achieve excellence in their frontline services.

For more information, check out their website.

New Zealand Parks Leaders Forum

PLF(New Zealand Parks Leaders Forum) is nearly concluding its fifth year of offering membership to organisations involved in parks management.

This SOLGM special interest group was created to enhance and increase the significant range of environmental, social and economic benefits to the community that parks provide.

It operates services to the parks sector. Membership provides access to parks managers meetings and resource the creation of new parks-specific communications and materials supporting best practice and advocacy.

The New Zealand Parks Leaders Forum is made up of a network of New Zealand parks agency managers and parks business leaders who meet regularly to assist each other and to progress sector issues.

In addition to standard member benefits, member organisations can also seek specialist services or products, e.g. peer reviews and sector performance measures.

For more information, check out their website.

World Urban Parks

World Urban Parks is the organisation to go to for international advice, support and getting connected with urban park, open space and recreation issues, people and activity. We combine the experience of our members and partners with opportunities to help build urban parks leadership and bring about significant improvements in cities where rapid urbanisation is occurring. 

We provide a forum for the exchange of ideas on common environmental, social and economic challenges where urban parks are part of the solution. And we speak at an international and local level in direct support of our members – whether setting global standards, advocating the benefits of urban parks, or supporting a funding bid, a campaign, or professional development. 

World Urban Parks aspires to complement and attain the same level of recognition as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which represents protected areas on the world stage. To achieve this, we will build membership to levels where we are truly representative of the diverse international urban parks, open space and recreation community. We will act as a umbrella to national associations and connect park agencies, non-governmental organisations, universities, research institutes, business, community groups, individuals and allied sectors such as health, tourism, and resource management.

For more information, check out their website.

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