Butterfly Snail Rush Large Butterfly

Follow Us On Twitter

Visit Us On Facebook

Newsletter Signup

Receive seasonal updates about events and our issue of Parklife or click here to view previous issues



Government pledges £500,000 for new action group to grow future of public parks

Parks and Green Spaces Minister, Marcus Jones, launched a new Parks Action Group to help England's public parks and green spaces meet the needs of communities now and in the future.

Shaping Nene Park

The new Parks Action Group will include experts from the world of horticulture, leisure, heritage and tourism, and will be tasked with bringing forward proposals to address some of the issues faced by public parks and other green spaces across England. To support them, Government is providing £500,000 funding to kick start their work.

The Action Group will propose what steps can be taken in line with the Government response to the recent House of Common's Communities and Local Government Select Committee report into the future of parks and green spaces.

Parks and Green Spaces Minister, Marcus Jones, said: "We recognise the value of parks and green spaces to local communities - including reducing loneliness, increasing wellbeing, and revitalising town and city centres.

"But we need to do more to make sure future generations are continuing to enjoy their benefits. That is why we have announced a new expert-led Parks Action Group to work closely with the sector to find the right solutions."

This latest development builds on action the Government has taken to date to encourage more people to make better use of parks including:

• In December 2015, the Government published the 'Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation' which set out the importance of sport and physical activity. The first annual report on the implementation of 'Sporting Future' was published with a specific focus on the themes of central government, local government and outdoor recreation.

Rowing

• In February 2016 the government awarded over £1million to improve 87 small pockets of unloved, undeveloped or derelict land to transform them into 87 green spaces that the whole community can enjoy.

• The government has announced that is to continue the Green Flag Awards license for making sure that Britain's best parks and green spaces will continue to be recognised for another 5 years.  For 20 years, the Green Flag Awards have been recognising the best of green outdoor spaces in the UK, for people to enjoy and setting standards for park managers across the country to try to emulate. Many parks have won the award, but winners also include more unusual spaces such as social housing developments, cemeteries, canals, and shopping centres.

Parks research

Research published today from the charity Fields in Trust shows that living close to and visiting parks and green spaces can increase people's wellbeing and improve their health. The research also highlights the importance of parks as spaces for neighbours to socialise away, helping to reduce the risk of loneliness.

Fields in Trust's report, among others, will be fundamental to the Parks Action Group's work moving forward.

Matthew Bradbury, Nene Park Trust and Parks Alliance's Chief Executive, said: "Having been involved in lobbying for an inquiry, The Parks Alliance wholeheartedly welcomes the publication of the Minister's response to the Local Government Select Committee Inquiry into the Future of Public Parks and particularly the creation of a cross governmental and sector supported, Parks Action Group. The Parks Alliance is very much looking forward to working with the Minister, Government and the wider sector to secure the future of public parks for the communities that they serve."

Shaping Nene Park2

Members of the Parks Action Group

Parks and Green Spaces Minister, Marcus Jones, will chair the inaugural meeting.

The members of the Parks Action Group are:

  • Drew Bennellick, Head of Landscape & Natural Heritage UK, Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)
  • Matthew Bradbury, CEO,  Parks Alliance
  • Graham Duxbury, CEO, Groundwork
  • Helen Griffiths, CEO, Fields In Trust
  • Ian Leete, Senior Advisor on Culture, Tourism and Sport, Local Government Association
  • Dave Morris, Chair, National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces
  • Paul O'Brien, CEO, Association of Public Service Excellence (APSE)
  • Ellie Robinson, Assistant Director, National Trust
  • Dave Solly, Natural England

The Government has taken steps to encourage more people to make better use of parks. In December 2015, the Government published the 'Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation' which set out the importance of sport and physical activity. The first annual report on the implementation of 'Sporting Future' was published with a specific focus on the themes of central government, local government and outdoor recreation.

87 Pocket Parks were awarded £1.05million in 2016.

The Government has supported the Green Flag Awards for 20 years and has recently announced that it is to extend the licence for another 5 years.

The Parks Action Group's recommendations will be implemented through a cross-government group bringing together the relevant government departments including:

• Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra)
• Department for Health (DH)
• Department for Education (DfE)
• Department for Culture, Media & Sport  (DCMS)
• Home Office (HO)
• Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
• Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)