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Forum topic: Council looking for help from voluntary groups and outside funding to maintain parks and open spaces

Council looking for help from voluntary groups and outside funding to maintain parks and open spaces

PGC Webmaster

06 Feb 2024 23:23 #7080

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[Original article]

In the face of budgetary pressures, Enfield Council is seeking to determine how best to work with voluntary groups and attract outside funding in order to maintain parks and open spaces "as efficiently as possible".  The council is currently running a consultation with users of Tottenhall Recreation Ground as a pilot project.

playground in tottenhall recreation ground palmers greenA view of part of Tottenhall Recreation Ground showing the children's playground

Information on the council's website about the online consultation, which runs until 16th February, states that:

We are responsible for maintaining all parks across the borough. Like all local authorities, we are facing significant funding pressures. Our vision is to think creatively about how to maintain parks and open spaces as efficiently as possible. In order to inform these conversations, we need to understand how residents use their local park, what is important to them and what could potentially be improved.

We are piloting this project at Tottenhall Recreation Ground and Boundary Playing Fields with a view to roll this out this project to other Parks and Open Spaces.

The findings of the consultation will then be used to develop partnerships with voluntary and community groups whose purpose reflects the wishes and needs of residents and seek external funding to support developments.

Source: Enfield Council website

Kristiana Heapy from the Friends of Tottenhall Rec and Boundary Fields says the consultation is about having a joint strategy between the Friends and the council and a list of priorities:

This will help fundraising for grants to be more targeted and hopefully more successful. Having some joint priorities with the council will also make future discussions with them more focused.

Kristiana Heapy, Friends of Tottenhall Rec & Boundary Fields

fobp volunteers planting a bed near a lake in broomfield park 1In 2022 FoBP volunteers worked an estimated 2,840 hours in Broomfield Park, valued at almost £125,000 (the figures for 2023 are likely to be significantly higher)

Another local Friends group has been playing a huge role in maintaining and improving its park for a decade or more already: Friends of Broomfield Park. FoBP's secretary, David Williamson, cautions the council not to underestimate the importance of parks and open spaces:

Enfield Council's understandable focus on cost-cutting does not take account of the enormous value that green space delivers. The Friends of Broomfield park know, from our own ongoing survey, that access to green space is contributing to physical health, mental wellbeing and community connections amongst local people- all aims that are important for the Council.

Volunteers In Broomfield Park are subsidising council investment. In recent years much of local park horticulture and maintenance has been undertaken by volunteers who deliver at least 3,000 hours of unpaid work each year, valued almost £125,000. In addition the extensive Palmers Green Festival is an example of volunteer-led activity in our green spaces that makes a significant contribution to the local community..

David Williamson, Secretary, Friends of Broomfield Park

FoBP are currently carrying out their own survey of what Broomfield Park means to local people and what ideas they have for improvements.

Respond to the Enfield Council Tottenhall Rec survey (deadline 16th February)

Respond to the Friends of Tottenhall Rec survey

Respond to the Broomfield Park survey

 

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Council looking for help from voluntary groups and outside funding to maintain parks and open spaces

Richard McKeever

08 Feb 2024 14:31 #7081

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For me the fundamental issue is that local authorities are continually viewing local parks solely in terms of the cost they incur on council budgets - without reflecting on what they contribute for the local community,

A few years ago the "Fields in Trust" charity researched the financial value of parks and green spaces - and calculated that, across the UK, parks and green spaces deliver around £34billion each year in terms of wellbeing and health benefits. The full detail of the research can be read here: www.fieldsintrust.org/revaluing - If anything the perceived value of green space will have increased as a result of the Covid-19 lockdowns and the extension of outdoor spaces used for community activity, post-pandemic.

I think it is shortsighted to reduce the council's expenditure on green space maintenance and support if unkempt and poorly maintained parks result in reduced usage and a less enjoyable experience of local parks there is likely to be a subsequent knock-on impact on the health and well-being of the local community.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Sarah Gornall

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Council looking for help from voluntary groups and outside funding to maintain parks and open spaces

Sarah Gornall

09 Feb 2024 09:59 #7083

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Thanks for pointing out these great statistics Richard. The report highlights the additional value to people on lower incomes. We're very close to Tottenhall Rec and love it for its green space and open views - it stands on a ridge and you can see north to the Hertfordshire hills and south to Canary Wharf from different parts of the park. There's a small play area which all our grandchildren love and which is full of families in the summer in particular. A band of volunteers litter pick on the first Sunday morning of the month and we're planning wild flower planting for a bit later on in the Spring. 

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