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.
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.
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
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.