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LGA responds to CLG committee report about public parks

Cllr Ian Stephens, Chairman of the Local Government Association's Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, responded to a new CLG Committee report about public parks

"Councils understand how important parks are to residents and the value they have in promoting health and fitness, local heritage, public art, festivals and wildlife walks. 

"Councils are taking innovative approaches to using park spaces, such as providing pop-up spaces, hosting local events and giving communities a say in how their parks are run.

"Ensuring parks remain open and accessible to our communities is a key concern for councils. However, over the previous parliament central government funding for councils was reduced by 40 per cent in real terms and they continue to experience funding pressures. Despite this difficult backdrop, councils are doing everything they can to provide the best possible park services."

View report:  Parks face threat of decline with severe consequences

Case studies:

Be Active Birmingham
Active Parks provides free physical activity opportunities for local people through Birmingham's network of parks and open spaces. A key strand of Birmingham City Council's Wellbeing Service, the scheme is run in conjunction with the friends of parks networks across the city, supported by Birmingham Open Spaces Forum. The activities on offer have been chosen by the local community and include – among others – conservation, bush craft, walking, Tai Chi, Zumba, running, tennis, canoeing and rowing.

Bristol City Council is offering training and skills development to help people get into permanent jobs. The ParkWork scheme trains them to work in parks, which both improves their skills and helps maintain parks.

Park Hack, Hackney
Hackney Council is looking at how they can offer new services, such as pop-up meeting spaces to local businesses, across a range of parks in Hackney. The aim is to increase income to support local services at a time when councils are under increased financial pressure, without reducing the experience or availability of the park to the wider public. Research shows many businesses are willing to pay for services within parks, and recognise being near to public parks makes them more attractive to employees and customers.

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