What are you doing to prepare for spending cuts?

HW polled delegates at the Saving Your Service parks conference in Birmingham last week.

"We have introduced a green space strategy and we are lobbying councillors about our work, hoping that when they do make these decisions we are higher up the agenda.

"One of the ways we are doing that is running ward tours for all our councillors so we are decidedly taking action with the decision makers. We formally adopted a new open space strategy last year but we are now interfacing with councillors to get them to buy into that.

"We are mapping our assets and doing monthly checks so we are moving ahead and trying to build the evidence base."

- Alan Brown, project and development officer, Leicester City Council.

"We have been working for the last ten years on our community involvement strategy so we have a very good network of local friends groups and a lot of those are now being recognised as important by politicians.

"We are briefing our cabinet member weekly and we have got a Healthy Communities grant from the primary care trust, so we are focused on the health agenda, saying the park is the place to exercise.

"Our approach is to link with health and community involvement, so we will be well prepared to fight our corner. We need to get friends groups to lobby on our behalf."

- Liz Stuffins, green space team leader, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council.

"We are already having cuts in Bournemouth of about £1.4m from the parks budget over two years.

"We have all sorts of ways of dealing with it, partly through working with sports clubs to hand over some maintenance, particularly bowling greens, so the clubs will have to take on responsibility, which reduces the subs we have to give them.

"We are doing more to generate income and working harder on contracts and concessions - looking for cafe opportunities and things. Another big area is redundancies, through which about half the savings will have to be made."

- Michael Rowland, leisure policy manager, Bournemouth Borough Council.

"Forward planning is key. We are aware of the scale of the budget reductions we are going to have, but we are waiting to find out the full impact of the coalition Government.

"We have a new administration in Liverpool so we are working closely with them to find out what their priorities are. We have very supportive councillors on all sides who have a good understanding of green space and climate change issues.

"The key thing is looking at it as a long-term plan - how to approach the next five or ten years. We are trying to make the best use of the resources we have."

- Paul Scragg, parks and green spaces manager, Liverpool City Council.


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