From The Editor - Urgent need to pool park ideas

One of the toughest jobs professionals working in the parks sector have faced over the years has been getting across to politicians just how critical green spaces are to the health and wellbeing of local communities.

Coupled with that has been the challenge of getting those with the power to make decisions that can make or break the future of our green spaces to understand that in order to deliver those health and environmental benefits, public parks need investment in their professional maintenance. Starting with the development and support of green space staff.

This Monday a crack team representing the professional parks sector were tasked with getting these key messages across during the oral evidence session of the parliamentary inquiry into parks funding - a job they performed with a great sense of urgency (News, page 3).

The message that rang out was that parks' professional custodians are so stretched that few can tackle the strategic tasks required to ensure a sustainable future. As HW warned in 2012 when launching the Make Parks a Priority campaign, professionals working with the sector at an exceptionally difficult time had found themselves in a Government void thanks to the absence at national level of any department, body or function with a watching brief for the UK's urban parks.

The sector needs help to make the transition to new solutions, and it needs that help now. But what might help look like? A parks "centre for excellence" the panel said - in other words, a national resource centre to help professionals on the front line share and learn from the very best solutions.

- kate.lowe@haymarket.com


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