Green Connect creates online parks discussion with #Parkhour launch at 2pm

Green space professions are hoping for a "wide-ranging discussion" about parks today with the first Twitter 'Parkhour'.

The online event, which takes place at 2pm today using the hashtag #parkhour, is being run by Green Connect – a network of green space professionals, voluteers and interested parties in south west England.

It is being curated by Green Connect member Jim Hardcastle who will share content from past Green Connect conferences as well as other information.

The event is not just aimed at horticulture professionals, the group is hoping friends groups, park users and professionals from other sectors will log on. Anybody using #parkhour on Twitter will be able to join in the discussion.

Director Karen Hughes said she suggested a Twitter hour because she thought it could be a good way to get people together online sharing successes and asking questions that will get an immediate response.

"We hope it will make the most of the knowledge-bank that is our Green Connect network, everyone knows something that could be useful to others, but they often don't have an opportunity to share it. 

"I also hope that it will show those who don't normally use Twitter just how useful it can be connecting you to people in other parts of the country who are probably experiencing the same issues as you are."

She added that she hoped the event would demonstrate how much a part of the wider British culture our parks and green spaces are and how they can deliver results in other areas, such as health, wildlife and climate change mitigation.

Hardcastle, a former parks manager turned communications consultant, of Viper Marketing and Communications said #parkhour was a way for people to get together in between conferences and without travel limitations.

"People seem to love getting together and Twitter enables us to do that online. There’s lots of business hours but I’ve never come across a parks related one.

"Using a hashtag creates a virtual folder in a virtual filing cabinet which anyone using that hashtag can dip into. People want to get into a broader conversation."

Hardcastle said that given the challenges affecting the parks sector he was expecting "some whingeing" but he was hoping to avoid the tone becoming too depressing by only retweeting the "good positive stuff".

Green Connect's next conference will be held at Hestercombe House and Gardens, near Taunton, Somerset on 15 April.

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