The return of on-site parks staff is essential in getting people back into parks and will safeguard money spent on regeneration projects, according to a CABE Space report out yesterday.
The Government parks advisory body’s new campaign, Parks need Parkforce, calls for urban parks to have daytime staff to encourage people back to green spaces hit by graffiti, vandalism and crime.
The Royal Parks and nine local authorities have already committed to the idea and CABE hopes all parks authorities will eventually come on board.
CABE Space director Julia Thrift said: “We urgently need a new ‘parkforce’ to ensure our parks are maintained as vibrant parts of our urban communities. We want a return to old-fashioned public service values delivered by a new multi-skilled, 21st-century workforce.
“It would be unthinkable to have a library without a librarian — why should our parks be any different?”
The report highlights CABE research showing that such a workforce can bring about a “virtuous circle of improvement” both in the quality of parks and in perceived safety, citing Mile End Park in London as a model.
The report coincides with budgeting for 2006 and CABE hopes to steer as much money as possible into the provision of more parks staff. It is calling on the Home Office to expand its promised quota of 25,000 new community support officers to include parks patrols. Councils are also being asked to adopt a new “parkforce” identity for existing park staff and volunteers.
Picture: Diane Wallace
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