Public health and parks

Following on from our story earlier this month on the steps Nottingham's parks department has taken to become fully self-funded by 2020, in this issue we report on plans from two more cities to secure the long-term future of their parks - Newcastle (p4) and Oldham (p10).

Both have looked to the link between green space and health to find a way forward. In Newcastle this has meant securing £1m from public health funds in the current financial year as steps are taken towards creating a mutual to run the city's parks that can "access opportunities and funds a local authority can't". Public health funding is likely to continue in some form if the mutual goes ahead, with the public health department having a bigger say in park governance.

Meanwhile at Oldham, which has faced £100,000 in cuts this year, parks staff are branching out into public health activities with funding coming directly from the health service for community projects aimed at public health.

The challenges that green-space managers from each of these councils are facing and that are driving the continued search for solutions are of course all too familiar across green-space services. Meanwhile, skills shortages and climate change are throwing yet more challenges for all custodians of the UK's parks, gardens and woodlands.

We firmly believe the work of managers and their teams that have battled against the odds to ensure the next generation can continue to enjoy access to quality, life-enhancing green spaces should be recognised. Today we are launching the Horticulture Week Custodian Awards to do just that. For details on how to enter, see

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