Spelling out parks role in sport

A big thank you to everyone who has written to their MP over the summer recess asking for their support for our call for a new inquiry into the funding crisis facing urban parks - and to those who have forwarded details of Horticulture Week's Make Parks a Priority campaign to colleagues and other friends of parks.

Already, since their return to Parliament last week, another seven MPs have signed Early Day Motion 219, which as well as highlighting the impact of disproportionate cuts to maintenance budgets also points to the yawning gap in Governmental responsibility for urban parks. That brings the number of MPs who have shown their support, as HW went to press, to 30 - with more in hand.

As the debate over how to secure an appropriate sporting legacy to this summer's outstanding Olympics and Paralympics events continues to grow, ministers need a firm reminder of the critical role that safe, free-to-access and properly maintained green space plays - both in supporting the basic physical health of local communities and in the creation of the first opportunities for many to access sport.

Parks advocate Professor Ken Worpole is looking to build that case right now and urgently needs the help of green-sector practitioners to provide great examples of the impact parks and related facilities have had on sports development in their local communities. Please send your examples right away to Ken at worpole@blueyonder.co.uk.

As Chartered Institution of Water & Environmental Management chief executive Nick Reeves argued in our letters pages recently, without the lobbying of green-space champions our much diminished school playing fields would have diminished even further. We need to bring the case together with parks.

See Make Parks a Priority campaign.

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