Substantial donation from Landscape Institute to give Parks Alliance a voice

Landscape Institute's substantial donation enables The Parks Alliance communications strategy.

Ireland: investigating further funding options for The Parks Alliance
Ireland: investigating further funding options for The Parks Alliance

The Landscape Institute is supporting The Parks Alliance with "a substantial donation" that is intended to pay for a communications strategy as well as a professional to deliver it.

Alliance deputy chair Sue Ireland is also investigating further funding options at the City of London Corporation, where she is head of open spaces.

She said The Parks Alliance's first priority in the lead up to its meeting with the minister for parks Stephen Williams on 4 November is to research and develop a communications plan.

"We are absolutely delighted that the Landscape Institute will step in and give us the communications availability we need," she said. "It's extremely generous."

The funding is expected to cover a communications professional for at least two days a week for a year, but Ireland said The Parks Alliance hopes a longer-term relationship will develop. The Parks Alliance is also putting in a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for development money.

Representatives from the City of London Corporation and the Landscape Institute will meet with The Parks Alliance board members on 7 November to thrash out how the arrangement will work.

Keep Britain Tidy - which runs the Green Flag Award scheme - the Institute of Groundsmanship and BALI have already backed the group, which was formed last year to lobby on behalf of parks.

Landscape Institute president Noel Farrer said The Parks Alliance's aims are concomitant with those of his organisation. "What's great about The Parks Alliance is that they are setting themselves up as a non-biased lobby group. It's a voice that is putting the sector together. They are saying 'we are the voice for the green sector'.

"We've always asked how can we have a voice in Government? If the The Parks Alliance can become that voice, garner support and ask questions that we all agree on, then that will be a step forward. Getting everybody in the sector to agree is a challenge but if it can succeed in representing our sector it fits with our aim of working better at influencing Government."

Other developments include meeting the Core Cities Group, which comprises the leaders of England's 10 biggest city economies outside London along with Glasgow and Cardiff. Its chair and head of parks at Nottingham City Council Eddie Curry has been asked to join The Parks Alliance board.

Courting influence - Alliance gaining ground

The Parks Alliance vice-chairman Bob Ivison told a meeting of parks professionals in Exeter earlier this month that things are moving forward for the group.

"We've been getting invited now to meetings in our own right. Last week I met with the Core Cities Group in Sheffield," he said. "We are starting to gather momentum. We are starting to court influence."

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