Raising money from parks, green spaces and cemeteries was the central theme of a parks seminar held yesterday in central London.
Held by the The Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) in the Hub, Regent's Park, itself an income raising venue, the one-day event brought together parks and other local authority professionals, councillors and experts from the private sector to share experiences under the seminar title No going back: "Creating self-sustaining and outcome generating parks and green spaces."
Head of parks and open spaces at Nottingham City Council Eddie Curry outlined how his department now generates more than two thirds of its service costs through a range of strategies, from the obvious to the niche.
He said: "It's about trying to find the opportunities. We've got some unique skills and we can still be competitive. Rather than stopping running services we can subsidise the cost and keep these services alive."
Measuring and analysing the value and use of assets was also discussed, with Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council public open spaces manager Caroline Davies and Andrew Bond bereavement services manager at Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust both showing how collecting data for separate studies had helped their departments.
Street scene manager at Wakefield Council Ian Jones explained the monetary value of the authority's 700ha of woodland.
Passionate data advocate and parks consultant Dr Sid Sullivan also pushed the importance of collecting data and of having skilled staff who were comfortable working with data and adopting a "multiple channel approach" to finding funding.
Horticulture Week editor Kate Lowe also spoke at the event, bringing delegates up to date with Horticulture Week's Make Parks A Priority Campaign and its work with the All Party Parliamentary Group as well as recent developments with the newly formed Parks Alliance.