Camden drafts in green-space volunteers

The use of volunteers, outsourcing and section 106 money is key to future service delivery, the London Borough of Camden's new head of parks and green spaces has said.

Jessica Gibbons, who recently replaced parks leading light Shaun Kiddell, said Camden had been hit by cuts, lost three posts and would be forced to make continual efficiency savings.

"But we can build on Shaun's work with friends groups," she added. "He did a lot of work broadening community engagement and that will be a big area to work on. I feel confidant because I have a strong team of 25 excellent staff."

While volunteers could not be used to wield large mowers, they could be enlisted for projects such as food-growing initiatives, said Gibbons. Camden already works extensively with community groups and volunteers such as BTCV.

"We need to look at things differently such as outsourcing more services," she added. "However, we are very fortunate in Camden to have section 106 money, which can be used for landscape and development of our parks."

Cash agreements from developers to offset possible disruption of a building project with environmental benefits could be used for park refurbishments, she suggested.

"We are currently going through discussions on what more we can do to our parks, so it is not all about cutting back services," Gibbons added.

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