Councils work with communities

Councils and members of local communities are working together to improve green spaces.

An overwhelming number of councils are working with community groups to improve green spaces, a study has revealed. GreenSpace North West (GSNW) found that 96 per cent of the 29 councils that responded to its survey already work with park friends’ groups. The figure, said forum manager Ros Johnson, “is very positive for the North West and shows local authorities are working hand-in-hand with these groups”. “But it’s so universal, it’s a strong indicator that this is happening elsewhere in the country.” The study, Communities in the North West’s Parks & Green Spaces, is designed to help organise services to benefit green space professionals and communities. GSNW will create a web-based catalogue so authorities can share project successes and failures. Research undertaken by GreenSpace in 2003 found across the UK 4,000 green space community groups, comprising 500,000 members, undertake eight million volunteer hours a year — an annual financial contribution of £35m. SURVEY results * 96 per cent of authorities work with community groups in green spaces * 90 per cent give managerial support to groups * 28 per cent have a group forum to help groups network and express views * 48 per cent feature groups in their strategic objectives * 59 per cent want more groups; on average they aim to have 50 per cent more groups in five years and 28 per cent are planning a group forum * 96 per cent requested some kind of support to improve their work with community groups

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