Parks teams deserve better

The shock, anger and dismay with which the news of the demise of the last remaining dedicated body representing parks in England has been met should not be underestimated. And it must not be ignored.

Kate Lowe - Image HW
Kate Lowe - Image HW

This is a sector that for the past two years has been trapped in a war zone of budget cuts hitting the soft, unprotected target of parks teams disproportionately hard.

Arriving as they do on the back of decades of quiet neglect, the impact of the cuts has in many cases been devastating. Now to lose GreenSpace, the sector's sole remaining national voice for parks, to that same battle is a heavy blow indeed.

There are 90,000 people employed either directly in parks teams or indirectly in allied services in the green-space sector in England alone. Every one of those 90,000 deserves far better than the disregard they have faced to date from those happy to sacrifice parks for the sake of other priorities. They also deserve the strongest possible voice that can represent their interests to Government at all levels.

A ray of hope is that at the time of going to press we are hearing of efforts being made by industry groups to find a home for at least some of GreenSpace's key initiatives. Meanwhile, work continues to build an alliance that can bring together the sector's many and varied interest groups - from professional bodies and allied trade associations to third-sector and environmental groups - with the potential to provide the sector with a powerful, unified voice politicians will find harder to ignore.

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