Royal Parks strikes innovative partnership with Isle of Wight

The Royal Parks and the Isle of Wight Council (IOWC) will begin working together this year on "one of the most exciting partnerships ever explored".

They plan to share horticultural expertise and have identified similarities including staging large events such as the Isle of Wight Festival and the Hyde Park concerts.

A management team from the Royal Parks visited the island this week for a three-day tour to discuss a formal partnership with the council's parks and countryside department.

Royal Parks chief executive Mark Camley said: "This is an excellent opportunity to explore ways in which we can work together and look to provide a better experience for our respective park visitors."

The two bodies aimed to draw up the partnership agreement at a workshop at Ventnor Botanic Garden. The garden's curator Simon Goodenough said: "It is one of the most exciting partnerships ever explored. Over on the island, especially on the southern tip, we are a bit removed from mainstream horticulture.

"To have a working relationship with an organisation as big as the Royal Parks would be fantastic."

Goodenough said the link would be mutually beneficial: "We can offer the Royal Parks experience of establishing a strong 'green gym' programme through our primary healthcare trust as well as setting up a highly supportive Friends group. We are also earmarking climate change while growing plants in a milder climate.

"In turn, the IOWC would be looking for guidance from the Royal Parks on devising a green space strategy for the whole island."

The two bodies will produce a list of objectives, which are likely to include sharing best practice, joint training and development, community horticulture and the exchange of biodiversity and landscape management expertise.

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