Connecting the parks community
Now our 11 Rethinking projects are underway we are looking into how best to share what we learn with the parks community. We want to help others to secure a sustainable future for their parks, potentially using the financial models we are currently testing.
The knowledge we gain from the projects will be shared and will contribute to the wider debate on what the future of our parks will look like. We’re asking people in the parks sector to tell us where they look for information, and how they prefer to absorb it through our online survey. We're starting to think about this early on in order to get it right - expect learnings from the programme to appear from summer 2015.
Connecting an intrinsically local sector
As a whole, the sector must continue to share and communicate in order to overcome the financial strain that our public parks are under. With around 27,000 parks in the UK, and with no national representative, it’s a challenge to disseminate information to everyone in the sector. Parks are intrinsically local, and their management needs vary greatly.
Sharing experiences does not always feel immediately relevant, but looking at the bigger picture it is vital that it happens. As an example, The National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces already engages with around 5,000 friends groups, as it recognises the importance of creating a network in order to promote best practice and maintain green spaces for everyone.
Making time to share
Cuts to local authorities mean pressure on resources and little time to share learnings or reflect on current practice - this current climate means it’s more important than ever that communication continues. Everyone needs access to knowledge and precedents in order to make an informed decision on how best to maintain and manage their parks in the future.
We aim to share our learning in ways that are accessible and impactful. We’re essentially asking the parks community three big questions, regarding content, format and source:
1. What do you want to know?
2. How do you want to see it?
3. Where’d you go to get it?
Answers to these questions could have infinite variations. It seems that most people want practical advice in digestible chunks. Some need quick access to content on their smart phone, others require more in-depth information, perhaps a chance to discuss the future face-to-face.
How can you get involved?
You can read about a variety of park funding opportunities and submit your own case studies to prosperousparks.com. Additionally, Heritage Lottery has recently launched an online hub with a specific 'parks for people' community - a space to connect and share knowledge with other fund applicants, grantees and others in the sector.
Please do take our survey – we want to share our findings in a way that works for you.