A green space forum provides support for new community park groups as well as assisting established park groups. The committee of the forum is made up of volunteers from various friends groups throughout the borough and works with a network of individual community park groups and organisations to improve parks and green spaces.
The forum is supported by the council but acts independently and is the only ‘community voice’ that is dedicated to all the local green spaces.
The main roles of the forum are:
- To offer an opportunity to share ideas and experience;
- To act as a consultation body for the local authority parks department and other agencies;
- Influence decision making, including the allocation of resources;
- To identify and secure medium to long term funding opportunities for all our parks and green spaces;
- To research and collate a list of available funding bodies (updated bi-annually) to which volunteer groups can apply;
- To visit the parks in the area to see what improvements have been made and to understand the problems the parks are facing;
- To survey the parks and notify parks department of any problems which need attention;
- To help groups with funding applications;
- To send out a monthly (bi-monthly or quarterly)newsletter containing information, advertising for groups of events and reports from groups;
- To promote the importance of green spaces to local communities and highlight the dedication of volunteers by campaigning to area committees or other council bodies before new budgets are set and during local elections;
- Campaigning for the council to commit to providing ongoing maintenance parks and green spaces throughout the borough;
- Setting up channels of communication with the volunteer groups, ideally through a professionally set up website;
- Encouraging the formation of new volunteer groups and the involvement of new green space volunteers;
- Forming a ‘buddy’ system for new groups, as well as increasing the social contacts with existing groups;
- Looking into ways of engaging minority groups into green space volunteering;
- Encouraging youth involvement in the parks and green spaces;
- Attending meetings and agms of volunteer groups and/or visiting the green spaces.
- Visiting and assessing parks/green spaces for the ‘alternative’ green flag scheme;
- To maintain a presence on the national federation of parks and green spaces and the regional forums which are being set up, and use that membership to network with other forums around the country;
- To assist with greenstat information gathering which can then be used to help our forum.
The forum meets every two months, including the agm and also holds a networking day during the year. A newsletter is produced each ……….. Which is sent out to each group.
There is a website where minutes of the last meeting are posted as well as other useful pieces of information.
New park groups and similar organisations with an interest in protecting and enhancing green and open spaces are always welcome to attend the meetings and to join the forum.
Reproduced with permission of North West Parks Friends Forum