The Federation is the voice of the dynamic and inspirational movement of over 7,000 local Friends of Parks groups – the volunteers who act on behalf of the communities who use and care about our vital public green spaces. We exist to represent their activities, issues and concerns, and to amplify their passionate and knowledgeable voices.
The Federation was constituted in 2010 by and for the Friends Groups’ movement. We aim to share learning, develop good practice, and strengthen grass roots organisation, coordination and co-operation throughout the UK. Most importantly, we raise the issues impacting on our open spaces, including seeking the effective protection and improvement of all the UK’s 27,000 public parks and green spaces. We helped lead the successful campaign for a national Inquiry into how to end the current underfunding crisis, and played a significant role in it and related initiatives since. We coordinate the Charter for Parks coalition, supported by 20 national organisations, calling for urgent Government action.
We want to see an active Friends Group for every public green space, and an active and independent Forum run by such groups in every area throughout the UK.
The Federation is a democratic, accountable, ‘bottom up’, grassroots organisation of the movement’s area forums and networks (currently numbering over 70 such Forums actively networking and coordinating over 3,000 of the local groups). We are uniquely placed to be able to support and build up this grassroots movement.
We provide support for friends groups working together to make a difference to their local area, city, region and nationally. Such groups and their coordination forums are dependent on unpaid and over-stretched volunteer commitment at every level, including our own Federation officers and representatives (who are also active in their local Friends Groups and Area Forums).
We are developing a partnership approach to working with other ‘community-facing’ national greenspace organisations, eg Keep Britain Tidy, Groundwork, Fields In Trust and The Conservation Volunteers. We have supported the creation and development of The Parks Alliance as an advocacy and campaigning body, and are now part of the sector/government Parks Action Group aiming to address the crisis in order to ‘safeguard and enhance’ the UK’s parks – we chair the PAG’s ‘Empowering Communities’ workstream.
We call on all those who value the UK’s green spaces to work together to speak out and defend them, to call for the effective action urgently needed at Government level – make parks a statutory service backed by adequate public funding and effective protection. We call on everyone to support and help build the Friends Groups’ movement in every locality and area throughout the UK.
Grassroots Action Manifesto
Let’s Defend Our Green Spaces!
Our local green spaces are vital for everyone and every community – and for all age groups and interests! They are an essential and unique service promoting relaxation, recreation and play, wildlife and biodiversity, attractive walking and cycling routes, green jobs and skills, heritage, flood control, health and social well-being, and community cohesion.
However, there is growing alarm from the public, from Friends of Parks groups, parks managers, experts and MPs, about the serious long-term damage being caused by devastating cuts to green space budgets for staff and maintenance, and the lack of funding and investment by local and national government. If not reversed, this neglect will cause them to go into serious decline and become problem spaces abandoned by park users and plagued by vandalism – or even being closed and sold off. We must not let this happen.
We call on all park lovers and the UK public in general to…
- Celebrate our public green spaces and community activities organised there
- Empower our Communities to take ‘ownership’ of our local spaces and get involved in all decision-making
- Set up Friends’ Groups for every urban park and green space
- Speak out to ensure that the needs of parks are heard loud and clear
- Oppose threats of inappropriate commercialisation, development and sell-offs of facilities and green space
- Help create a massive co-ordinated grassroots movement to promote, defend and improve our green spaces
- Demand that the Government bring in a Statutory Duty to monitor and manage these spaces to Green Flag Award standard; and ensure adequate public resources and protection for all green spaces
We, the NFPGS, as the voice of the Friends Groups’ movement, pledge to..
- Continue to encourage, promote and support co-ordinated Friends Groups’ networks and conferences around the country
- Call for the whole greenspace sector and supporters everywhere to back the grassroots movement and this call to action
National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces
The umbrella organisation amplifying the voices of the grassroots movement of 7,000 local Friends Groups throughout the UK.