Why is volunteering and community involvement beneficial?
The benefits of community involvement in the provision of services, including the management and improvement of parks and green spaces, is proven and well known. The benefits are:
- The community can give a fresh perspective and local people are often the best source of local knowledge.
- Community involvement helps deliver a programme that is more in tune with what is needed and wanted locally.
- The results are likely to be more enduring because of the sense of ownership.
- Working with more people may mean more work can be carried out in a shorter time period.
- Involving the local community can develop the confidence, improves the skills-base and co-operation in that community.
- People can bring a wide range of important and valuable skills together to deliver successful projects.
- Working together helps develop a sense of community and builds relationships between people that otherwise might not meet.
- People working together raises the profile of your community and your neighbourhood with local service providers and others.
Community Park Groups
A definition of a community park group might be:
“a formal or informal organisation of volunteers who live locally and use and support their local park or open space and who would like to influence and contribute to its use and development.”
What are the advantages of organising a park group?
- Your group would get the opportunity to be regularly consulted by the council about the management of your park.
- Your group would get the opportunity to be consulted about wider issues affecting local parks and open spaces through membership of the local green space forum.
- Your group would be recognised by other organisations and service providers, which helps to tackle other issues such as safety and security.
- Your group may be able to take on some aspects of management of its local park – from basic monitoring to full scale lease-management arrangements over a period of time.
- Your group would be able to represent the needs of particular groups in your community, eg local young children and older people.
- Your group can access grant money and resources for improvements which the council are not eligible to apply to.
- What help can a park group get from local council parks department?
The parks department can:
- Provide a faster response to management and maintenance issues in your park or green space.
- Provide ecological/conservation advice, eg how to improve areas for wildlife.
- Provide help with carrying out consultations with your local community.
- Give some help with core costs, eg with meeting rooms, postage and printing.
- Offer practical help with photocopying, mail outs to members, etc.
- Provide access to a tool store loan facility.
Reproduced with permission of North West Parks Friends Forum