For the first time, the character, scope and impact of the inspirational Friends of parks and greenspace communities has been analysed. This grassroots movement needs systematic ongoing support if our public green spaces are to thrive into the future.
This report comes after 2021 proved a very challenging year for most Friends groups as the pandemic health crisis severely restricted volunteer activities. We will continue to promote the ‘Better Friends’ tool and, subject to resources, aim to provide a further Report in twelve months time.
Thanks are due to all the groups who have taken the time to fill in the Better Friends strength checker, their time and effort for the benefit of green spaces and the communities that use and rely on them is much appreciated.
- The hours contributed by green space volunteers is huge! The weighted average is estimated to be around 1000hrs per group, – meaning around 7 million hrs per year throughout the UK!
- A huge range of activities are undertaken by Friends groups including practical volunteering (by 91% of groups), organising community events (90%) and reporting maintenance issues (82%). They manage projects (77%) and public noticeboards (59%), and meet regularly with those running the site (86%). As well as their traditional ways of communicating through flyers (68%) and email lists (73%) the groups create websites (69%) and employ social media like facebook (88%) and twitter (39%).
- Groups could do with help with – fundraising (36%), community engagement (35%) and use of IT/Tech (26%).
- The core of each group can also vary greatly, but 41% of groups report 7- 10 activists
To read the whole ‘Better Friends – State Of The Movement’ report 2021, including all the key findings click here.