Welcome to the Parks Management Association
A little about us at the Parks Management Association
We launched the Parks Management Forum, now the Parks Management Association during the Covid-19 lockdown in early 2020. It seemed like a good time to do this. The crisis had turned the spotlight on the public parks we all work in on a daily basis. The Government, at the time, decreed that they must stay open; at a stroke endorsing our belief that they are an essential service.
People have flocked to them in record numbers and staff have worked tirelessly throughout the crisis to keep parks clean and safe and beautiful despite the pressures that mounted daily – large numbers of people, social distancing, high levels of littering and having to react to ever-changing government guidance.
What we do
The Association has partly been established to lobby for the need for good-quality public parks. This case has been made incessantly over the last twenty five years and continues to be made. It has however, been set up to give a voice to parks professionals, those who know more about these places than anyone.
We work in them daily; we know our trees and our flowers, our water management and our ice-cream sales, but we also know our users; we know how vital parks are across our communities, and especially in poorer communities. These are not pay-per-entry leisure facilities or stately homes; free access to good quality parks and open spaces is as fundamental to physical and mental health as free access to health care. We are often called ‘The Natural Health Service’.
- Celebrate the central role well-run parks play in our neighbourhoods for all sections of our communities and raise its value regionally and nationally;
- Recognise and endorse the roles of parks and open spaces for health and well-being;
- Endorse best management practices and play a role in facilitating roll out amongst practitioners;
- Embed the effect parks and open spaces have as green infrastructure endorsing sustainable development and protection;
- Lobby for long-term resources for ongoing maintenance, management and development;
- Play a role in finding solutions with government and relevant partner organisations – “one voice – one lobby”;
- Encourage and enable community involvement and empowerment of local people and park users.
The Sector Survey
In late 2019, a major survey was carried out of parks professionals……over 600+ replies were received and there was an overwhelming support for the need for an institute or organisation to represent parks management professionals. The majority were committed to working with many of the organisations who are lobbying government on the value of parks and open spaces and for parks professionals to be recognised as playing an important role in this.
In time it became clear that an independent organisation of parks professionals could fill the significant gap in linking all the various organisations to the sectors many practitioners and as a result, The Parks Management Association was created.
A welcome from the Chair
It gives me great pleasure to be asked to be Chairperson for The Parks Management Association. Having set about this initiative several months ago, if not longer, it is fantastic to see this take off at last, and whilst it is still early days, we have achieved a great deal already. The task ahead will not be easy but having worked in parks for too many years I care to remember, I know the passion and enthusiasm we have for those who work in the sector.
We have a great body of people now working to see our sector better represented, from Local Authorities, Charitable Sector, and Private Practice. We all have the same ideology – better representation for parks professionals which will in turn lead to better parks, healthier communities and enhanced biodiversity for all.
Paul Rabbitts MLA MPMA FRSA FLI
Chair of the Parks Management Association
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