Welcome to the Parks Management Association

Representing those individuals and organisations working in the public parks and open spaces sector, whether in the public, private or third sector.

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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 flocked to them in record numbers and staff had to work 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 plus 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’.

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We will:

  • 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 established.

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What are the benefits of joining the Parks Management Association asks our chairperson?

It gives me great pleasure to be asked to be Chairperson for The Parks Management Association. Having set about this initiative in 2019, 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.

One question I am frequently asked is why should I join? What will I get out of it? Am I not better off in other institutes such as the Landscape Institute or Chartered Institute of Horticulture? It’s a good question and should be answered here.

  1. The PMA is THE only organisation that represents parks professionals. Other organisations with similar terms are often entry by examination, or by several years of experience. We are open to anyone who works in parks or open spaces. There are no barriers to entry.
  2. For your membership fee, you can add the letter MPMA after your name. Many are already doing this. We are a member organisation, and to many employers, they are keen to see prospective employees who are members of an institute or organisation.
  3. Your £50 membership fee is possibly one of the cheapest there is in comparison to others.
  4. By joining, you are showing your support for the sector, for what we do, for what you do and for what your employer does. It supports our endeavours in lobbying government and ministers and seeking out best practice and sharing it with you. It is a small price to pay we think.
  5. We have said time and time again, we have lacked an organisation, and by supporting the PMA, you are helping in filling that gap and sustaining what we do.

Please continue to support us, and join us, renew your membership if it has lapsed and encourage others to join.

Paul Rabbitts MLA MPMA FRSA MCIOH FRHistS

Chair of the Parks Management Association

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