Parks Community – a new website for Friends Groups

To our national partners and all organisations active in or supporting the Green Spaces sector

A big hello from the Parks Community UK team and the National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces during this difficult time for all of us and our sector. Our green spaces – and the communities that depend on them – continue to depend on us all to work together to safeguard and champion their needs.

A key imperative is to continue to support and empower those in our communities who care deeply about and are committed to taking action for our parks and public green spaces. To that end over the last 18 months we have developed a peer-led ‘one stop shop’ website to serve the movement of over 7,000 local Friends Groups. The site contains highly-focused guidance, relevant and inspiring case studies, and links to key national organisations. This ‘Rethinking Parks’ initiative – – was supported from the beginning by the wider sector.**

We are now delighted to report that the PCUK team, supported by the NFPGS, have now created a special ‘state of the art’ online tool which we have launched today.
‘Better Friends’ is a strength-checker* that is free to use on our website:   It is the only tool of its type designed specifically to help the thousands of volunteer Friends and community groups who champion and try to animate and improve their local parks and green spaces.

Using it should be an enjoyable challenge and a neat and non-judgmental way to test the current health of any greenspace Friends or community group – to support and encourage groups to continue to do the best possible for their local green spaces. The survey is a series of questions about the group, membership, set up, outreach, activities, partnerships, and vision. Those filling it in will be thinking about how their group operates, how effective it is, and areas of activity in which they might improve. After they have completed the questions, they will receive an emailed feedback report – including an overall score for their group and scores for the different sections filled in, and pointers to some of the helpful online resources available on the Parks Community website. A group may wish to complete ‘Better Friends’ annually as a strategic assessment and planning tool to help identify issues and monitor progress.

Please spread the word to any groups you feel may find the Better Friends tool useful.

We hope our parkscommunity website, and pcuk and natfedparks tweets and bulletins, have helped keep greenspace groups – and national bodies – connected during these tough times. We are of course keen to do our best to continue to support the other valuable initiatives by our partners and the sector for the benefits of our green spaces and those who use and rely on them.

best wishes and solidarity

Dave Morris, NFPGS Chair (and part of the Parks Community UK team)

Parks Community website