Commenting on the Heritage Lottery Fund’s (HLF) ‘State of UK Parks 2016’ report, Graham Duxbury, Groundwork UK chief executive, said:
“The HLF State of UK Parks report makes sobering reading and should serve as a wake-up call for all those who care about the quality of life in local communities.
“Councils and community groups across the country are working hard to preserve, maintain and improve the parks and green spaces that bring so many proven benefits, but the mantra of ‘more for less’ is reaching its limit, as is the capacity and appetite among Friends Groups to take on more.
“We’re particularly worried about the fate of the many small, less formal neighbourhood green spaces that may not get the same attention and investment as large parks and gardens but which matter hugely to those who live nearby, particularly young people and those who are less mobile.
“What we need is a national programme of support aimed at building the capacity of local champions to mobilise the wider community and work creatively with councils, businesses and other bodies to generate alternative income streams and management arrangements.
“That’s one of the reasons we created our Project Toolkit, to act as a source of inspiration and practical guidance for communities in playing a more active role in the upkeep and development of the places they treasure.
“Parks matter to people of all ages and backgrounds but it doesn’t take much for a valuable community asset to turn into a dangerous no-go area. This report not only spells out the danger but offers a route-map for avoiding it.”