New group to address issues of current and future parks

Marcus Jones has announced the formation of a new Parks Action Group to help public parks and green spaces meet the needs of communities now and in the future.

The group will provide proposals to address some of the issues faced by public parks and other green spaces across England, and will be backed by government funding of £500,000.

Jones, the government’s Parks and Green Spaces Minister, referred to research in his announcement, in which the Fields in Trust charity reported that living close to and visiting parks and green spaces can increase people’s well-being and improve their health, as well reduce the risk of loneliness.

The launch also follows the Future of Public Parks report, published by the House of Commons Communities and Local Government Select Committee report in February this year. The report highlighted 17 recommendations, which the new action group will work towards.

With Jones chairing the inaugural meeting, the Parks Action Group will also consist of representatives from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Parks Alliance, Fields in Trust, the Local Government Association, the National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces and Natural England.

Jones said: “We recognise the value of parks and green spaces to local communities – including reducing loneliness, increasing wellbeing, and revitalising town and city centres. But we need to do more to make sure future generations are continuing to enjoy their benefits. That is why we have announced a new expert-led Parks Action Group to work closely with the sector to find the right solutions.”

Helen Griffiths, chief executive Fields in Trust said: “Our ongoing research recognises how these spaces help to address significant public policy issues including health and wellbeing and community integration. We are looking forward to furthering our work with colleagues across the sector to ensure that we value parks and green spaces and take account of the vital contribution they make to local communities.”