Action call over parks and open spaces

March 03 2018

FRIENDS groups in and around Hanham and Longwell Green are being urged to join a new forum of groups who support green spaces and conservation areas.

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FRIENDS groups in and around Hanham and Longwell Green are being urged to join a new forum of groups who support green spaces and conservation areas.

The 'Friends Forum' is being set up by the Friends of Kingswood Park and is open to all groups across South Gloucestershire who have an interest in looking after parks and open spaces.

The move is in response to cuts in council funding and will enable groups and organisations to have a united front. They are asking like-minded Friends groups to contact them and register their interest in forming a forum to exchange ideas and information.

Jim Whittaker, secretary of the Friends of Kingswood Park, said: "Groups will have a new collective voice in discussions with authorities and national organisations and this will ultimately help improve the quality of everyone’s neighbourhood."

A parliamentary report found that green spaces across the UK are ‘at tipping point’ through a lack of adequate funding from local authorities and went on to include in its list of recommendations that Friends groups form regional forums.

Mr Whittaker said: "We recently attended a meeting of the Bristol Parks Forum and came away well impressed with the quality of interaction and representation to their authority."

Diane Thomas, chair of the Friends of Kingswood Park, said: "Since taking office it has been obvious that we are tackling problems that others have solved long ago! Now with the reduction in local authority resources it is more important that we pool our resources and stand together."

Nigel Sharp, of the National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces, said: "In our view there are many benefits from this collective and collaborative approach, both for the green space community groups and partner organisations - notably the local authority and other land owners or managers."

The Friends of Kingwood Park are a voluntary group working in partnership with South Gloucestershire Council to improve Kingswood and its park. 

Volunteers also work around Kingswood town centre to improve the appearance of the neighbourhood. 

If you are a member of a Friends group supporting a park, open space or conservation site in South Gloucestershire, please register your support for a forum by email to friendsofkingswoodpark@gmail.com 

You can contact Jim Whittaker on 07790 234087; Facebook/ourkingswoodpark; Twitter @k-pfriends or web: https://goo.gl/Q5hm19