Fields in Trust are disappointed to learn that Stoke Gifford Parish Council has voted to charge members of their local community for the use of the park during weekly parkrun events.
Last year Fields in Trust contributed to the Government's sports strategy "Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation" and support the aims of using sport to improve people's lives, to tackle social inclusion and improve physical and mental health. We also agree with the Local Government Association view that "A vibrant local sports scene improves public health, economic development and community cohesion".
Promoting activity should be part of the agenda of all local authorities - to improve health and fitness and save costs elsewhere. As an entirely volunteer run, not for profit project parkrun is very different to the commercially driven "boot camp" classes which have periodically received coverage for being charged to use local parks.
Fields in Trust protects over 2,600 parks, playing fields and recreation grounds across the UK - safeguarding sites to ensure free public access in perpetuity. Many of our protected sites are host to parkrun events - where the local community get out and enjoy their public green spaces.
We believe that publicly owned amenities should be free and accessible to all members of the community, forever. It is vital that funds are available to ensure parks and playing fields are protected and maintained, but fundamentally they are there to be used for community recreation and relaxation.
The image above shows Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government, with other parkrunners at a joint Fields in Trust / parkrun event in Dunorlan Park, Royal Tunbridge Wells last November.