In this article Fields in Trust Chief Executive, Helen Griffiths, introduces our Impact Report for 2016 and highlights key achievements of our work over the last year; a year which saw the spotlight focussed on parks and green spaces through a Parliamentary Inquiry and the publication of new research findings.
Last year was an important year for parks and green spaces. Our primary research on Centenary Park in Rugby demonstrated the value parks and green spaces bring to people’s lives. Data from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s State of UK Public Parks 2016 reported the stark figure that 50% of all local authorities have sold or transferred management of parks and green spaces in the last three years. So we welcomed the announcement of a Parliamentary Inquiry into the future of these vital community spaces and actively contributed to it.
During the year we were pleased to continue with our work to protect parks and green spaces both through our ongoing Fields in Trust protection projects and through our World War I commemorative programme, Centenary Fields. Along with our programme partners, The Royal British Legion, we were delighted to welcome our President, HRH The Duke of Cambridge to dedicate Kensington Memorial Park as a Centenary Field during Remembrance Week.
Supporting the parks and green spaces we protect in perpetuity is an important strand of our work to help ensure these spaces are used and loved by their local communities. Our dedicated team of Development Managers are always on hand to offer advice on field management; signpost opportunities for financial support and help sites improve their facilities. Parks and green spaces are made meaningful through their use and we are delighted by the number of organisations and individuals who continue to support Have a Field Day in their local communities. We have recently introduced the Actice Spaces programme to help increase the use of these spaces for sport and exercise.
Actively and vocally championing the role of parks and green spaces both through our own research and the work of other organisations and institutions is important. We want to ensure the future of these spaces and we are committed to growing this area of activity.
The work of Fields in Trust is made possible by the support of our many partners and generous funders and we are enormously grateful to each of them. In 2016 we recognised the changing landscape and challenges faced by parks and green spaces, so we began to develop a new organisational strategy to guide us into the future. We are delighted to share our Impact Report with you and thank you again for your ongoing support.