Save Our Parks – be heard campaign

Save Our Parks

Birmingham City Council has made a series of proposals which seek to reduce spending by cutting services including in our park.

The main points of the proposed cuts are;

·         The loss of 16 Park keepers
·         The removal of 60 play areas
·         The loss of 8 more Rangers
·         A reduction to the woodland team of between 4 to 8 posts
·         The reduction of grass cutting from 26 to 12 cuts per year, in some cases grass cutting will be abandoned completely.
No final decisions have been made yet.  They want to know what you think first.

Our parks & open spaces need you – and everyone you know – to respond to the proposals.  If there are enough objections we can change the plans.  Birmingham Parks have already made savings in the region of 25% since 2010.

To see the full review please go to www.birmingham.gov.uk/budgetviews .  For the short version look on the same page under “Local Services Factsheets”  – Parks & Open Spaces are on pages 46-47.

You can respond to the proposals by completing this questionnaire –  www.birminghambeheard.org.uk/budget/budgetviews2014/consult_view
The survey is long but please don’t be put off.  Section 5 is the one relevant to Parks & Open Spaces.

In the survey you are asked the question:
“How do you think the proposed budget cuts to services that aim to improve community life and build social capital, well-being and community engagement will affect you and your family?”

Depending on how you use Parks & Open Spaces responses to this question could include:

·         Park Keepers mean we feel safe using the parks, that the park is well-cared for and welcoming.
·         A safe, well cared for park is one in which we are able to take exercise, get fitter and stay healthy.
·         A safe, well cared for park is a space where we can meet our neighbours, volunteer & develop our community.
·         Without the park keeper we wouldn’t use the park so often.
·         Without the park keeper we wouldn’t be able to do as much volunteering in the park.
·         Play areas are safe, free, local places for families to play, to get exercise & fresh air.
·         With 1 in 4 10&11 years olds in Birmingham said to be obese we have to create more places to play not fewer.
·         If children can’t play safely in the streets any more, play areas in parks are more important than ever.
·         Play areas are one of the few traffic-free places that children of all ages can get active, fit & develop independence.
·         The Rangers are the key custodians of the city’s natural environment – they undertake the management of our open spaces.
·         Without the Rangers volunteers would not be able to do the work they do improving the environment on our doorsteps.
The next question asks – “Do you have any other suggestions on how the Council may spend less on these services?”
·         Friends of Parks groups already do thousands of hours of work looking after the city’s open spaces – saving thousands of pounds.
·         This level of volunteering would not be possible without the support of the Park Keepers and Rangers – they provide the basic services and the expert knowledge – without which volunteers cannot add value and they certainly couldn’t take on more.
·         Volunteers cannot replace jobs they provide added value – volunteering saves money but it isn’t free.
·         Volunteers need support – insurance, training, tools, first aid, risk assessments – all of which need to be provided by experts.
We need as many people as possible to be shouting about how important their parks are to them and their community. The Parks Service has made significant savings over the last 4 years these proposed cuts will hit core services. Our fear is the hard work that parks staff and volunteers have put in to making our parks the pride of the city, will be wasted.

Please pass this email on to your family, friends and neighbours and any park users you meet and encourage them to have their say. We need as many people to respond to this consultation as possible. Please act now before it’s too late.

All replies have to be in by the 10th January 2014 so please get this message out as quickly as possible. www.birminghambeheard.org.uk/budget/budgetviews2014/consult_view