The National Trust Parks Challenge team visited the Association of Bloomsbury Squares and Gardens sites today, to collect information on the use of space and local involvement. They saw many of the gardens in the group and talked with some of the people who volunteer in the gardens through Friends groups. We hope they took away a strong impression of enthusiasm and voluntary engagement with the mainly historic Bloomsbury gardens, but also understood the frustrations caused by lack of skilled maintenance and damage from inappropriate events.
What is the Parks Challenge? ‘A multi-million pound initiative to secure the future of the UK’s urban parks and green spaces has been launched by the National Trust and The National Lottery Heritage Fund, with support from the government. In the first project of its kind in the UK, eight urban areas, including Camden with Islington, are joining forces in a pioneering programme designed to find sustainable ways to manage and fund parks and open spaces across entire towns and cities.’
‘The eight areas were selected for their ambitious and creative plans to put green spaces right at the heart of local communities. All winning bids demonstrated four key themes: making green spaces central to everyday community life; giving the public a bigger role in how they are managed; ensuring they contribute more to the public’s mental and physical health; and transforming the way they are funded to secure their futures. In Islington and Camden the councils will focus on using parks and green spaces to improve health and wellbeing by developing closer links to the NHS, health providers, doctors and health charities.’