In the Good Parks Report 2019, Camden parks are scored in the second half of the London boroughs over ten criteria, at 28.5 (lowest is Newham at 16.5 and highest is Southwark at 44). Quality (e.g. Green Flag awards) and Nature (e.g biodiversity plans) scores are low. See the full table in the report.
There’s a lot on parks for health (including ‘new health related skills and roles for parks staff’), but not much on the importance of regular maintenance by skilled staff to keep the gardens looking like ‘vibrant and attractive resources for well-being’.
Good Parks for London is an annual report compiled by Parks for London. It assesses each London Borough’s parks service against ten criteria to enable comparison between them – it gives recognition for the great work that is happening and it helps improve performance and make practices more visible and open to scrutiny.
Maintaining a good parks service is a complex challenge for Local Authorities, not just because of limited budgets but because parks provide so many different functions for so many people, wildlife and the environment. Getting the balance for all these different users and functions is not easy and that is why this report looks at the wide range of ingredients that go into making parks good.
In this year’s introduction, Julie Billett, Director of Public Health for Camden and Islington writes: We have recently embarked on an ambitious “Parks for Health” programme, supported by the National Trust and the National Lottery Heritage Fund (see page 70 of the report). Our aim is to transform our local parks into modern-day public health assets, turning our parks into vibrant, attractive resources for wellbeing that offer something for everyone. In particular we are focusing on those residents
who are less likely to use our parks currently, but who are at increased risk of poorer health outcomes. Our approach will include new health related skills and roles for parks staff, encouraging local health, social care and third sector organisations to “think parks” in the care and support they provide, and hardwiring parks into the local social prescribing offer. Owing to continued pressure on budgets, maintaining and sustaining London’s parks now and into the future is a key challenge for local authorities across the capital. This report offers both inspiration as well as practical tools and resources to help London Boroughs in thatendeavour. Moreover, it highlights the importance of building and strengthening collaborations with a wider range of partners, sectors and policy
agendas, not least with public health and the wider health and care system in London.