What do Friends Groups do?
Regular park users know their park inside out, they are in touch with its rhythms and fully understand how it functions. They have opinions about what works well and what could be done better and frequently put forward suggestions to the Council on how it might be improved.
In Bath and North East Somerset, an increasing number of people are able to channel their views through one of the Friends Groups that are now established. Friends Groups are a vital link with the Council and the community and they make an invaluable contribution and real difference. For example, bringing the local community into the picture, listening to their views and giving them the opportunity to have their say in the future direction of the park informs development plans that respond to local needs. In turn, this is more likely to result in improvements that have local ownership and 'buy-in', are sustainable and offer better value for money. This helps Bath and North East Somerset Council to continually work to improve our standards and to produce, not necessarily 'perfect' parks, but better quality open spaces accessible to everybody, and which provide a clean, safe and healthy environment.
Financial resources for parks are limited – at present there is no statutory duty for councils to provide a parks service in spite of their obvious benefits to the community. Friends groups, working in partnership with the Council can boost the money available for improvements to parks and public spaces by tapping into funds that are available to community groups but not to local authorities. There are already a number of successful examples of this partnership working between Friends Groups and the Council that have resulted in practical improvements and benefits for local parks and communities within the district.
If you have an interest in a Bath and North East Somerset Council owned park or area of public open space and wish to find out if there is already a Friends group set up or wish to set one up, or simply want to find out more about your local park please contact the Parks and Green Spaces team on:
Tel. 01225 394041, or via email on:
Alternatively you can write to us at:
Bath, BA1 1JG