We're entering the final stages of the conference planning. We thought we would share a list of the organisations attending the Parks South West - Call to Action conference on Wednesday 8th October 2014 at Exeter University.
From the public sector we have representatives from all sides of the south west including; Torbay, Poole, Exeter, South Glos, Taunton Dean, Cirencester and North Somerset, along with Natural England.
From the voluntary and community sector we have Fields in Trust, The Conservation Volunteers, the Community Land Advisory Service and ten community groups from across the area.
At present there will be over 80 organisations attending the conference to address the call to action of the state of our parks.
To book your place see below.
No growth without risk; Peter Wilkinson chair of the SW Parks Conference Responds to Green Connect Questions
Green Connect is pleased to reveal that long-time champion of parks across the country Peter Wilkinson will be chairing the SW Parks Conference 2014. Peter has worked for many years in parks sector including Head of Development for Bristol City Council Parks Service while also being Chair of the Green Space National Forum and a Green Flag judge. He now runs his own consultancy.
Green Connect asked him about the upcoming conference.
What are your hopes for the conference and afterwards?
I hope that the conference will really start to put Green Connect on the map, both within the regional network of parks and green space managers who we believe need our support and importantly within parks communities and local campaign groups whose engagement is perhaps even more important.
I think we are aware that to some extent our organisation is 'punching beyond it's weight' by organising a relatively high profile and ambitious conference on such a small resource base - however there is no growth without risk so I am delighted we are going for it!
What will attendees be able to learn about at the conference?
We have a really good spread of excellent speakers from key national organisations as well as those from the South West, and I am sure that for each presentation there will be at least one or two important learning points that people can take away with them.
Above all Green Connect is a learning network so we hope the conference will provide delegates with a broader base of contacts who they can speak to during and after the conference - about new funding ideas, quality awards, campaigning and so forth.
If you could ask attendees to do one thing before they attend what would it be?
Think about what personal contribution they can make to ensuring the conference is a success. We have all been to similar events when too many people sit on their hands even if they have burning issues to discuss, leading to a small number of people feeling they need to fill the vacuum......
I really hope we have a full house comprising people with diverse and interesting views and everyone comes along wanting to take an active part - as this will help us build positive momentum for the network as well as set the foundations for our Spring 2015 conference next April.
How will you stop the conference from just covering the same old moaning topics of no money, no staff and a need to prioritize parks higher on the social agenda?
I will have to give this further thought, maybe we need to adopt a 'no moaning' rule at the start, at the same time as everyone puts their mobiles on silent!?
I am hoping that by targeting an audience of parks managers and community representatives, that we will be able to avoid the tendency for discussions to become too inward looking as parks professional networking events have become in the past...
To find out more about Peter Wilkinson an The Next Field click here for the website http://www.thenextfield.co.uk/about.php