What is going to happen after you have submitted your report to HLF?
HLF will take all of our research and draw up the final State of the UK's Public Parks Report for publication in Spring 2014. The report will be used in a variety of ways – to influence HLF’s funding direction/policy for designed landscapes in future years, to attract media attention and raise public awareness to the current issues facing public parks across the UK, and also by the parks sector itself to demonstrate the ‘common ground’ of challenges to parks and argue for more money, or at least no more cuts. It’s not all bad news either - the report will also highlight the strengths, value and benefits of public parks.
Will this research be repeated annually or biennially so that we can see the trends as they do with MENE?
Ideally! Part of the research will be to identify how the parks sector could more usefully gather data, on a more regular basis. But the issue is more about who should be responsible for collecting, analysing, storing and using this data, year after year. It’s not HLF’s role to continually gather data on all parks, their funding, management, their users etc across the whole of the UK as they are a grant funder. They can only focus on the parks and green spaces where they have invested Lottery money. There are good models of data collection already available that could be used or modified that concentrate on parks. We are making sure that we work with organisations who collect such data to ensure that what we are collecting is complimentary.
How many questionnaires have gone out?
For the parks managers survey we have written to every local authority in the UK and we have also been supported by the regional for a (South West, West Midlands, London and South East) who have also mailed all of their contacts.
For the Friends group survey we have asked local authorities to pass the information on to their groups, worked through the regional fora and also Greenspace Scotland and the National Fedreration of Parks and Greenspaces have mailed all of their contacts.
Have you had any back yet?
We have had an overwhelming response to the Friends group survey almost 200 responses so far.
The parks managers survey will require people to find out a more information before filling it in on line so we not concerned at this stage about the number of replies but we will be chasing people over the next few weeks.
What else are you doing to complement the findings from the surveys of parks managers and parks friends?
HLF have also commissioned an impact evaluation report on the Parks for People programme which will update ethe interim report done in 2011
We are hoping to commission a national public opinion survey on public parks
The research team are also looking at data gathered by other organisations to see how this helps to build the overall picture
Will you be comparing the opinions given in the Quality questions with opinions on the same issues from say Councillors or Park Users?
Yes wherever possible we will look at the Friends group survey, the public opinion survey and the parks managers survey to see if there are common themes and issues.
What about parks and green spaces managed by Trusts or Housing Associations etc?
As the main focus is on public parks much of our work to date has focussed on local authority provision but we have also been talking to several trusts around the country and, if this comes through as a strong theme, we will follow it up with more research.
Is there any support for people having difficulty finding the information?
Nothing as yet to suggest that people are struggling to find the necessary information. We appreciate how busy everyone is but we really can't stress that the survey really is the sector's chance to have their say and feed into this major survey.
To find out more about taking part in the research please see the article below.