Land Trust celebrates year of vital parks and green spaces

National land management charity, the Land Trust, is celebrating a year which saw its parks and green spaces play a vital part in the lives of local communities, with the Trust’s sites being visited 1.4 million times.

The charity, which has responsibility for over 80 parks and green spaces after bringing six new sites under management in 2019-20, delivered over £30 million of economic and social value to the communities that live and work around its sites.

The significant rise in the economic and social value delivered by the Land Trust has been driven by a number of factors in 2019-20, but mainly by the huge rise in the number of people attending community event’s on the Trust’s parks and green spaces, with over 100,000 getting involved in one of our events over the last 12 months, up from 66,000 the previous year.

Land Trust Chief Executive, Euan Hall, said: “It was great to have another successful year in 2019-20 in what was the Land Trust’s 15th year, and it has been fantastic to see the positive impact we have on our communities.

“We continue to see overwhelming evidence of the positive role our work is doing for people who live and work around our sites and we are very excited about what the future holds and increasing the charitable outcomes we are delivering.”

The Trust has continued to develop its work on behalf of 4,400 homeowners who pay the Land Trust a service charge to manage the public open space around their homes, helping to protect their investment.

The Trust’s economic and social value model highlights that in 2019-20 nearly £2.5 million of economic and social value was created from the management of the green spaces around the nine service charge sites within the Trust’s responsibility. This figure rises to over £16 million when the uplift in property prices is taken in to consideration.

Hall is pleased by these figures and says that it highlights that proper long term investment and securing the right management body is key to bringing new communities together: “The results are very encouraging and we are pleased to see the benefits that we are bringing to the residential service charge sites we manage. However these benefits don’t happen by accident. They are created by how the green spaces are used and managed. It requires the right vision, management, governance and funding structures, and over the last few years we have worked with a variety of developers to manage our spaces in a way that has a positive impact on everyone.

“Our social value model provides overwhelming evidence of the need for green infrastructure around new developments which is managed for the long term. Too often the public open spaces are an afterthought, and neglected or abandoned once the development is complete. We feel very strongly that this should no longer be allowed to happen. We want this to be a top priority for developers going forward.”

The number of health activities delivered by the Trust continues to rise, with over 47,000 people attending an activity in 2019-20 with mental health related events remaining a key focus for the Trust and its managing partners.

Over 13,000 young people have visited a green space as part of a school visit or another organised party, while over 9,000 people completed a training activity in 2019-20 with the Trust’s flagship volunteering programme Green Angels continuing to thrive.

While the work carried out by the Land Trust’s Estates team and dedicated managing partners is the driving force behind everything the charity has accomplished, none of it would be possible without the passionate volunteer workforce that the Trust is lucky to call upon. Over 18,400 volunteer activities took place in 2019-20, a growth of nearly 5,000 from 2018-19, and a massive increase from just over 5,000 when the Trust started measuring this activity in 2013-14.

Hall also touched on the Trust’s role in helping people deal with the Covid-19 pandemic with the UK going into lockdown at the end of 2019-20: “The pandemic has brought home to many the importance of well managed and designed public open space in helping create and maintain the health and wellbeing of communities.

“We have been incredibly proud of the role our parks and green spaces have played in protecting the physical and mental wellbeing of our communities during what has been an incredibly challenging time.

“We hope that government and other key decision makers have sat up and taken notice of this and will prioritise green infrastructure and a green recovery as the world hopefully enjoys a much brighter and more positive 2021.”

For more information about the Land Trust’s achievements in 2019-20 you can read the annual review in full here.

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