The Friends Groups’ movement and the National Federation
The Federation is the voice of the dynamic and inspirational movement of over 6,000 local Friends of Parks groups – the volunteers who act on behalf of the communities who use and care about our vital public green spaces. We exist to represent their activities, issues and concerns, and to amplify their passionate and knowledgeable voices.
The Federation was constituted in 2010 by and for the Friends Groups’ movement. We aim to share learning, develop good practice, and strengthen grass roots organisation, coordination and co-operation throughout the UK. Most importantly, we raise the issues impacting on our open spaces, including seeking the effective protection and improvement of all the UK’s 27,000 public parks and green spaces. We successfully campaigned for a national Inquiry into how to end the current underfunding crisis, and played a significant role in it.
We want to see an active Friends Group for every public green space, and an active and independent Forum run by such groups in every area throughout the UK.
The Federation is a democratic, accountable, ‘bottom up’, grassroots organisation of the movement’s area forums and networks (currently numbering over 60 such Forums actively networking and coordinating over 3,000 of the local groups). We are uniquely placed to be able to support and build up this grassroots movement.
We provide support for friends groups working together to make a difference to their local area, city, region and nationally. Such groups and their coordination forums are dependent on unpaid and over-stretched volunteer commitment at every level, including our own Federation officers and representatives (who are also active in their local Friends Groups and Area Forums).
We are developing a partnership approach to working with other ‘community-facing’ national greenspace organisations, most notably with Keep Britain Tidy (through their Love Parks campaign team) with whom we have an agreed Memorandum of Understanding. We have supported the creation and development of The Parks Alliance as a campaigning body.
We call on all those who value the UK’s green spaces to work together to speak out and defend them, to call for the effective action urgently needed at Government level – make parks a statutory service backed by adequate public funding and effective protection. We call on everyone to support and help build the Friends Groups’ movement in every locality and area throughout the UK.