What’s on Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Future Parks

Welcome to Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Future Parks September Newsletter. In this edition we are introducing the new Strategic Parks and Greenspaces Programme (SPAG). As we close down the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Future Parks Programme(CPFP), we are excited to continue our dedication to parks and greenspace through the legacy SPAG Programme. Focusing on the multiple benefits parks offer Cambridgeshire and Peterborough , as well as activating and animating the county’s parks and greenspaces.

We would we like to thank you for your participation to CPFP Programme and look forwardto continuing to work together with SPAG aims and objectives. Keep reading to learn moreand the exciting projects to come.

Introducing The Strategic Parks and Greenspace Programme

The Strategic Parks and Greenspace Programme -Animating and Activating Parks and Greenspace

‘Healthier Parks, Healthier  Planet, Healthier People’

The Strategic Parks and Greenspace programme will demonstrate opportunities in each district – by realising the multiple benefits parks and greenspaces provide to local communities and the environment by activating and animating these spaces.

1. Improving Health and Wellbeing

The COVID 19 Pandemic has increased health inequalities and highlighted that having access to quality outdoor space has numerous benefits for mental and physical health. The SPAG Programme will support:

  • Green social prescribing services
  • Connecting health groups for sharing knowledge
  • Support organisation wishing to develop activities in parks
  • Connecting with ‘hard to reach’ groups that are under-utilising parks to improve usage.

2. Restoring Nature/ Climate Change

In response to climate crisis and to acknowledge the value natural capital brings to local communities. The SPAG Programme will support:

  • Bring together experts across Cambridgeshire & Peterborough to develop robust nature restoration strategy
  • Signpost resources for volunteer and community groups to undertake nature restoration projects
  • Understand county wide nature restoration activity to develop funding opportunities for nature restoration projects

3. Strengthening Communities

Voluntary and community groups are critical resources for maintaining and developing parks and greenspaces. The SPAG Programme will support:

  • Develop and maintain the Open Space Forum
  • Provide simple access to resources to support volunteers
  • Provide support for funding and access of information Match volunteers to appropriate groups
  • Help volunteers to develop by championing nature restoration and promote health and wellbeing

See more information below to keep update with key workstreams and general interest that collates to the SPAG’s programme.

Introducing Nicholas Pond – The Strategic Parks and Greenspace Programme Director

I am a landscape ecologist by training and have worked in Lewisham for over 19years championing collaborative approaches to maximise the value of parks and open spaces for both people and wildlife. Awareness that these spaces can deliver a range of services and benefits across a place is only beginning to be fully realised.

My philosophy is that good quality, accessible, connected, engaging and inclusive park sand open spaces are fundamental to the health and wellbeing of people and nature. These spaces have the potential to redefine the transactional relationships that have evolved overtime and that are enshrined in public sector hierarchies.

They can be part of the solution for local government in the face of increasing demand set against dwindling resources. Helping organisations to move away from focusing on responses to acute problems in the short term, rather than focusing on addressing the root causes that generate them in the first place. These spaces can be the heart and lungs, connecting active, healthy, and vibrant local communities that deliver the vision, ‘Healthier Parks, Healthier Planet, Healthier People.’

Working collaboratively and in co-operation to promote collective leadership so that parks and open spaces deliver the greatest benefit for people, wildlife and the environment is what motivates and excites me about the SPAG Programme and I’m very much looking forward to working with you all to realise this shared vision.

Improving Health and Wellbeing – Children in Nature

Think of your favourite place to play as a child. Was it outdoors? It often is. Today children often lack opportunities to play outside and engage with nature.

Children playing outside and connecting children with nature has a wealth of benefits for physical and mental wellbeing as well as learning and development opportunities.

Barriers such as traffic dangers, the rise of indoor entertainment, receding access to green spaces and the health and safety culture often curtail opportunities for children to engage outdoor play and engage with nature.

The mission of the Strategic Parks and Greenspace (SPAG) Unit will be to realise the benefits of parks and green spaces for local communities and the environment by activating and animating these spaces. “Better Parks, Healthier People, More Nature”. There are other organisations with the same aim and in particular focus on reconnecting children with nature.

The National Trust helped establish The Wild Network. A rapidly growing movement of over 1000 organisations and thousands of individuals who are passionate about getting children back to nature. The have also created a list of 50 Things to do before you are 11 ¾.

Natural England has been leading on a framework for the Children in Nature Programme for a 25 year environment plan which recognises this on behalf of Defra and Department for Education (DfE). The plan includes a policy commitment encouraging children to be close to nature, in and out of school.

Find out more on Natural England blog – Celebrating the Children and Nature Programme – how learning in nature supports children’s mental and physical health, social skills and attainment – Natural England

Strengthening Communities – Open Space Forum, Coming Soon

We wanted to know how we could help voluntary groups and individuals to engage with their peers and with statutory services. So, during the development phase of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Future Parks engagement work (February to July 2021) a series of workshops and conversations took place with stakeholders across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough (C&P) to discuss parks and open space volunteering.

Stakeholders were interested in support to enhance activities in parks and open spaces and a place to share learning and ideas and find solutions. It was suggested that networking opportunities would be a benefit to all involved in parks and open spaces.

The Future Parks Team (soon to be the Strategic Parks and Green Spaces Unit or SPAG) are in the process of planning a meeting in October Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Open Space Forum meeting.

We will be sharing further information in the near future. However, if you wish to signup for the first meeting, please email futureparks@cambridgeshire.gov.uk with your name, role and area you work or volunteer in.

Restoring Nature – Community Led Nature Based Projects Report

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Future Parks Project, in partnership with the Natural Cambridgeshire, the Local Nature Partnership for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, aims to promote community led nature based solutions. By offering small grants to local communities to undertake nature recovery on local and accessible open space. The project sought to better understand how local communities could be better supported to deliver community led local nature restoration in parks and green spaces.

The headline findings were:

  • Communities throughout Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are resourceful, creative, enthusiastic and motivated, want to see nature thrive where they live and are beginning to make this happen.
  • Local Councils and landholders working together can do more to enable rewilding and other nature recovery projects on their land, including initial upfront support to groups and guidance to develop 5-year Local Nature Recovery Plans, and link these with neighbourhood plans and local plans.
  • Together we need to build capacity to enable more communities to acquire skills and knowledge they need to accelerate local nature recovery, and to identify sites for nature enhancement close to where they live.

Many of the lessons learnt from this report will be taken forward and used to assist the development of the Restoring Nature workstream – under the Strategic Parks and Greenspace programme.

Data Transfer to The Strategic Parks and Greenspace Programme

From 1st of October, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Future Parks will handover to a new Strategic Parks and Greenspace Programme embedded within Cambridgeshire County Council

Please expect further communication on receiving regular communication from the Strategic Parks and Greenspace Programme.

Copyright © 2022 Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Future Parks, All rights reserved. You are receiving this email because you opted in via our website.

Our mailing address is:

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Future Parks

Alconbury Weald, PE28 4YE


United Kingdoms

Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.