13th December 2018
Land Trust Chief Executive, Euan Hall, says there is ‘a huge opportunity to change the future of our country’ as the national land management charity publishes its 2017-18 annual review.
As the Land Trust looks back on a year which has seen 1.3 million people spend time on their green spaces spaces, 40,000 volunteer hours completed and 13,200 individuals taking part in educational and training activities, the Trust is now turning its attention to areas such as public health, economy and the environment.
The review is available to read online here.
Writing in the review, the organisation’s chief executive, Euan Hall, says:
“As the 15th anniversary of the Land Trust rapidly approaches it is incredible to see how far we have come and how many people’s lives we are positively affecting.
“We are an organisation with big ambitions and we recognise that we now have an opportunity to help tackle some of the biggest issues currently being faced by our country.
“It has been well documented that the NHS is struggling financially, crippled under the growing weight of preventable, long term and non-communicable diseases, caused in part by inactivity. In 2019 and beyond the Trust is committed to working with our communities to help them take more responsibility for their own health, thereby relieving the NHS of unaffordable expenditure.”
The Land Trust owns 64 parks and green spaces throughout the UK, which are managed in a way that benefits surrounding communities and wildlife.
Over the last 12 months the charity has committed significant time and resource to understanding and evidencing the contribution the Trust makes and proving that well managed green space can have a positive impact on people’s physical and mental well-being, the economy and the environment.
This has seen three key pieces of research published.
Working with the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University at the Countess of Chester Country Park the Trust’s innovative Health for Life project showed that an increase in time spent outdoors, undertaking specific planned activities, has made people feel healthier and happier and had a significant impact on their physical and mental health.
The Trust also published ‘The Economic Value of our Green Spaces’ which assessed the impact of the transformation of the former landfill site at Port Sunlight River Park. The report highlighted that the green space has added £7.8 million total value to houses located within 500 metres of the park. This is crucial evidence that the Land Trust will use in the future to lobby for increased investment in public green spaces.
The charity has also developed its OS REEECH model (Open Space Returns for Economy, Environment, Education, Communities and Health). The model provides evidence-based, measurable indicators of the benefits of well managed green space for communities, with the research revealing that for every £1 spent by the Land Trust in 2017-18 there was an overall economic and social benefit to society of £4.
Crucially the model can also be used to forecast the impact that well managed green space can have on an area, which will be vital for the Trust as the charity looks to bring more sites under ownership and management.
The charity has also continued to develop its service charge business and now has three sites under its management at Waverley, Upton and Beaulieu. The Trust is using its placekeeping approach to provide more than just a green space management service and works closely with residents and communities to develop a programme of activities appropriate to each site and to deliver against the organisation’s five key charitable objectives.
“We all have a responsibility to look after this planet that we call home and the Land Trust, working in partnership with various organisations will ensure we have our say in shaping the future direction of this work.
“Our research will play a vital role in this.
“We need a government that is prepared to work to prioritise green space and infrastructure and the announcement of a new environment bill is a promising start. We look forward to working with Defra to help deliver the 2019 year of environmental action.
“Ultimately it is about deciding what society we want our children, and their children, to grow up in.
“We have a huge opportunity to change the future of our country. It is vital that we do not miss it.”
Land, in particular public open space and wildlife, has always been my passion and here at the Land Trust I get to make a difference. I enjoy covering a large area of England and Wales and seeing a wide variety of sites. No site is the same, so it makes my job interesting.
Alison Whitehead, Development Manager
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