4th February 2022
Writing in our 2021 Annual Review Land Trust Chair, Bill Hiscocks, looks back at the challenges the Trust have had to overcome to continue delivering positive outcomes to our communities.
When the Covid-19 pandemic took hold in the UK in March 2020 it was a hugely uncertain time for the Land Trust. Following my appointment as Chair of the organisation in December 2019 I did not expect to be facing such an unprecedented situation during my first few months in the role.
Covid-19 threw many obstacles in the Land Trust’s path. The first, and immediate priority, was considering how best to keep our sites open and safe for our communities to use during this incredibly challenging time. However, as Chair of the organisation, there were also a huge amount of other issues to consider.
How would the pandemic affect the long-term financial position of the Trust? How was the transition to home working affecting the morale of our passionate and dedicated staff team? With so much of our new business work conducted face to face with clients how would it affect the transfer of new parks and green spaces to the Land Trust’s portfolio?
Nearly two years later I am very proud of the way the Trust overcame these significant obstacles to ensure that the organisation finished the year in a stronger position than which we started and with a very bright future ahead of us. One of the few positives to come out of the pandemic has been the new appreciation people have for their local parks and green spaces.
We know that keeping our sites open, when many other organisations and local authorities were closing theirs, was hugely valued by our communities. We understood that this would put huge pressure on the sites as more people than ever before flocked to our green spaces, but knew that it would have a hugely positive effect on the physical and mental wellbeing of our communities.
We were delighted to welcome more than two million people to our parks and green spaces over the last 12 months, the first time we have hit this significant milestone. It was wonderful to see record numbers of people visiting our green spaces and being able to use them for their daily exercise was hugely important.
Finally, my thanks go to the staff of the Land Trust for their continued hard work and commitment to improving people’s lives. While we are growing as an organisation I am constantly amazed at our ability to punch above our weight and maximise our resources to deliver what we do. This is down to our wonderful staff team, who all care passionately about the Trust’s mission to change people’s lives for the better.
I have been inspired by their ability to adapt to the significant challenges posed by Covid-19 and the positive impact their efforts have had on millions of people across the country.
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