Manchester City Council are asking Government to provide more funding to green spaces and parks in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Council backs up its pleas by citing the Government’s continued advice for people to rely on parks as a way to exercise to keep both the mind and body healthy during the height of the national lockdown.
As a result of a 30% increase in the public attending parks, there has been a large increase in maintenance cost, leading to a 20% funding gap for green spaces in Manchester.
The Council believes that even post-Covid, people will continue to use parks at a greater capacity due to the increased exposure to the physical and mental benefits that green spaces can offer to people who may not have access to a garden.
Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure, Councillor Luthfur Rahman OBE, said:
“In the face of a global pandemic, the value of parks became more clearly evident than ever before and the Government regularly called for people across the nation to make use of parks, to boost their physical and mental wellbeing.
“Our parks have been a lifeline for the people of Manchester at what has been an incredibly challenging period for our communities. However, little support has been provided to ensure that they can continue to operate safely.
“I’m calling on the government to recognise our forgotten key workers - who have worked tirelessly to provide safe spaces which are essential to our residents' health and well-being - by committing to bridging the funding gap caused by the twin pressures of reduced incomes and increased costs.”
In the Government’s spending review, a £3 billion investment was promised to safeguard England’s countryside through the Common Agricultural Policy, and protection of over £350 million funding for public forests, National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty over the Spending Review period.