London Borough of Islington

Islington Parks Service has five key objectives – to provide safe & welcoming parks, improve grounds maintenance, provide opportunities for work experience and training, deliver and increase income to offset savings, and engage diverse communities to improve health and wellbeing.
The team’s achievements in the area of safe and welcome parks include:
• 94% customer satisfaction in user surveys in 2016
•Partnership with Park Guard to provide a parks patrol service delivering 12,500 hours of proactive patrols, seven days a week
•Comprehensive programme of safety inspections of parks and playgrounds and rapid repairs 
•£3m in capital improvements delivered via in house landscape team •Deployment of Park Keepers 7 days a week in 9 key parks 
•Delivered 352 events in 2016
•Established a community gate locking scheme 
•Signed up twenty-eight Friends of Parks groups to a friends charter to play an active role in managing their park.

Achievements in the area of grounds maintenance include: 
•London in Bloom Gold and Borough of the Year for the last two years. 
•Continuous training in plant use and horticultural skills to raise standards and create culture of continuous improvement. 
•Planted 70,050 bulbs, 3,924 shrubs/perennials, 15,000 bedding plants and 200 trees. 
•Service level agreements drawn up with 27 groups to carry out the horticultural maintenance of part or entire local park. 
•Gillespie Park Gold and Conservation of the Year in London in Bloom.

Opportunities for work experience and training include: 
•Seven apprenticeship positions
•Over 3,800 hours of volunteering to date this year and over 4,100 last year from •Work experience sessions delivered for people with learning difficulties to support into employment. 

To deliver efficiencies & increase income to offset savings and deliver value for money, the service has: 

•Developed a new Task Management System which will provide real time reporting of works, work programming, safety checks and quality controls.
•Generated £1,016,000 of revenues through sports income, events, extra works and concessions - 20% of the overall budget. 
•Secured external grant funding for improvement schemes 

To engage diverse communities in parks to improve health and wellbeing the team has: 
•Launched projects to reduce isolation such as the over 55's men's gardening group, and a project with the NHS for post-traumatic stress patients.
•Struck partnership with Octopus Communities Network Wild Places project to engage hard to reach groups with nature in their local park.
•Struck partnership with The Garden Classroom to get local schools using parks for outdoor learning.

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