Parks Trust report record attendance at annual public meeting

The Parks Trust, the self-financing charity that looks after more than 6,000 acres of parkland in Milton Keynes, hosted over 230 guests at its Annual Public Meeting last month.

Special guests at the meeting on June 23rd included Debbie Brock, the High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire, Pete Marland, Leader of MK Council, and John Duggan, founding chair of The Parks Trust, the packed agenda included formal thanks to retiring CEO, David Foster, who was recognised for his 19 years of dedicated service to the charity and the city of Milton Keynes.

Incoming CEO, Victoria Miles MBE, expressed her excitement at joining the Trust. She said, “Stewardship of much-loved local assets has been at the core of my work in previous roles and it is an honour to now lead the team that cares for the parks, lakes and landscapes of Milton Keynes.”

Questions were also put to The Trust’s management team which covered topics including sustainability, use of glyphosate, grass cutting and litter management.

David Foster provided his last report on the financial year 2021-22 with key updates including:

  • The achievement of a Green Flag award for the fifth consecutive year
  • 98% satisfaction rating in the Trust’s public opinion survey
  • 560 education sessions delivered
  • 1,700 events organised or supported, and attended by almost 100,000 people
  • Over 6,000 hours committed by volunteers
  • An increase in net assets value to £150m, including £2.4m in new endowments
  • Total investment income of £9.4m for the year and a record annual spend on charitable activities of £14.8m
  • Appointment of a new Sustainability Manager to support the Trust’s ambition to achieve net zero
  • Creation of a new in-house cleansing team to tackle the growing litter problem
  • Planting of 35,000 new trees and shrubs including a number which form part of the Queen’s Green Canopy
  • Completion of phase two of the Willen Lake development
  • Progress against the rejuvenation of Great Linford Manor Park, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund

The meeting ended with a preview of the charity’s first ever TV commercial which will go live across the MK region from today.

Commenting on why the time was right for the advertising campaign, Hannah Bodley, Head of Marketing, Events and Community Engagement said, “Our wide-ranging work is entirely funded by income we have to generate ourselves and touches the lives of every resident in the city. However, many people still don’t realise that it’s a charity caring for their green spaces, delivering outdoor learning to their schools and bringing the community together at over 500 events a year.  Local TV advertising is now a more affordable channel and, as we enter our 30th birthday year, it offers a great way to increase awareness of the Trust.”

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