The Parks Trust Annual Public meeting attended by over 100 people

    26 July 2019

    The Parks Trust, the self-financing charity that manages and maintains over 6,000 acres of Milton Keynes’ green space, last week held its Annual Public Meeting where it published its Annual Report and Financial Statements for 2018/19.

    The financial statements for the charity show the continued good performance of their investments. In 2018/19 The Parks Trust had an operating surplus of £194,000. Their commercial property portfolio increased in value by just over £1 million and other investments also increased in value by just over £1 million, so they finished the financial year with investments worth £143.6 million.

    It is from these investments that The Trust generates the bulk of their income to pay for the work they carry out. With the Charity being entirely self-financing, the financial strategy is to grow the asset base to an extent where it can be considered to be financially sustainable for the long term. David Foster the Chief Executive explained to the meeting that this means the Trust needs to be able to withstand future financial crises such as that in 2008 and other set backs that will almost certainly come along. One such setback will be the rapidly spreading ash dieback disease which will require the Trust to dismantle and fell thousands of ash trees across the city in the next few years.

    The Parks Trust’s annual public meeting was held at Campbell Park Pavilion, the Trust’s head office, and attended by around 100 people. The meeting gave residents and stakeholders the opportunity to find out about what The Parks Trust does as a charity, while giving them a platform to feedback and ask any questions they may have.

    Other presentations during the meeting were made Julia Upton, the High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire, Zoe Raven, Vice Chair of Trustees and Philip Bowsher, Head of Environment and Volunteering. The presenters reflected on the achievements of the last year and also spoke about the importance of community, volunteering, and environmental impact.

    David Foster commented: “We were pleased to see our Annual Public Meeting so well attended.  It is important to us that we are open and accountable in all that we do, and we welcome this annual opportunity to talk to the many groups and communities that use the parks.  We were particularly pleased to see so many Parish councils represented at the meeting as we would like to cement our relationships with them across the city.

    “We had some interesting questions this year on topics including whether feeding red kites was something to be encouraged, the felling of willows planted for cricket bats in the Ouse Valley, if The Parks Trust are in talks with the council in regards to taking on more land from them, have we reached peak tree and whether we will be planting more fruit trees? Plus, whether we are working with the Canal and Rivers Trust to enhance facilities on the canals. A topic that was widely discussed in the meeting was climate change. The Trust recognised that the world is facing a climate emergency, outlined some of the things it is already doing to mitigate climate change and announced that it will be working with the Carbon Trust to further develop an action plan to help to contribute to the council declaration that Milton Keynes should be carbon neutral by 2030.

    A selection of the questions asked at the meeting can be found here.

    You can download a copy of our annual report here.

    Watch the video of this year's Annual Public Meeting via our YouTube channel.