Championing access to green spaces for everyone
By Jayne Manley – Earth Trust CEO
Earlier this month, the important role of Earth Trust in championing access to green spaces for everyone was marked with the return of the annual Rose Ceremony. In a tradition going back several decades, the Chair of Oxfordshire County Council, Susanna Pressel, presented a rose to the Earth Trust as a peppercorn rent for public access to Wittenham Clumps.
Public access to green spaces and the ability to connect communities with the natural world continues to be not just invaluable but critical, as we emerge from the pandemic. Around 1 in 3 of us don’t have access to accessible nature-rich spaces near our homes, with no green space at all in some of the most deprived areas. With Oxfordshire being one of the most rapidly developing counties in the UK, we are positioned at the sharp edge of creating and managing spaces that enable both people and nature to thrive in balance.
This year’s Rose Ceremony event was also a celebration of Earth Trust’s 40th anniversary. It brought together some of our closest supporters to celebrate our shared history and look to the future as we outlined our fresh strategic direction.
To know and be able to demonstrate that we have been providing and championing accessible natural green spaces and running inspiring, award-winning programmes to help people connect with nature and the environment for this length of time, is an immense achievement.
And, it’s an achievement that we would have not reached, if it were not for the support of our volunteers, friends, staff and partners. You have enabled us to get to this point, to reach our 40th anniversary and to be an organisation that is influential – with the drive to be even more influential in future. Together, we are demonstrating the ability of natural green spaces to address the challenges of climate, biodiversity and health. But, we need to be bolder in sharing our learning, to be noisier, to connect more with others, and to be confident in the influence that we can bring about as a result.
Our new strategy is now available on our website and I encourage you to take a look, and share your feedback.
At the heart of our plans for the next five years is building and connecting communities to proactively influence for change. This new strategy is the product of much analysis, horizon scanning and consultation. Throughout the process it became clear that bringing together a community of people with a shared ambition is how we can make real change happen.
Our vision is a society where accessible, engaging green spaces enable nature and people to thrive in balance. We cannot achieve this vision alone. We know that everyone needs access to green spaces across the UK. And, we know we don’t have all the answers. But we need to be working as a community to find the solutions. So, I want to take our bold strategic direction and continue to expand our community, and widen our circle of change-makers. We are moving from a quiet organisation that does great things to an organisation that speaks out, creates new spaces for new, interesting and sometimes difficult conversations.
So, you are making all the difference, you have made all the difference over the last 40 years, and I’m hoping that you will continue to make all the difference in the next 40 years.
Let’s work together to make a different future.