parkrun for Wandsworth
parkrun for Wandsworth
The current policy of Wandsworth Borough Council (WBC) is to require a fee in order for parkrun to use the boroughs parks and commons. WBC Cabinet Member for Community Services:
“ … the current offer to Parkrun is: Weekly runs capped at a max of 100 participants. Fee of £624 + VAT – this will be an annual fee”
The ethos of parkrun is that it is free to participate, volunteer-led and community based. Every Saturday over 49,000 people participate on this basis in over 270 parkrun events across the UK. junior parkrun is currently being rolled out rapidly across the country for 14’s and under.
It appears few councillors are aware that the application of borough policy has this particular consequence. Therefore, the goal of this petition is two-fold:
1. To bring this issue to wider attention, including and in particular to the councillors of WBC, and
2. To demonstrate wide community support for parkrun in Wandsworth: the more who sign this petition, the more likely it will gain WBC’s attention
In an era of the obesity epidemic, and of advice from the Government, the NHS and the BMA to exercise regularly, WBC is denying not only its electorate the opportunity to participate in free, organised activity in their own open spaces, but also the children of the borough. Again: in their own parks. WBC do this not because of the cost – wear and tear is minimal – but because they cannot raise revenue from the activity. Unlike charities, parkrun does not even fundraise. The impasse between WBC and parkrun has persisted for 5 ½ years.
If it makes no sense to WBC on any other level other than financial, the current policy is a false economy; according to official statistics, regular exercise contributes to mental and physical wellbeing and reduces the burden on both local social services and the NHS.
Please also consider Chrissie Wellington's account of the celebration this week in Parliament of parkrun.
parkrun is free, it enriches the lives of local people, it grows innumerable community ties and it contributes in the fight against both adult and child obesity: We call on WBC to come to its senses and end this short-sighted and unconscionable application of policy.
In harmony with the ethos of parkrun, we are very keen for this campaign to be seen as local, grassroots and community-led. While all support is welcome those who will influence the politicians positively will be borough residents, South London parkrunners and volunteers, and people with a strong association with Wandsworth borough. Thanks.