This evening members of the Little Stoke parkrun team and parkrun Ambassador Geoff Keogh attended the Stoke Gifford Parish Council meeting in order to read the following statement during the public session:
"I'm Becky Bushnell and I'd like to make a short statement on behalf of Little Stoke parkrun.
We're here today because we were assured on 8th January and again at the Full Council meeting on 12th January that a final decision on the future of Little Stoke parkrun would be taken at this meeting. In the last two weeks, and without consultation with parkrun, we've been told that the Council either cannot or will not make a decision until its meeting on 12th April.
We're disappointed by this delay, which creates a further period of uncertainty and is not in the interests of either parkrun or the Council.
We believe there is considerable scope for working in partnership with the Council to build on the success of parkrun in promoting physical activity, opportunities for volunteer involvement, family participation in sport, and community building in the area. We remain keen to discuss these ideas but, despite numerous requests, have only been granted one informal meeting in the last 4 months.
Meanwhile the Council continues to insist (as recently as yesterday) that we should contribute financially to park maintenance through grant or other funding. We've made it clear from the outset that this is the one thing we cannot do. Unfortunately if this remains the Council's requirement, there is simply no basis for further discussion.
parkrun makes no call on community resources other than permission to use the park (although the provision of storage space is helpful and much appreciated). The event is delivered entirely by volunteers and supported indefinitely by parkrun UK from the start-up funds provided by South Gloucestershire Council and parkrun's national sponsors.
We believe that Little Stoke parkrun imposes minimal costs in park maintenance, which are vastly outweighed by the value of volunteer time and the contribution parkrun makes to physical and mental health, fitness, wellbeing, and social cohesion.
We ask the Council to engage urgently in positive discussion or, if it is not able to accept that parkrun cannot pay for park maintenance, to bring this process to an end and move directly to a decision.
Thank you for your attention."
parkrun was not listed as an agenda item for discussion at this evening's meeting but we understand that a member of the Council has been tasked with arranging a meeting between representatives of Stoke Gifford Parish Council and the Little Stoke parkrun core team which we welcome.
The decision about the future of Little Stoke parkrun will be made at the Full Council meeting on Tuesday 12th April 2016.
Thank you for your continued support.
Little Stoke parkrun team