Delay in Decision about Future of Little Stoke parkrun?

There has been a phenomenal show of support for the Little Stoke Parkrun over the last few weeks.  Bradley Stoke & Little Stoke Gifford Matters have been copied in on many letters sent to the Stoke Gifford Parish Council supporting the volunteer-run Parkrun at Little Stoke Park every Saturday morning, many commenting on how the weekly 5k run has changed their lives and on the fabulous community feel to the whole event.  The petition set up to support the park run at Little Stoke Park has now gained over 7,000 signatures –
https://www.change.org/p/stoke-gifford-parish-council-keep-little-stoke-parkrun-in-little-stoke-park

Following the press release issued by Stoke Gifford Parish Council (see below), which delays the decision from 9th February to 12th April, the Little Stoke Parkrun team are again asking for local support:

“We urge the Parish Council not to delay a decision on the future of the 5k parkrun that takes place in Little Stoke Park each Saturday morning.  

The Parish Council made it clear that, as the leaseholders at Little Stoke Park, the ultimate decision on the future of Little Stoke parkrun is theirs. A meeting of the full Parish Council in October voted to defer a final decision for six months, at which time parkrun offered to work with the Parish Council to identify initiatives to secure funding that would not amount to a charge for parkrun participants.

Despite repeated requests from parkrun following the October meeting, the Parish Council failed to engage in any form of discussion until 8th January. On 12th January the organisers of Little Stoke parkrun were informed that a final decision would be made at the full Parish Council meeting on 9th February.

However, in the latest press release the Parish Council announced it would delay the decision once more, this time until April.

Co-Event Director at Little Stoke parkrun Becky Bushnell said:

“One of the founding principles of all 800 parkruns worldwide is that they are free to take part in. Imposing a charge on participants would be a barrier to participation and set a precedent that we will not allow. Furthermore we believe that the health and social benefits of a weekly community run that is delivered by local volunteers far outweigh the cost of any park maintenance.

“We are frustrated that three months were lost that could have been used for working with the Parish Council to find a solution. Delaying the decision by a further two months is unfair and will only add to the uncertainty of our runners and volunteers who have been in limbo for the past four months.

“We remain committed to working with the Parish Council to find a resolution and have invited them to meet with us prior to next week’s meeting.”

The organisers of Little Stoke parkrun are not in a position to apply for a grant for park maintenance as this would amount to a charge on participation. However Little Stoke parkrun have offered to assist the Parish Council in making such an application.

Our petition on Change.org calling on the Parish Council to allow the event to continue in Little Stoke Park has attracted more than 7,200 signatures.

Little Stoke Park also hosts a weekly 2k junior parkrun on Sunday mornings for 4-14 year-olds. The local parkrun community is concerned that this event may also be threatened if the Saturday 5k event is forced to close.

Thanks to everyone who has shown their support to date. We very much appreciate it.

The Little Stoke parkrun team “

Statement from Stoke Gifford Parish website:

Little Stoke Parkrun : At the Parish Council meeting in October 2015 the discussion concerning our continued support for parkrun was deferred for a period of 6 months, in order for full negociations to take place. 

That period has not yet expired and the Parish Councillors have always indicated their preference for the run to continue.  The Parish Council have requested South Gloucestershire Council who are the land owners to assist with talks with parkrun on our behalf.  A decision regarding the future of parkrun at Little Stoke Park will be made at the Full Council meeting on Tuesday, 12th April 2016 7pm at the Little Stoke Community Hall.

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