Two days into my study tour of New York City hosted by the Parks and Recreation Department and I’m already convinced that we in the UK can learn a lot from the Big Apple.

The key difference I have noticed so far from meeting numerous members of staff, customers, volunteers and managers is the commitment to community engagement. This Department is totally embedded into its community through empowerment, partnership and a management style that creates a unique relationship between City and Citizen. Add to this a political commitment to remove cost as a barrier and a dynamic programme of events and activities to target those communities would most benefit from the wide range of services on offer and you have something special. I’ll be exploring the City’s approach to preventative health, partnerships, funding and volunteering in the next few days.

On Wednesday 14 April, I’ll be meeting with Adrian Benepe – The Parks and Recreation Commissioner to explore a number of strategic issues he is tackling with his team. I’ll be posting case studies and video in the near future following consultation with the City, so please drop by the SLC Website for updates. If you can’t wait – click on the City of New York Parks and Recreation website and enjoy…..