Annual Conference 2023 – Recordings and Presentations

Thursday 16 November 2023. 9.30am – 3.30pm

The Chester House Estate,  Little Irchester, Wellingborough.

Access, inclusion and safety in parks:

A path to a greener future


Access to the outdoors and nature-based experiences should be available to everyone, regardless of age, ability and circumstance.

Location, socio-cultural factors, physical barriers, personal safety, communication, design and engagement are all critical factors in creating inclusive spaces, but when absent, the outdoors can amplify existing barriers of safety and discrimination, resulting in a ‘barricade of barriers.’

Midlands Parks Forum’s 2023 conference brought together speakers, delegates, government and agencies to share national, research-informed guidance exploring how parks can be safe and welcoming spaces for all. 

As well as hearing amazing presentations, delegates also selected from six afternoon workshops to identify practical methods of applying best practice to their own green space. 

Presentation and Workshop Contributors


Sunita Welch, Principal Advisor: Inclusion, Natural England

Amanda Craig, Director– People & Nature, Natural England


Presentation:  Connecting People with Nature

Dr Anna Barker, Associate Professor in Criminal Justice & Criminology, University of Leeds

Presentation:  Safer Parks – Improving Access for Women and Girls

Debbie North, NPQH, Disability and Access Ambassador for the Countryside


Presentation:  Creating a Countryside for All – Making the Inaccessible Accessible

Helen Griffiths, FRSA, Chief Executive, Fields in Trust


How Green Is My Neighbourhood? Analysing the inequities of access to green space


Imogen Clark, Founder & Trustee, Make Space for Girls

Presentation:  Why we need spaces for teenage girls and how to make them

Dr Saira Ali, Landscape Architect, Team Leader Landscape Design and Conservation at Bradford City Council

(please note that due to unfoseen circumstances, Saira could not attend, and part of her presentation was given in her absence)

Presentation: How our green spaces can help break down public health inequalities

Host – Christopher Worman, MBE, Midlands Parks Forum Ambassador and Parks and Green Spaces Manager – South Derbyshire


Download your delegate pack via the orange link above

Thank you to sponsors of the Midlands Parks Forum 2023 Conference.

Headline Sponsor: Sutcliffe Play – See Sutcliffe Play’s video below

Sponsors:  Info Point and LANTRA

Welcome to Midlands Parks Forum 2023 Conference – Liz Stuffins, Chairperson

Welcome to The Chester House Estate – Jack Pishhorn, Head of Culture, Tourism and Heritage, North Northamptonshire Council.


Dr Sunita Welch and Amanda Craig, Natural England

Natural England Presentation

Helen Griffiths, Fields in Trust – How Green is my neighbourhood?

Presentation Slides Fields in Trust

Dr Saira Ali – How our green spaces can help break down public health inequalities

Presentation Slides – Saira Ali

Lucy Hawes – North Northamptonshire Council provided a short presentation in the absence of Saira Ali

Dr Anna Barker, University of Leeds – Improving Access for Women and Girls

Presentation Slides: Dr Anna Barker, University of Leeds

Susannah Walker, Make Space for Girls

Make Space for Girls Presentation

Afternoon Workshops

Looking at Parks Like Teenage Girls – Make Space for Girls

3. Midlands Parks Forum resources


To support further learning around this topic, Midlands Parks Forum have gathered a wide range of access, inclusion and safety resources from a variety of sources which you may find useful for further reading. Many thanks to The University of Sheffield for sharing their video

Alone Together – The Social Life of Benches – Made by Esther Johnson

Alone Together

Benches for Everyone, Solitude in Public, Sociability for Free – The Bench Project, The Young Foundation, Radhika Bynon & Clare Rishbeth