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henage

Park Run

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Probably best ignore the parkruns that ask its participants to pay a voluntary fee towards the upkeep of the places they run over ...  there's clearly no solution that they could have tried with Stoke Gifford Council.

Asking for contributions is one thing; saying you can't use a park for a specific purpose without a payment over and above your council tax payment is quite another.  If councils are going to charge runners then they will need to start charging dog walkers, especially when they leave gifts behind on the pavements.

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When I was a rugby league coach the club I coached with didn't have to pay anything extra for children to train on the council pitches.

 

 

That was for football under the parish council in question.  

 

Do they charge all those bootcamp people I wonder?

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I saw the "objectors".  Aggressiv , finger pointing bunch, the lot of them,  A calmer, more reasoned interview this morning, where the Council chairman was allowed to actually speak without being shouted down by the mob was spoiled somewhat by a technical hitch. 

 

So what has parkrun UK done to resolve things. Let me guess.....

Ah.  So all those other protesters we see protesting at stuff are all calm and collected, yes?  No.  Of course people were upset.  That is what protesting is about: being upset at something. 

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That was for football under the parish council in question.  

 

Do they charge all those bootcamp people I wonder?

Ah well, if they are a charging council then it's no surprise they want to charge the parkrunners too.  Pity they didn't set out their stall when the parkrun was initially proposed.  They could have saved 330 people some disappointment.

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Asking for contributions is one thing; saying you can't use a park for a specific purpose without a payment over and above your council tax payment is quite another.  If councils are going to charge runners then they will need to start charging dog walkers, especially when they leave gifts behind on the pavements.

 

The council attempted to open discussions with Parkrun last November it seems.  Parkrun appear to have come back with absolutely nothing.

 

http://www.stokegiffordjournal.co.uk/2015/11/20/cash-strapped-council-levy-charge-popular-parkrun/

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Ah well, if they are a charging council then it's no surprise they want to charge the parkrunners too.  Pity they didn't set out their stall when the parkrun was initially proposed.  They could have saved 330 people some disappointment.

 

St Helens council appear to charge £65 a go for use of its rugby and football pitches.

 

Which councils don't charge people for using football pitches and the like?

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The council attempted to open discussions with Parkrun last November it seems.  Parkrun appear to have come back with absolutely nothing.

 

http://www.stokegiffordjournal.co.uk/2015/11/20/cash-strapped-council-levy-charge-popular-parkrun/

That parkrun has been going for years so my point still applies.  The council should have advised the volunteers that there may be a charge for holding a parkrun at that park.  The volunteers could then have looked elsewhere to hold the parkrun or not bothered at all.

 

It isn't up to Parkrun to 'come back' with something.  The principle of parkrun is that they offer free, inclusive fun runs to the whole community for the purpose of getting fit.  Therefore it has nothing to offer.  It is entirely dependent upon the council not charging.  The sponsors supply the kit and insurance required to run the event which is undertaken entirely by volunteers.

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St Helens council appear to charge £65 a go for use of its rugby and football pitches.

 

Which councils don't charge people for using football pitches and the like?

Well, the club I coached with must have had a special arrangement then because we weren't charged for using the pitches in one of the parks.  Anyone can use them.

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Aye, it's a massive company. I doubt very much it could have operated as it does without becoming a limited company. Here are its details: https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/07289574/filing-history

Nice little earner, that. £330 every week for doing nothing that it wouldn't be doing anyway and there would probably still be litter and dog mess for the runners to avoid.

Why not a charity?

Good for the Council for not giving in to the braying mob. Never negotiate under duress.

Edited by JohnM

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Why not a charity?

Because it isn't a charity. 

 

 

Good for the Council for not giving in to the braying mob. Never negotiate under duress.

Braying mob?!  The council wasn't negotiating with anyone.  They were imposing a charge.  Given that parkrun is a free event then they have killed off the event.  If St Helens Council do the same thing then the parkrun in St Helens will cease to be.

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This is one of those very rare moments when me and the Gruniad agree:

 

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/apr/13/stoke-gifford-parkrun-council-condemned-charge-paula-radcliffe

 

And also on the Guardian website, a piece from a fellow parkrun volunteer (useful for those who aren't familiar with the concept of parkrun):

 

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/the-running-blog/2016/apr/13/why-charging-for-parkrun-is-a-terrible-idea

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Because it isn't a charity. 

 

Braying mob?!  The council wasn't negotiating with anyone.  They were imposing a charge.  Given that parkrun is a free event then they have killed off the event.  If St Helens Council do the same thing then the parkrun in St Helens will cease to be.

 

The council offered various alternatives - up to and including supporting a grant application to meet the cost of park maintenance that they themselves couldn't directly apply for - and Parkrun rejected them all and offered instead only a vague idea of maybe some volunteers might maybe do some tidying up possibly.

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With the tight budgets that councils have to work with nowadays I'm not surprised something like this has happened

They've probably assessed how much the additional maintenance is needed due to this event and passed on the cost to the organisers - probably a reaction to the recent wet winter - 300 or so runners on wet ground will do damage

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I am a Run Director at 2 parkruns, one of which I helped to start. Unless you've been there, you don't understand that it is a unique thing in modern times - a true community event. I have run over a hundred times at 23 events, one of which is in Australia.

 

To start a parkrun you need £6000, 50% of which is provided by parkrun. Councils themselves are the normal providers of the remainder as it gives them a massive tick in the box in terms of health in the community KPIs. After that all running costs (excuse the pun) are met by parkrun. Computer systems, equipment maintenance, insurance etc.

 

The explosive growth of parkrun has lead inevitably to a larger organisation at the top with some people working full-time. This makes the free, community and volunteer led ethos harder to maintain. However parkrun must do this. If they back down once, all park owners will want the same. 400 events, £10K each per year - a lot of money to find if you want to keep it free at the point of use.

 

In the end Little Stoke will lose its run but they will find somewhere else.

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With the tight budgets that councils have to work with nowadays I'm not surprised something like this has happened

They've probably assessed how much the additional maintenance is needed due to this event and passed on the cost to the organisers - probably a reaction to the recent wet winter - 300 or so runners on wet ground will do damage

Yet the council could not say how much damage 300 pairs of trainers for one hour a week does to tarmac (which is what most of the parkruns are run on).  That would be because it was tree roots causing the damage but the council want parkrun to pay for the repairs.  300 pairs of trainers running once or twice over the same patch of tarmac would take decades to damage, if even then.  There are no other maintenance charges as parkrun brings all its own kit, sets up, overseas, takes down and clears up all by itself, all work done by people like me - volunteers. 

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I am a Run Director at 2 parkruns, one of which I helped to start. Unless you've been there, you don't understand that it is a unique thing in modern times - a true community event. I have run over a hundred times at 23 events, one of which is in Australia.

To start a parkrun you need £6000, 50% of which is provided by parkrun. Councils themselves are the normal providers of the remainder as it gives them a massive tick in the box in terms of health in the community KPIs. After that all running costs (excuse the pun) are met by parkrun. Computer systems, equipment maintenance, insurance etc.

The explosive growth of parkrun has lead inevitably to a larger organisation at the top with some people working full-time. This makes the free, community and volunteer led ethos harder to maintain. However parkrun must do this. If they back down once, all park owners will want the same. 400 events, £10K each per year - a lot of money to find if you want to keep it free at the point of use.

In the end Little Stoke will lose its run but they will find somewhere else.

I don't follow the bit about 6k. Who pays it, to who, how often and what for?

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I am a Run Director at 2 parkruns, one of which I helped to start. Unless you've been there, you don't understand that it is a unique thing in modern times - a true community event. I have run over a hundred times at 23 events, one of which is in Australia.

 

To start a parkrun you need £6000, 50% of which is provided by parkrun. Councils themselves are the normal providers of the remainder as it gives them a massive tick in the box in terms of health in the community KPIs. After that all running costs (excuse the pun) are met by parkrun. Computer systems, equipment maintenance, insurance etc.

 

The explosive growth of parkrun has lead inevitably to a larger organisation at the top with some people working full-time. This makes the free, community and volunteer led ethos harder to maintain. However parkrun must do this. If they back down once, all park owners will want the same. 400 events, £10K each per year - a lot of money to find if you want to keep it free at the point of use.

 

In the end Little Stoke will lose its run but they will find somewhere else.

Exactly.

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I don't follow the bit about 6k. Who pays it, to who, how often and what for?

 

It's a one-off start-up charge to pay for the equipment, increased insurance, additional IT infrastructure and presumably it is also used to cover ongoing and future costs. £3K comes from parkrun themselves (from its sponsors or however else it raises it) and £3K has to be found from elsewhere - usually a council - and this goes to parkrun.

 

Our council found it almost immediately and it was ensuring that all start-up conditions were met (safety, contractual stuff, volunteer training etc.) that took the most time. I believe it was a higher council that provided the original funding for Little Stoke, not the parish council.

 

A lot of parks get money back from charging for car parking and from their cafe (which is usually packed after the event) but Little Stoke has neither of these.

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Chief Operating Officer for parkrun Tom Williams said:

"We are extremely disappointed that Stoke Gifford Parish Council has voted to impose a charge at Little Stoke parkrun.

“parkrun has had unprecedented success in engaging the least active and encouraging them to exercise regularly. Providing free weekly access has been fundamental to this and we are disappointed that this opportunity is to be removed for the residents of Little Stoke.

"Our aim is to break down barriers to participation in, and delivery of, physical activity and this is consistent across 850 parkruns worldwide, which are all delivered by volunteers and are free to take part in. Imposing a charge at one event is something that contradicts our founding principles and would set a precedent that threatens our future.

“As a nation we must make a decision about whether we want to be healthier or not. The costs to all of us of inactivity and poor health are immense. parkrun has had enormous success at bringing communities together and promoting physical activity in safe and welcoming social environments.

"The past six months have been an uncertain and difficult time for everyone involved with Little Stoke parkrun and our entire global community of more than two million parkrunners is behind them as we discuss our next steps.”

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It's a one-off start-up charge to pay for the equipment, increased insurance, additional IT infrastructure and presumably it is also used to cover ongoing and future costs. £3K comes from parkrun themselves (from its sponsors or however else it raises it) and £3K has to be found from elsewhere - usually a council - and this goes to parkrun.

 

Our council found it almost immediately and it was ensuring that all start-up conditions were met (safety, contractual stuff, volunteer training etc.) that took the most time. I believe it was a higher council that provided the original funding for Little Stoke, not the parish council.

 

A lot of parks get money back from charging for car parking and from their cafe (which is usually packed after the event) but Little Stoke has neither of these.

 

Thanks for that. I think Little Stoke did moot trying to set up a stall for refreshments (in their original November discussion) and the flashpoint seems to have been an overrun car park.

 

It could be that this may not have been the best location for a growing parkrun anyway.

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Thanks for that. I think Little Stoke did moot trying to set up a stall for refreshments (in their original November discussion) and the flashpoint seems to have been an overrun car park.

It could be that this may not have been the best location for a growing parkrun anyway.

An overrun car park will have a knock on effect with the locals who I'm sure are very vocal in their complaints

We have that issue all the time at my club - it's hard to fix without money

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It's a one-off start-up charge to pay for the equipment, increased insurance, additional IT infrastructure and presumably it is also used to cover ongoing and future costs. £3K comes from parkrun themselves (from its sponsors or however else it raises it) and £3K has to be found from elsewhere - usually a council - and this goes to parkrun.

 

Our council found it almost immediately and it was ensuring that all start-up conditions were met (safety, contractual stuff, volunteer training etc.) that took the most time. I believe it was a higher council that provided the original funding for Little Stoke, not the parish council.

 

A lot of parks get money back from charging for car parking and from their cafe (which is usually packed after the event) but Little Stoke has neither of these.

 

It would be interesting to see how they would anticipate collecting this charge. Will a council employee be required to attend with a collection pot for runners to pay. How will they differentiate between casual runners in the park and those who are there for the Parkrun?

 

I assume many of the runners are locals who already pay council tax and are therefore contributing to the upkeep of the park. Asking them to pay again is a bit much.

 

The parkruns that I took part in had runners from all over the country and some from around the world and were great events. Really hope they can sort something out so that this can still keep happening.

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The council offered various alternatives - up to and including supporting a grant application to meet the cost of park maintenance that they themselves couldn't directly apply for - and Parkrun rejected them all and offered instead only a vague idea of maybe some volunteers might maybe do some tidying up possibly.

 

The parish council has changed its story at least half a dozen times over the past 6-9 months, the misinformation about the grant application being one example. I don't understand why they can't just be blunt and say that they don't want 300 people running round their park on Saturday morning instead of this moving target of spurious requests. I think the district council (who put up most of the initial money for the event) could have been a bit more proactive in sorting it out. The district council (who own the land and lease it to the parish, I believe) has a policy of not charging for parking. Can't really see any option but to stop the parkrun and for the volunteers to look for another venue.

 

The country park that we run in was sold by the council to a charity for £1 a few years back and so has to entirely fund itself. The largest source of income is now car parking fees paid by parkrunners, which have helped fund quite a few improvements. The park cafe also gets most of its takings from parkrun runners, but is contracted out by the charity, so doesn't directly fund the park.

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The sponsors want nothing - and you should ignore parkrun's paid employees and deliberately lo-fi website and its direct ask for public 'donations' (despite being a private company, not a charity).

 

To be accurate, it's a "not-for-profit" company, limited by membership, rather than with shareholders. Paul Sinton-Hewitt who set the whole thing up could have been rather rich I suspect, rather than just having a CBE to polish if he'd been interested in money. Very different from events like London Marathon, Great North Run etc. which make large sums for those behind them. 

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I have every sympathy with the runners....my little boy..well, 47 year old 6 ft 2 inch 17 stone little boy takes grand daughter #3 to local parkruns in Cheshire.

However, its parkrun that seems to be suggesting that runners be charged. That is surely a decision that parkrun have made in a fit of dummy throwing.

No answer yet as to why parkrun UK isn't a charity. If it's good enough for RSPB, RNLI etc......

It seems to me to be reasonable for the democratically elected parish councillors to make such a decision without having to put up with the sort of abuse meted out by all those finger pointing frothy mouthed protesters. Don't like it? Run somewhere else!

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