I’VE heard from many friends throughout this pandemic who have a new found love for their area, whilst in lockdown they have taken up walking or other forms of exercise that takes them out and about exploring different parts of their neighbourhood, but not only that, they’ve found comfort in a regular visit to their local park – whether to get those steps up, meet with others in a safe and socially distant manner or simply to get away from their living room that is now their office.

With Glasgow set for record high temperatures in the coming days, and hoping that days become weeks of good weather, we are officially entering summer. As restrictions lift for what we hope will be the final time, we can only presume that our parks will continue to be well used and bustling.

Our city proudly boasts having more than 90 parks and public gardens, with people from across the world coming to visit them in more normal times, but it’s clear that despite the increase in usage over lockdown, all is not perfect in our Dear Green Place.

It’s no secret that the year-on-year cuts passed down from the SNP government are taking a toll on every part of our city and every section of service delivery within the council. Last year we saw the devastating impact a change of funding had on third sector organisations – councillors are continuing to be contacted about the impact that a move to three weekly bins is having on their local environment and there is the ongoing battle to save our Glasgow Life facilities. All of this implemented in the middle of a pandemic with no thought on the long-term effect this will have.

But those who maintain our major green spaces have taken a hit too in recent years: frontline staff numbers are down, positions go unfilled, and cuts to the previously very successful apprenticeship scheme which gave an opportunity to many young Glaswegians and provided them with a path into employment has been decimated. All of this is having an impact on our city.

It’s clear we need a long-term strategy for Glasgow’s parks. One which not only looks to maintain them in their current form but sees them as a key part of our city’s fight to tackle climate change, creating liveable neighbourhoods and one which can play a role in Glasgow’s recovery from this pandemic.

Too often this council administration’s solution to problems within our parks and greenspaces has been reactionary. Sticking plaster solutions without actually getting to the root cause. That can’t go on.

We need a real solution that listens to workers about the issues they are finding on the ground, commitments to putting the resources in place to support their work and also engagement with communities. We know there are great examples of collaborative working, whether it’s organisations and businesses stepping up to provide funding for upgrades to play parks, or the brilliant initiatives coming through from “friends of” groups, such as community litter picks and the establishment of interactive projects to engage local people to make the most of their green spaces, but they need a city council willing to give more than just warm words, but real resource and funding.