New guide on managing Scotland's parks safely during the coronavirus pandemic

greenspace scotland and The National Lottery Heritage Fund have launched a new guide today to help local authorities and other greenspace managers manage parks, gardens and greenspaces safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

Managing Scotland’s parks and greenspaces during covid-19  brings together the latest guidance from Scottish Government and advice from Public Health Scotland, sportscotland, VisitScotland and a range of other organisations.

The guide was produced with input and support from: The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Park Managers Forum and greenspace practitioners, the Association for Public Service Excellence, Public Health Scotland and the Scottish Health and Inequalities Impact Assessment Network.

Caroline Clark, Director of Scotland, The National Lottery Heritage Fund said:

“Our parks and greenspaces were a lifeline for many during lockdown, particularly for people without access to a garden. As lockdown restrictions gradually ease and we move through Scotland’s Route Map, parks and greenspace teams are working hard to maintain and keep greenspaces open safely. We know it can be hard to keep up with the official guidance and best practice. Thanks to National Lottery funding, this guide brings it all together. It will assist greenspace managers as they make decisions about how to help communities and visitors enjoy parks safely.”

Managers of greenspaces have to consider a wide range of challenges, including managing and re-opening facilities such as children’s play areas, multi-use games areas, public toilets, cafes, tennis courts and car parks.

The new guide includes the latest guidance on managing physical distancing, visitor numbers, volunteers and site infrastructure. It also provides advice and practical examples of temporary interventions for adapting and managing greenspaces. The guide will help park and greenspace managers ensure that their teams, volunteers, communities and visitors are safe, and that government standards and customer expectations are met.

Julie Procter, Chief Executive, greenspace scotland said:

“As we continue to need to use physical distancing, parks and greenspaces could become our safe open-air spaces where we can meet friends and family. At greenspace scotland, we’ve always talked about parks and greenspaces as our natural health service, our children’s outdoor classrooms, our community and leisure centres without a roof. Now more than ever, we all need easy access to good quality local greenspaces.”

The guide includes a section on Safer outdoors – using our spaces more which starts to explore the wider uses of parks and greenspaces to support education, healthcare and community activity.

Dr Matt Lowther, Head of Place and Equity, Public Health Scotland

“Lockdown and COVID-19 restrictions have led many of us to reconsider the importance of place in our lives. Our Social & Systems Recovery Environment and Spaces Group is working to understand how the pandemic is affecting our places, how people interact within them and how this impacts upon the health of those communities. As we all emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we should have a greater appreciation of the value of spending time outdoors in greenspace.”

More info and download the guide 


  1. greenspace scotland is Scotland’s parks and greenspace charity. A charitable company and social enterprise, we provide a national lead on greenspace, working towards our goal that everyone living and working in urban Scotland has easy access to quality greenspace which meets local needs and improves quality of life. Working with a wide range of national and local partners through our research, advocacy and pioneer projects, we have been influential in shaping a supportive policy context for greenspace and promoting good practice on greenspace delivery.
    More | @greenspacescot on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

  2. greenspace scotland supports Scotland’s Parks Managers Forum which brings together park managers and officers from all 32 Scottish Councils to share experience and practice. We are grateful for the contributions from members of the Park Managers Forum in preparing this guide.

  3. The National Lottery Heritage Fund uses money raised by the National Lottery, to inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.

    The National Lottery Heritage Fund has been investing in public parks for nearly 25 years helping improve over 900 parks across the UK, and awarding over £57m to parks and greenspace in Scotland through initiatives such as Future Parks Accelerator, Rethinking Parks and ParkPower. The Space to Thrive report, published January 2020, is a rapid evidence review of the benefits parks and green spaces have for people and communities.

    More Follow @HeritageFundUK and @HeritageFundSCO on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram #NationalLotteryHeritageFund
  1. Public Health Scotland is the national agency for improving and protecting the health and wellbeing of the people of Scotland. More | @P_H_S_Official and @Placestandard on Twitter

  2. Managing Scotland’s parks and greenspaces during covid-19 has been developed from advice first prepared by CFP for The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Local Government Association in England, and the Scottish Government’s Safer Public Spaces for Scotland: Urban Centres and Green SpacesIt draws on advice, technical input and experience from park managers and a range of organisations.