This briefing provides an overview of the Sunderland Green & Open Spaces Forum (SGOSF) including its role and function, how it works, who can become a member, funding, where to find more information.

What is SGOSF?

The Forum has two functions:

Nurturing co-operation and collaboration between open space groups covering landscape, waterways and coast to enable networking and sharing of learning. This is to help capacity and capability to enable groups to play a more active part in shaping the day to day management of those open spaces.

Collectively working with landowners to influence the vision for land use planning eg via the emerging Core Strategy and Development Plan and any Green and Open Spaces Strategy or Allotment Management policy.
Why a Forum?
It was launched after research with 25 blue, green and open space groups eg Friends of parks, allotment associations. This showed that many smaller voluntary groups faced isolation and frustration in how best to utilise a volunteer resource for the benefit a local green /blue space. The value of a network was supported. This will enable the sharing of practice, exchange ideas on what works well or not so well, helping to overcome barriers to greater engagement

When was it launched?

It was launched in April 2019 after two years in shadow format.

How it works?

The Forum hold quarterly meetings rotating to different venues across the city. Meetings are structured to allow a speaker with time for questions and an ‘open’ session providing an opportunity for individuals to share current or upcoming work, discuss issues or share problems.
Past meetings have involved Sharon Lashley, Climate Action North East, Pollinator Parks project, Paul Stephens presented on Environmental Records Information Centre’s work, Clive Greenwood, SCC, green infrastructure plan, Kirstie Hutchinson, Wear Rivers Trust, From Source to Sea.

Who can become a member?

Any group working on blue or green and open spaces issues. Individuals, not currently involved in a group but seeking to influence how spaces could be used differently, can approach the Forum for advice, guidance and support.

Who is currently involved?

Those involved currently include half a dozen Friends of Parks group, an allotment association, community gardens, Council for the Protection of Rural England, Wear Rivers Trust, Groundwork, Durham Wildlife Trust, Tunstall Hills Protection Group, Carbon Action North East.


In August 2019, The Forum was awarded £5,900 from the National Lottery Community Fund. This will fund capacity building measures such as producing posters, leaflets and a banner, meeting room hire, revamping the website, enabling training events to be held and purchasing a lap top and projector that can be loaned to groups.

National links

SGOSF is a member of the National Federation of Parks & Green Spaces. Since affiliating the Forum has attended Federation general meetings as well as two Community Empowerment conferences in Doncaster and Newcastle.

Where to find more information

This website:
Face book: “search for Sunderland Green and Open Spaces Forum”
Twitter: – @sgosf1