Today at Clifton Country Park, volunteer rangers, members of Salford City UNISON and park users staged a show of support for the Salford Rangers Team, which Salford Council seems determined to decimate.
The Council intends to cut three of its Rangers Team, leaving just two staff to cope with all of Salford's green spaces, apart from two new posts to only look after areas around MediaCityUK, Salford University and Manchester City Centre (see previous Salford Star article click here).
Banners and placards reading Save Our Green Spaces and Save Our Rangers were on show as the Park's users happily signed a petition calling on Salford Council to stop the green job cuts.
At the event, Alan Prodgers, a volunteer ranger who's been working with the Salford Rangers Team for around six years at Blackleach Country Park and at Clifton, criticised Salford Council for shifting resources from Salford's traditional green spaces to the Irwell River Park, which runs alongside prestige sites…
"It's alright them creating two new posts in Salford Quays but that's not the green spaces we want to protect, which are green spaces like this" he said "Salford's seen as the `dirty old town' but actually we've got loads of green spaces that we need to protect. And we won't protect them by having the cuts that are being proposed."
Paul Harris, another volunteer ranger explained that if Salford Council thinks the volunteers are going to fill in for the redundant rangers it's wrong…
"When we had our recent volunteer forum meeting we discussed this, and we're not here to take the place of the paid rangers, that is completely understood, we have a consensus about that" he said "We can't operate without the paid rangers. We need them to lead us, we need their skills and advice and, of course, there are health and safety and insurance issues there as well. We want to work together with them and not have them taken away from us. It's vital to keep this service going, we'll be pushing for full protection for these posts, and, again, call on the Council to think again."
Park user Jean Parnell, argued that once the rangers are axed the city's green spaces will not be safe.
"I think Salford has been great and they've done so much to improve the parks and to improve the safety there, to prevent vandalism" she said "I think if the rangers posts go it will be a backward step. I think it's a false economy cutting the rangers because of the fly tipping and vandalism. Safety will decrease rapidly as the rangers go, so I think they should keep the rangers and keep green spaces safe."
This coming Thursday 18th April, Gena Merrett, Assistant Mayor for the Environment, has an open briefing at Salford Civic Centre at 11:30am, and campaigners are intending to be there and hand over all the petitions in support of the Salford Rangers Team. Everyone is welcome to attend as it's an open meeting.