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‘The most rewarding job I have done’: The Parks Trust CEO announces his retirement

DAVID Foster, who has headed The Parks Trust in Milton Keynes for the past 19 years, is to retire this summer.

Mr Foster has been chief executive of the organisation which manages and maintains more than 6,000 acres of parkland and greenspace in Milton Keynes since taking over from the trust’s inaugural CEO Brian Salter.

David Foster, who is retiring as CEO of The Parks Trust in Milton Keynes.

His successor is Victoria Miles, who is leaving her post as chief executive of Northamptonshire Community Foundation after 15 years.

The Parks Trust has grown significantly both in terms of what it does, the scale of parks and landscapes and financially. Its endowment fund, which generates most of its income, is now valued at £129 million and includes a national property portfolio valued at £89 million.

Mr Foster said: “I have been immensely privileged to work for The Parks Trust and have had 19 wonderful years in Milton Keynes.  I have worked with some great people both on the board of the trust, in the staff team, our volunteers and the Trust’s partners.”

The Parks Trust has pioneered new ways of managing public open space, going against the national trend of a steady decline in investment in public parks. A survey of residents in Milton Keynes last year showed that 94% think it does a good job and 97% consider the parks are well maintained.

Mr Foster has also played a huge part in the community of Milton Keynes and his entrepreneurial approach has enabled The Parks Trust to fund hundreds of free events and community activities each year as well as an outdoor learning programme which has delivered subsidised environmental education sessions for youngsters and adults.

“When I took over the reins in 2003, Brian Salter had given the trust the best possible start in life and I am pleased to have been able to keep the organisation moving forward,” Mr Foster said.

“The job has been the most rewarding that I have done because every day I am reminded that the people of Milton Keynes really value their parks and the job the trust does on their behalf. I am proud to be leaving the Trust in a strong financial position and I know it is in good hands with a very competent and well-balanced board and fantastic staff team.”

His successor Victoria Miles will take over when Mr Foster steps down in June. Currently chief executive of Northamptonshire Community Foundation, she received a MBE in the New Year’s Honours List in recognition for services to the community in Northamptonshire during Covid-19.

Victoria Miles, who will replace David Foster as The Parks Trust’s chief executive in the summer. She is returning to Milton Keynes, having been director of marketing and fund development at Milton Keynes Community Foundation between 2003 and 2007.

“I am so very thrilled and honoured to be the next chief executive at The Parks Trust,” Ms Miles said. “It is a hugely respected and well managed organisation and has grown substantially under David’s leadership.  As its next custodian I am looking forward to continuing that growth and protecting and securing future parks, lakes and landscapes for the people of Milton Keynes.                                                                 

The Parks Trust’s chair Zoe Raven said: “David has been a superb chief executive over the last 19 years and it has been a privilege to benefit from his inspirational and highly effective leadership. He has grown the Trust into a financially and environmentally sustainable organisation, encouraged creativity and has developed a highly skilled and dedicated team of colleagues.

“We will be very sad to say goodbye to him in the summer but we also look forward to giving a warm welcome to Victoria, our incoming chief executive, and to supporting the trust’s continuing development.”

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