£1.5m fund to ‘rethink’ parks

Parks across the country are set to benefit from £1.5m of funding and support by Nesta, the Big Lottery Fund (BLF) and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The grants – ranging from £145,000- £200,000 – will assist eight projects that support new ways of running parks including parks foundations, nurturing friends groups and generating income through renewables.

Nesta says the projects that have been awarded funding have all demonstrated ‘excellent potential’ for changing the way that public space is used and managed, and put communities at the heart of ideas to make parks more sustainable and vibrant.

The eight projects are:

  • Bristol & Bath Parks Foundation by Bristol City Council and Bath & North East Somerset Council (£193,617 )
  • Leeds Parks Fund: Charitable Giving to Parks by Leeds City Council (£171,289)
  • Redcar and Cleveland Borough Foundation by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council (£194,375)
  • Powering Parks by 10:10 Climate Action ( £170,480)
  • Reimagining Par Track: Run Ride Relax Repeat by Par Track (£200,000)
  • Lordship Rec Community Empowerment and Co-Management Model by the Friends of Lordship Rec (£145,278)
  • Walsall Connecting Green spaces by Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council (£199,836)
  • Performing Parks – Transforming Local Open Spaces by the Friends of Hardie Park (£184,155)

Alice Casey, head of new operating models at Nesta said: ‘Our aim is to help parks innovate to ensure they can sustain and develop as free, open and truly valued community spaces for the future. Parks are wonderful, free public resources, that communities treasure; particularly in urban environments. They support activity, health and wellbeing, as well as play, socialising and connection to nature.

‘Rethinking Parks will demonstrate ways to ensure that our parks will continue to be protected and loved by communities everywhere for generations to come.’

Gemma Bull, portfolio development director at the Big Lottery Fund added: ‘Thanks to National Lottery players these eight valued community spaces can build on pioneering ideas that have been proven to help parks to thrive in other areas.

‘We are delighted that this funding will bring together people and organisations to secure the future of these parks and keep them at the heart of their communities.’

According to new research published by Natural England, visits to city parks and green spaces in England went up by 25% in 2016 compared to 2010.

Thomas Barrett

Thomas Barrett

Journalist. Follow him on Twitter

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