Applications now open for new grants

Big Lottery Fund pledges a further £20 million for parks and cemeteries
Big Lottery Fund pledges a further £20 million for parks and cemeteries

The Big Lottery Fund has announced that it will make another £20 million funding available to public parks and cemetries in England – a £10 million investment in 2016/17 and £10 million in 2017/18.

This will be added to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)’s existing annual £20 million Parks for People programme, which provides grants to restore and rejuvenate historic parks and cemeteries, making a total of £30 million available per annum. HLF will also continue to make an additional £4 million available for projects in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Applications for the next round of Parks for People funding are open now until the 29 February 2016; the first grants from this new investment will be awarded in June 2016.

Peter Ainsworth, chair of the Big Lottery Fund, said: ‘Green spaces are vital to the happiness and health of our communities, so we’re really pleased to be continuing our support for the Parks for People programme. In partnership with HLF, we’ve invested almost £290 million since 2006 in rejuvenating our parks to help make sure they can be enjoyed now and for years to come.’

The Lottery grants have allowed more than 126 historic green spaces to be revived. These include the £4.7 million restoration of Walsall Arboretum, a Victorian park which includes a Grade II-listed boathouse, two lakes, bandstand and the clock tower; a £3.9 million restoration of Lloyd Park, Walthamstow, London, with the addition of new community facilities such as a skate park; £2.2 million towards the restoration of Brighton’s The Level playground, cafe and skatepark; and a £4.3 million transformation of 47ha Stewart Park, Middlesborough, birthplace of Captain Cook.

Earlier this year, seven parks won a total of £20.6 million HLF and Big Lottery Fund grants, as reported here. And in the summer another £34 million funding was announced to rejuvenate what were described as ‘some of the UK’s most precious, yet tired green spaces’, reported here.

The additional funding is welcomed following last year’s HLF report State of UK Public Parks 2014: Renaissance to Risk, which found that parks need new ways of funding and maintaining them to avoid serious decline.

Sir Peter Luff, chair of HLF, said: ‘Parks are rightly among the UK’s most highly valued and well-used public spaces and inspire much local pride. There is increasing demand on National Lottery players’ money but I’m sure they will welcome the continuation of this productive partnership with the Big Lottery Fund. Our Parks for People programme plays a major part in ensuring these precious green sanctuaries thrive. I hope even more communities across the UK will come forward to bid for a share of this funding.’

The HLF is due to publish an update of its report next summer. Find out how to apply for a Parks for People grant here.


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