£10million ‘Future Parks Accelerator’ initiative to secure future of urban parks and green spaces

West Lake and Carriage Drive, Victoria Park © LDA Design

The National Lottery funding body, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), and the National Trust have joined forces to find and back ambitious and sustainable solutions to protect and enhance public parks and green spaces.

The Future Parks Accelerator (FPA) is a UK-wide £10 million strategic initiative to enable up to eight local authorities and communities to develop and implement bold and innovative funding and management solutions for all their green spaces across their place, against a challenging backdrop of financial uncertainty.

The scheme is now open for Expressions of Interest. Applications close at 12pm on 19 November 2018.

Find out more and apply.

How will it work?

The FPA will support places to grow the contribution parks make to civic life whilst becoming financially sustainable. It will involve discovering how parks and green spaces could be better used, managed and funded to serve community needs and aspirations now and over the next generation.

With grant funding and support from a team of experts, the places chosen to be FPA pioneers will work as a cohort to catalyse and share innovation, learn rapidly together and build their capacity to lead for ambitious change both in their place and to benefit the rest of the UK.

It will encourage new partnerships whilst supporting the role of local authorities as vital owners, funders and co-managers of green spaces. It will promote an holistic approach, ensuring that all parks and green spaces in an area are protected and enhanced to deliver quality and fair access to green spaces for free for everyone.

The initiative will run over two years and combine £5m in HLF grant funding with £5m in value of National Trust expertise. It opens for expressions of interest today, with a deadline of midday, Monday 19 November.  A number of places will then be invited to submit a full application later this year with decisions on which places will receive support made in February 2019.

Leaders committed to enabling positive change

Ros Kerslake, HLF’s CEO said:

‘Our ambition is simple – we want to grow and secure the future of our public parks so generations in times to come will have access to the wide range of benefits they provide.

There are big challenges facing parks but equally big opportunities. This strategic initiative will help everyone invested in parks to take action and find new ways to ensure they are safeguarded so they are able to fulfil their potential to deliver health and wellbeing. These insights stem from over £950m of National Lottery investment in 900 park projects over 20 years and our recent combined investment of over £3m in parks innovation.’

Hilary McGrady, Director-General of National Trust said:

‘The National Trust was founded in the late 19th century to protect urban green space from development for everyone in the local community to enjoy. Those founding principles remain as relevant today as public parks and green spaces are again under significant pressure, this time from budget cuts.

That’s why we are committed to offering our expertise and experience to help councils and communities to find long-term solutions which will not only safeguard their public green spaces, but allow them to thrive. There’s no one size fits all approach and different places will have different opportunities and challenges. We look forward to working with ambitious local authorities to find a way to look after these wonderful places that bring millions of people together to enjoy nature, the outdoors and a sense of freedom.’

Learn more about the FPA initiative.

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