The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) are to allocate £100 million for spending on parks over the next three years.

Sefton Park Liverpool
Sefton Park Liverpool

At the UK Public Parks Summit on 25 October, the two organisations announced new Parks for People funding, which is intended to be simpler to access than previous funding rounds. Local authorities, community trusts and friends groups will be able to access grants ranging from £100,000 to £5 million.  £70 million of the total will come from HLF and £30 million from BIG.

Not surprisingly, the response from the profession has been positive. James Lord, director of HTA, which received HLF funding for the restoration of a Twentieth Century park in Stevenage New Town, said. ‘This is great news, £100 million over three years, what’s not to like? This will secure thousands of jobs across the Green Infrastructure sector and provide a boost for communities wherever the money is invested.

‘Councils are increasingly hard pressed to fund our parks and open spaces and the lottery is an essential part of maintaining our heritage of parks and monuments to the benefit of the public. For my part, I would like to see a good amount of this funding being invested in run down and vulnerable Twentieth Century parks.’

Speaking at the summit, Jenny Abramsky, chair of the HLF, said: ‘Today’s new Lottery funding in our public parks could not be more needed. We know parks are under threat from reducing revenue budgets and, as money becomes tighter, the risk of entering a cycle of boom and bust for our parks is very real. Park managers have serious concerns about their ability to maintain standards and many maintenance budgets have already been reduced to a bare minimum. Further cuts result in the closure of toilets and catering services and the loss of security staff. Through today’s summit, we want to make sure the wider values of parks are recognised and that the lessons we have already learnt are shared in order to build greater resilience for the very challenging times ahead.’
Peter Ainsworth, UK chair of the BIG Lottery Fund, added, ‘Following decades of decline and neglect, much has been achieved in returning many of our public parks to their former glory. Now is the right time to take stock, look back at what has been achieved across our communities and also look beyond the severe financial constraints to find cost effective and innovative ways of doing things. We are so pleased to continue our support for the Parks for People programme, so that even more people can enjoy safer and improved facilities at their local parks, bringing whole communities closer together.’
Speaking at the summit, Jenny Abramsky, chair of the HLF, said: ‘Today’s new Lottery funding in our public parks could not be more needed. We know parks are under threat from reducing revenue budgets and, as money becomes tighter, the risk of entering a cycle of boom and bust for our parks is very real. Park managers have serious concerns about their ability to maintain standards and many maintenance budgets have already been reduced to a bare minimum. Further cuts result in the closure of toilets and catering services and the loss of security staff. Through today’s summit, we want to make sure the wider values of parks are recognised and that the lessons we have already learnt are shared in order to build greater resilience for the very challenging times ahead.’
Peter Ainsworth, UK chair of the BIG Lottery Fund, added, ‘Following decades of decline and neglect, much has been achieved in returning many of our public parks to their former glory. Now is the right time to take stock, look back at what has been achieved across our communities and also look beyond the severe financial constraints to find cost effective and innovative ways of doing things. We are so pleased to continue our support for the Parks for People programme, so that even more people can enjoy safer and improved facilities at their local parks, bringing whole communities closer together.’

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